717 INK| Boston Children’s Photographer

He looked at me and asked if I knew anything about silkscreen.  I looked up at my supervising teacher and tried to give a professional no…but I just turned red.  “Okay…”he paused and shuffled through his library. ” You will be teaching it in my classroom this semester, and with that he handed me a stack of books.

Flash forward almost two years and join me if you will as I put back on my teaching glasses.  Because, just yesterday our church held a fundraiser at our friends’ local Cleveland printing shop…basically we made t-shirts!!  I am surprised I nerdishly(yes that is a made up word) didn’t snort and giggle I was so excited.

Silk screen/ screen printing is the process used to put say a logo on a t-shirt in your closet or your child’s name on the back of their jersey.  It first starts with a design. Our lovely designs were made by our friend Angela…as you can see she is pretty good!

Each design needs to be made into basically a stencil. 717 ink took us right into their darkroom where they showed us how they make screens (stencils) in order to print.

That green stuff…that is emulsion.  The design (on a transparency) is positioned and taped against a screen with emulsion on it.  It is then exposed to light.  The light burns and hardens the emulsion everywhere that is not being blocked by the design.  The screen is then rinsed off.  The hardened emulsion doesn’t budge, but where the design blocked the light the emulsion is still soft and it washes away, leaving a “stencil” like the one below.

The process get’s a little more complicated when a design has more than one color.  Here the design has the colors green, blue, and white.  Each color needs to have it’s own stencil. Now it is time to print!

A squeegee pulls the ink either manually or mechanically over the screen which lies on top of a t-shirt. One screen at a time, one color at a time the design is layered.

The t-shirts are then dried.  These guys are waiting for their warm t-shirts to come out of the drying machine.

I had a blast seeing 717 in action.  Brett and Stephanie, husband and wife team of 717 ink,  you rocked!  Brett had everyone going and Steph! This girl is about to have a baby and she was standing on top of tables leading tours!

So if you need a design or if you need anything printed for an event or your son’s baseball team, this girl right here can hook you up with some awesome local business owners and friends.  One last shout out to Sweet Melissa for donating delicious wraps and oh my goodness…brownies that Matt had to drag me away from eating.

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