Caring for an Exposed Screen

It’s important to take care of your exposed screen so that it can last for multiple print runs. With proper care, you should be able to use your screen again and again until you’re ready to have it washed off and a new design exposed. The amount of time your screen can be used depends on many things, including how you care for it, the inks you are using and the detail on your design.

Read on for a list of rules and advice on taking care of your exposed screen:

  • Never let ink dry in your mesh. Once ink has dried it can be almost impossible to remove, especially if you want to keep your emulsion intact. Zest-it Printmaker’s Washdown can help remove dried in ink but this may not remove all of it. Sometimes a jet wash will remove some of the ink but this will damage your emulsion. Usually, if ink dries in the screen it will cause a permanent blockage and might need to be re-meshed. Opaque inks and metallic inks tend to dry a little faster than standard screen printing inks.

  • Keep a bucket of cold water and a soft car sponge with you whilst you work. This helps to prevent any ink drying in the screen. After a print run or when pausing from printing for a tea break or to organise your next prints, wring out the sponge and gently wipe over the mesh on both sides. You should see the ink leaving the design and light should start to show through. At this stage don’t worry about cleaning the taped edges of the screen too much. This way, your mesh stays clean but you don’t have to re-register your frame or wait for ages for the screen to dry. This is particularly useful when printing with hinge clamps or a vacuum bed.

  • Clean your screen with cold water using a garden hose or shower hose. You don’t need a pressure hose – this could damage the emulsion. Don’t use any cleaners, chemicals or soaps.
  • Use only soft sponges to clean your screen. Don’t use brushes. Use separate sponges so they do not become contaminated with other chemicals and solutions that could damage your emulsion.
  • Take off the tape after each print run. Usually, we need to tape the edges of our screen to cover up areas of open mesh. Occasionally, we also may tape over other areas of the screen. It’s important that this tape doesn’t stay on for too long as it gets harder and harder to remove. Try not to put any tape over areas of the design. Use magazine pages to cover these up when printing instead if necessary. It’s best to gently remove the tape after each print run or at the end of the day.
  • Keep your screen away from any sharp corners or objects as they can pierce the mesh.
  • Sometimes pinholes may appear in your screen. The emulsion can wear and little holes can appear that may let ink through to your print. Occasionally, these appear on a newly exposed screen. If this happens, the holes can be easily filled with sensitised emulsion or screen filler. Just paint a small, thin patch over the hole and leave to dry. You can also use a little piece of tape to cover any emulsion holes if you prefer.

  • Store your screen out of strong sunlight. Occasionally, emulsion can super-harden if exposed to too much light. This makes the emulsion almost impossible to remove which can be frustrating when you’re ready for your next design.

For more information on our exposed screen service, click here or read our custom screen terms and conditions.

Meet the Maker – Marian Haf

I’m Marian and in short I’m a Mother of three, allotment neglecter and printmaker, I live in my native West Wales on the side of a hill in Ceredigion.
I dabble with screen printing, wood cuts the odd bit of lino but collagraphs are my thing. 


Describe your printmaking process.

I’m a real night owl so all my ideas and plans tend to fill my head when I should be drifting off to sleep, I’m not one for sketch books although I’m trying
to make an effort as my head is so full, more ideas than time at the moment which is a great position to be in. I’ll draw out my plan or image onto tissue paper, as there is always an abundance of it (it’s used to wrap the damp prints in, to transport home from the print group safely and smudge free). Sometimes I draw straight onto mount board which I use as the plate for my collagraphs. The mount board is then worked into and onto, peeling away thin layers to reveal a more textured surface which holds the ink and gives you your darker tones The surface is also scratched and drawn into with controlled and haphazard lines, dots and marks (I like this bit a lot) highlights are added by applying glue to the surface. The mount board is then cut to shape, sealed with shellac and inked. The plate is inked intaglio, the ink is applied quite thickly and worked into the plate with gauze and then buffed away, firstly with yellow pages and then with tissue paper. The inking can take up to an hour for a larger piece but when ready it is sent through the press with damp paper. With one hand behind your back and fingers crossed you lift the paper for the reveal!

How and where did you learn to print?

My first taste of printmaking started early in Secondary School, we had a great art teacher (Huw Art) who had a printmaking degree from Loughborough. We
would make reduction lino prints with oil based inks, I can still remember washing my hands in white spirit! I also had the opportunity to take a printmaking
module on my foundation at CCTA Carmarthen; then that was it for years until I joined a local print group – Printers in the Sticks after the birth
of my first child Sam. It was an escapism for me, fast forward 7-8 years and two more children and I am about to embark on it full time, well as full
time as three children allows!

Why printmaking?

Because its the closest thing to magic that I know of.

I struggled with painting throughout my degree, never really achieving my desired aesthetic, I now understand why, I was in the wrong discipline.

I love the process and the fact that there is a guiding hand and a printing technique to fulfil. It meets all of my aesthetic requirements. although my
prints are predominantly collagraphs I do like adding a paper cut screen print or some blind embossing now and again.

Where do you work?

I feel very lucky to have a little studio in the garden although I feel much more comfortable calling it a shed. my husband built it and it has two equally
sized halves, a half each, its insulated and light and houses my little press and a beautiful plan chest that Andy managed to swap for an afternoons
work for a retired architect

Describe a typical day in your studio.

At the moment I only have one whole (school day) free to work which is a Wednesday and they usually go a little like this.

I pop my paper in to soak before dropping the kids at school and with the child minder, I call in for a cuppa with my friend and fellow maker Sue of
notchhandmade and we talk of our weekly struggles and successes. I drool over her latest leather bag which she’s been making, then home to another
cuppa and to tackle the printing to do list , whilst listening to the radio. 3.30 comes around quick and depending on my level of procrastination
for that day I’ll pop back out to the shed after the kids bed time to finish off. Most of my plate making and admin is done in the house in the
evening or whilst the kids play.

How long have you been printmaking?

Off and on since my early teens, but more seriously for the past two years.

What inspires you?

I find this hard to pin point, I’m very much a magpie and I’m easily distracted. I guess a running theme is nostalgia, memories of fishing with my father
and siblings, the discarded toys of my own children and more recently and so far unrealised the welsh tradition of quilt making.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love the paper the most, I use Fabriano Rosaspina and I’m very
partial to a tub of Neon Pink Speedball Acrylic Screen Printing Ink, or Neon Yellow and really would like to get my hands on some Glow in the Dark.

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

I have an Etsy shop –

I also have a permanent spot on the walls of Ultracomida Deli in

A couple of prints can also be found at Lotti and Wren in Caernarfonand and 
Thyme and Tides in Aberystwyth.

I’m also currently a part of the ‘into the sea’ showcase in Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno and the soon
to be Art at the Hall ‘Surf, Sand and Sea Exhibition’   which runs from
the 25th of August to 8th of September in Llangathen, Carmarthenshire.


What will we be seeing from you next?

I think the fish, seafood and coastal aspect of my work is going to be sticking around. With the promise of more time in September I’d like to explore
my interest in traditional Welsh quilts and the nostalgia and melancholy they evoke in me.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Make time and go for it!

Website –

Instagram – @marianhaf




Jigsaw Linocut with a Rainbow Roll

A rainbow roll is a great way to easily add a beautiful range of colours to a linocut. This project uses only two colours to create a range of shades,
all in one printing layer. 

We are using the jigsaw linocut technique to give us areas of different colours. We want our background to be completely white so instead of carving it
out let’s cut it out!

Japanese Vinyl is a lovely block to carve – it has some resistance like traditional lino but allows you to glide around carves very easily. It’s also soft enough
to cut with a scalpel – perfect for jigsaw linocuts.

Begin by carving around the edge of your shape with a V gouge. We’re using Powergrip Tools which glide beautifully through this vinyl.

The V shaped groove creates the perfect line in which to run a scalpel. 

You’ll need to cut through the vinyl a few times before getting through to the other side. Be careful and don’t press too hard.

Use the scalpel to careful cut apart the separate pieces.

Carve finer details into the different shapes. The small U gouge is perfect for this. 

The larger U can be used to clear areas. 

The pieces should easily slot together.

Now we’re ready to create a rainbow roll. We’re using Caligo Safe Wash Relief Inks in Process Magenta and Process Yellow. The process colours are designed to mix to create a wide spectrum
of shades.

Place a small blob of each colour of ink a little apart on an inking plate. Don’t place them as far apart as your roller width as we need room for it to
spread. We want a thin suede-y layer of ink that doesn’t sound squelchy.  


Gradually bring down the ink and begin to roll and spread it out. The colours will start to meet in the middle. Slightly adjust your roller’s position
left and right to encourage a blend. The more you more the roller from side to side, the more of the blended colour will fill the centre. Have the
size of the lino in mind if you want to print with the full spectrum of colours in your rainbow. 



Use the rainbow roller to roll a blend across the lino. 

We mixed an orange from our Process Magenta and Process Yellow inks and used a separate roller to ink up our orange. 

The parasol was inked up with a smaller roller in Process Magenta mixed with a little Extender. 

Place the lino down onto a board. You may want to use registration marks such as these masking taped corners. 

Slot the pieces together, trying not to touch the inked surface. 

Place the paper down on top and use a baren to take a print. Press hard all over the back of the paper making sure not to miss any areas of lino. 

Lift the paper to reveal a print!

The blocks can then be taken apart, re-inked and re-printed. 

For this project you will need:

Meet the Maker: Bailey Schmidt

I’m Bailey, the artist behind Young Schmidt Prints. I’m American but living in the UK with my husband and our two dogs, Murph and Eddie. I consider myself
an illustrator and printmaker, but most of my days right now are filled with botanical-inspired linocut prints. I absolutely love houseplants and greenery,
and my art very much reflects that.

Describe your printmaking process.

I always begin by sketching on my iPad, but from there it can go two different directions. Sometimes I go from sketch to print in a matter of days because
the idea comes naturally and I’m able to draw exactly what I pictured. Most of the time my process is a bit more sporadic. I abandon ideas halfway
through, and then pick them up weeks later when I’m struggling for new inspiration and hope they come together. The initial sketch is always the hard
part for me because I overthink my design and I’m still too intimidated to draw directly onto lino. Once I start carving though, the rest of the process
feels effortless.

How and where did you learn to print?

I learned to print a bit by chance. I had been admiring several printmakers on social media for a long time, and briefly mentioned to my mother that I’d
be interested in giving it a go. She happened to have a beginners printmaking kit laying around the house somewhere so I was able to jump right into
it. I experimented and practiced for a long time, but about a year ago is when I really got into the botanical prints that I’m creating today.

Why printmaking?

There’s something so therapeutic about printmaking that really captured me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it’s a craft that really forces me to let
go. I obsess over the initial sketch of my design and tweak it until I think it’s perfect, but the rest of the process is somewhat out of my hands.
I’ve learned to accept the inevitable imperfections that come from printmaking, and I really enjoy how they make a piece look truly handmade.

Where do you work?

I work from home in a little studio space set up in the back of my house. I’m lucky to have an area with loads of natural light so I can work all day and
my houseplants around me absolutely thrive.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

Generally I try to drink a coffee and catch up on emails in the morning, then take the afternoon to create and print. It’s a nice routine in theory, but
it rarely happens that way. Like every artist knows, creativity happens when it happens and sometimes I feel like I have to run with an idea before
I lose momentum, which means all of the admin gets put on the back burner. I’m still learning the balance of making art and selling art because each
requires a whole lot of attention. It’s also worth saying that a typical day in my studio involves being interrupted by my dogs constantly, which is
both distracting and adorable.

How long have you been printmaking?

I first started experimenting with printmaking about two years ago, but I’ve been working on it seriously for just about a year now. I’m actually coming
up on the one year anniversary of opening my online shop in mid-August so that’s a milestone for me!

What inspires you?

I’m very inspired by foliage and flowers. I’ve definitely caught the “urban jungle” bug so my house is full of houseplants, most of which I’ve drawn or
printed at some point. I like how leaf patterns look when they’re simplified into a monochromatic print, so I tend to go for plants that already have
unusual marks. I’ve also been drawn to regional flowers from around the world. Australia especially seems to have some beautiful flora that is really
fun to capture in a print.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I have a lino press from a company called “Woodzilla” that I’m absolutely in love with. I was doing prints by hand, but was struggling to get the consistent
results I wanted. The press has been perfect for me because it prints up to an A3 size, but fits on a tabletop so it’s ideal for my home studio. My
prints are much cleaner now and I can get more printed in a session.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

One of my first prints was “Monstera Obliqua” which was really the kickstart for my whole aesthetic. It was the first piece that I knew I finally had a
direction I wanted to go, and still inspires me today. It’s still one of my most popular prints with customers and I’m really proud of it. I don’t
know if it’s my best artistic work, but it’s a special print to me for those reasons.

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

I sell online on my website I’m also really active
on Instagram so there’s always pictures of new work and process videos showing my printmaking techniques. I plan on getting involved with a lot more
markets this holiday season so I’ll hopefully be making some appearances around the UK too.

What will we be seeing from you next?

More colour, definitely. I’ve been very comfortable in my black and white bubble, but I’m starting to branch out and introduce more colour to my collection.
As we speak I’m working on a mixed media piece that will involve painting between layers of printing that I’m really excited about.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

It’s the cliche one, but practice. I spent so much time scrolling through instagram admiring other artists and wishing I had their talent, but didn’t do
anything about it. Once I finally got to work, I grew tremendously. I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown in just a year and I’m already at a place where
these artists I once admired are now my peers. Another thing I would suggest is to just put your art out there. It’s easy to doubt your own ability
when the internet is saturated with talented people, but you have to just go for it. People are really encouraging and involving yourself in a creative
community makes it easier to trust your own skills.