Using Red Masking Film to Expose A Screen

When it comes to screen printing there are so many ways to create your image. You can cut paper stencils, use Drawing Fluid and Filler, create exposed
screens with hand drawn or computer drawn designs. Red Masking Film is a brilliant way of creating exposed screens. It’s transparent so can be used
to trace over perfectly fitting designs and holds together in one piece, even when out design is cut out, meaning islands and delicate parts stay in
exactly the right place. The red film blocks the UV light when exposing films.

This red film is now in stock in our shop! Here’s how to use it: 

When we cut our film the red areas left behind will be the areas that will eventually print. In this case, we want a positive fish shape to print.

Cut a piece of film a little larger than your image and use masking tape to hold it in place. 

The film is made up of two layers: a transparent acetate and a thin red film that peels off. Cut around the edges of your design and use the point of the
scalpel to lift off the thin red film. Your scalpel should not cut all the way through the transparent layer – you can use a sharp knife but don’t
press too firmly! Test on an off cut first to get the pressure right. 

Follow your design with a scalpel, peeling off the unwanted red areas as you go. 

You can cut into your design too, leaving islands of red unpeeled. 

When you’re finished, remove the masking tape and trim off any edges that still have unwanted red film.

Coat your screen with
sensitised photo emulsion in a thin, even layer using a coating trough.
Leave to dry in the dark.

Place your red film between the screen and the light source and expose for your usual amount of time (we use 5 1/2 minutes in our exposure unit). 

When your the time is up your image should be visible on the mesh. Wet both sides before washing out the soft, unexposed emulsion with a forceful hose
of jet wash. Now your screen is ready for printing!

When your screen is dry, tape your edges with parcel tape and mix your inks. We’re using a mix of several colours for one print, marbled together at the top of the screen.

Print with your screen and a squeegee at a 45 degree angle. If printing on fabric, use a slightly padded surface.

To make a screen using red screen masking film you will need:

Meet the Maker: 2017 Round Up!

If you’re not already a reader of our Meet the Maker blog series, you should grab a cup of tea and work your way through these fantastic interview posts.
We talk to printmakers and dyers every couple of weeks to find out how they make their work, where they get their inspiration and what advice they’d
give to fellow creatives!

Here’s a round up of all the Meet the Maker posts we featured in 2017:

Sue Brown – Collagraph printmaking – Sue will be teaching
Sketchbook Techniques and Collagraph with Lino in our studio in July!

Eric Gaskell – Intricate multi-block linocuts

Elizabeth Harbour – Combined printmaking techniques
including screen print and relief printing

Miesje Chafer – Screen printing onto fabric with vibrant
pattern and colour


Ian Swift – Bold, typographic screen prints

Sarah Hamilton – Contemporary, mid-century style screen

Helen Murgatroyd – Linocuts and repeated images using
her own unique printmaking system

Pragya Agarwal – Delicate, nature inspired linocuts


John Coe – Founder, publisher
and designer of Pressing Matters Magazine

Jenny Sibthorp – Screen printed textile design 

Lennie & Co – Screen printed stylish kidswear 

Laura Danby – Bright, joyful screen prints


Sophie Chadwick – Textile designer and co-founder of

Kerry Day – Modern, plant-inspired linocuts

Hester Cox – Intricate collagraphs – Hester is teaching
Collagraph Workshops with us in June

Sarah Campbell – Hand painted textile design – Sarah
is teaching a weekend of workshops with us in May


Cath Bristow – Screen printer and community printmaker

Tom Boulton – Typographic designer and letterpress artist
– Tom is teaching a Letterpress Weekend with us in March!

Scarlett Rebecca – Surface pattern design and linocuts

We Are Mountain – Seaside influenced screen prints
and linocuts



…and our final Meet the Maker of 2017, Lucie Summers – Printed textile design and quilt making

Our Meet the Maker posts have already kicked off for 2018! See them all here

Which Inks Can I Use?

Knowing which inks to use for which printing project can be a minefield. There are different inks for screen printing, relief printing and intaglio. Some
can be used for more than one technique, some are only suited to one. Some can be used for printing onto fabric, some only for paper.

We’ve created a chart to help guide you when deciding which inks to use for which printing projects. These charts are based on the information from the
manufacturers and on our own recommendations based on our printmaking experience and experiments. 

Larger, printable PDFs of these charts can be downloaded here: Inks for Fabric and Inks for Paper.

You can find all of these inks on our website:

Akua Intaglio Ink

Caligo Safewash Relief Ink

Caligo Safewash Etching Ink

Cranfield Waterbased Relief Ink

Dye Na Flow

Essdee Waterbased Relief Ink

Fabric Screen Printing Binder (and Pigment Colours

Fabric Screen Printing Opaque Binder

Handprinted Fabric Paint

Hawthorn Stay Open Ink

Metallic Binder (and Metallic Powders)

Permaset Aqua Screen Printing Ink

Permaset Supercover Screen Printing Ink

Speedball Acrylic Screen Printing Ink

Speedball Block Printing Ink

Speedball Fabric Block Printing Ink

Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink

System 3 Acrylic Paint (with
System 3 Block Printing Medium,
Textile Medium or
Acrylic Medium

Thickened Procion Dyes (Procion dyes and Manutex)

Versacraft Ink Pads (large and


Meet the Maker: Fran Wood

Hi, my name is Fran Wood and I’m a London based designer specialising in screen printing. I work from home, which is a small flat in central north London, where I live with my partner and son. I have worked in studios as both a graphic designer and textile designer, as well as working in education. My first practical experience of screen printing was on a short course three years ago, where I instantly fell in love with the process. So much so, I gave up my job to work part-time so that I could focus on creating and printing designs. I also set up an online shop called Fran Wood Design to give me an outlet to display and sell my work.

Describe your printmaking process

I start by doing sketches inspired by topics I’m interested in, such as vintage cat illustrations. I use Pinterest as an online scrapbook to collect images
and ideas for these topics. Once I’m completely happy with a sketch, I usually cut it from paper by hand. I then scan it to the computer and finalise
it in Photoshop. At this point the image is ready to be exposed to a screen, but I don’t have the space to do this at home, so I get them professionally produced. I’m now ready to print! For this I have a wooden board with two hinge clamps fixed to it at one end. I place this board on the kitchen table and use the hinge clamps to attach the screen to it.
I then place a piece of clear acetate to the board and attach it with tape on one side. I do the first print on to the acetate, as this allows me to
line-up the following pieces of paper correctly, by placing the first piece under the acetate and adjusting it so it’s in the right position for printing.
I use masking tape on the board, at the corners of the first piece paper, to mark where the next sheets should go. After printing, I clean the equipment
in the kitchen sink and shower.

How and where did you learn to print?

I learnt to screen print about three years ago, on a Saturday morning course at a local college. This course was great, as it was based on showing you
how to screen print at home. Once I’d completed the course, I thought I knew how to screen print, but soon realised after trying at home on my own,
that I had a long way to go! Over the past couple of years, there’s been much trial and error. I’ve watched a lot of You Tube tutorials and looked
at screen printing blogs for tips. I’m now at a level where I’m fairly happy with printing on to paper, but still feel there’s plenty more to learn.

Why printmaking?

Although I have a great love of art and design in all its forms, I’ve always preferred the results of images created by print. I especially love screen
prints, linocuts and woodcuts. There’s something incredibly magical about the process. I never tire of the moment after squeegeeing the ink through
the screen, then lifting the screen up to reveal the image transferred to paper.

Where do you work?

I work at home. I do the printing itself in the kitchen and I dry my prints wherever I can – on shelves, on a clothes airer, or any free space I can find.
I’ll definitely be investing in a print drying rack in early 2018! I have a desk and computer in the living room where I create the designs. It’s a
difficult space to work in because it’s so small, but I’ve managed to overcome this, as I love designing and printing so much. I hope one day to be
able to work in my own dedicated studio space.

Describe a typical day in your studio

I suppose that there isn’t a typical day as each one varies. For example, in the run up to Christmas I was completing online orders, packing and sending
my products to shops, as well as preparing for Christmas markets. At other times of the year I’ll be designing, printing and updating my online shop.
I prefer to screen print mid-morning and early afternoons, as I like to use natural light from the windows to check the screens for blockages.

How long have you been printmaking?

Although I’ve had an interest in printmaking all of my adult life, I’ve only been seriously screen printing for about three years.

What inspires you?

So much inspires me it’s hard to know where to start. In terms of print, my earliest inspirations were from printed African textiles as I love the bold
patterns and colours. I’m also a fan of both mid century and 1970s graphics and textiles. Over the last couple of years I’ve been particularly inspired
by Scandinavian and Eastern European design, especially Eastern European matchbox labels.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I don’t have one favourite print making product, I have three: hinge clamps, screens and squeegees.
This is because these three items combined, have enabled me to do something I love – screen printing at home!

What have you made that you are most proud of?

In the last few months it’s been my Nouveau Elephant rainbow coloured screen print. This is because I used six colours simultaneously whilst printing,
to create the gradient coloured rainbow effect. This was very difficult, made more so by the fact the print is quite small – only being A4. After printing,
I felt as though I’d really achieved something.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I have an online shop called Fran Wood Design. I
also sell at seasonal local markets, such as E17 Designers, based in Walthamstow. I have a selection of my prints and products in a few shops, including
the Vestry Museum in Walthamstow, Casper in Bristol and The Bowery in Leeds.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m very excited about 2018. Much of the past couple of years has been spent getting the screen printing to a level I’m happy with. Now I feel more confident,
my main intention is to create artwork inspired by new topics and to expand my screen printing onto paper. I can’t wait!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

When I was studying graphic design, the lead tutor on the course once said that to succeed in design, you have to be like ‘a dog with a bone’. I think
this is true of printmaking or anything creative. In order to get where you want, you have to keep going and not let anything put you off.

Catch up with Fran Wood below:

Online shop:


Instagram: @franwooddesign