I enjoy DIY screen printing t-shirts and like to share my experience with others.
Introduction to Plastisol Ink
In screen printing the two most commonly used inks are plastisol ink and water-based ink. Water-based ink is very easy to clean from the screen: all you have to do is spray it with the hose and it washes away. Plastisol ink is a little more difficult. However, once you know how to do it, it is fairly simple. In this article I am going to show you in 3 simple steps how I clean up my screens.
Step 1: Clean the Excess Ink off the Screen
The first step is to remove as much ink as you possibly can and place it back into your ink container so you can save as much as possible for next time. I usually like to use something like an old spoon to do this; however, you can buy specialty tools to do this. You may want to go over the screen a few times just to make sure you have removed all of the ink that you possibly can. Not only will this save your ink for future use but it will also make the rest of the clean up a lot easier.
Step 2: Clear Out as Much Ink as Possible With a Squeegee
The next step is to go over the screen with a squeegee to clear out as much ink as possible. To do this I place a piece of newspaper underneath the screen and then go over the screen with the squeegee a few times, clearing out as much ink as possible. This will save us time in the next step and it will also save us money because we want need to use as much of our supplies.
Step 3: Wipe the Screen With Mineral Spirits
The final step is to wipe the screen with mineral spirits. You can do this by adding some mineral spirits to a cloth or a paper towel and then wiping the screen. You may need to repeat this process a few times to remove all of the plastisol ink. When doing this you should wear gloves and a mask. Once you have removed all of the ink it is a good idea to give the screen a rinse with water to wash out all of the mineral spirits.