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This post is sponsored by IKONART. All opinions and ideas are completely my own.
If you have been following along with my crafty tutorials, you know I love screen printing with vinyl. This method has worked great for me and allowed me to easily screen print at home without using chemicals. When IKONART asked me to try their screen printing kit, I was curious how it would compare to screen printing with my Cricut.
It was important to me that I would still be able to use my own design and not be stuck with pre-made/stock designs. With IKONART, you design and print your own artwork to use. And not only that, you can print very detailed designs that would be too difficult to weed with my vinyl method.
There are a couple of things that immediately drew me to this screen printing kit…. 1) the screen is built into the film and is adhesive. This means that you stick the film directly on your surface and screen print without using a frame. 2) since you print the design on an inkjet or laser printer, you can get more intricate designs that I would not otherwise be able to cut out of vinyl.
Supplies Needed to Make Your First Project
The kit includes the exposure unit, light sensitive stencil film, printer film for both inkjet and laser printers, clipboard to help hold the film and squeegee.
You will need:
- IKONART Custom Stencil Kit
- Screen Printing Ink or Chalk Paste
- Chalkboard, Glass or other flat surface
- Paper Trimmer (used in this tutorial to trim the film to fit inside my chalkboard)
- Inkjet or Laser Printer – I have this Canon Pixma InkJet printer that worked great.
How to Setup and Use Your IKONART Screen Printing Kit
I’m excited to be able to show you how to screen print on a chalk board surface (with chalk paste), using your own custom design. This chalkboard is something I would not be able to screen print with my method – the screen wouldn’t make contact with the chalkboard because of the chalkboard frame. With the IKONART kit, the film is adhesive. This means you aren’t limited to where your screen printing frame can fit. The film can stick to a variety of surfaces and fit right up to the edge of a chalkboard frame!
Here’s a look at the entire process – from unboxing to making your first print:
Step 1: Print Your Design in Black and White
The exciting part about screen printing with this kit, is you are not limited to what you can cut in vinyl. I was able to design this chalk board welcome sign with very fine lines that made a shadow effect on the letters.
Step 2: Expose Artwork on IKONART Light Sensitive Film
This step is easy since everything you need is included in the kit. You’ll want to work in a dark space with the lights out! Put the included matte black cardboard on your unit first. Then, place a sheet of the light sensitive film down. Align your artwork on top of the film. Cover everything with the clear sheet (included). Plugin your exposure unit and allow the light to hit the film for 35 seconds. That’s it!
Step 3: Washout Film with Spray Nozzle
Using a household sink with a spray nozzle, wash out the design. The kit includes a clipboard that you can attach the film to, making it easier to hold on to in the sink.
Step 4: Air Dry for About 45 Minutes
After you have washed out the film, use a paper towel to blot dry both sides of the film. The film needs to air dry before use, so I hung mine for about 45 minutes. If you are anxious to get started with your project, you can speed up the drying with a hair dryer or fan.
Step 5: Apply Adhesive Film to Your Surface
The key to getting a good print is making sure the film is stuck to your surface so it doesn’t move around. I found that using a damp cloth to blot the back (adhesive side) of the film created a little more stickiness.
Step 6: Squeegee Ink or Chalk Paste over the Film
This part was very familiar to me. I used the IKONART squeegee to spread the Chalk Paste over my design. Once I have covered the entire design, lift off the film to reveal your print!
Be sure to wash your film right away so you can save it to reuse again and again.
Additional Tips and Tricks I Learned
- Your design is permanently burned into the film, so you can wash it and reuse over and over.
- I used this Chalk Paste which screen printed nicely through the stencil. I did leave the design on the chalkboard for about a week, which made it difficult to get the chalk paste off. I found that using a magic eraser, water, and lots of scrubbing worked. The design came off completely so I can reuse the chalkboard for my next event.
- You don’t need a vinyl cutter to use this kit. You will print your design on your inkjet or laser printer (this is the one I used) and expose it on the light sensitive film.
- The adhesive on the film is suitable for glass and worked on my chalkboard. I found that it wasn’t sticky enough to work on a t-shirt or painted wood.
- The stencil film is 10×12″ but the printer film is 8.5×11, limiting the size of your design. However, you can split up your design onto multiple films and piece them together to make a larger print.