* Frame - 10X15, 14X24, ... (allow 4+ inches wider and 6+ inches longer that the image that you want to print) - less than $10
* Silk screen material - about 80 to100 threads per inch mesh, depending on the detail that you will have in your pattern. Cost is around $14/yd and I can get 6 larger screens per yard. I prefer monofilament because the mistakes wash out more easily! Once you get the process down and ruin few screens, and, like me, want to keep the successful screens on file, then go with the less expensive multi-filament that doesn't wash out mistakes well.
* Squeegie - Don't pinch pennies here... pick one that is about 2 inches shorter than the inside width of your frame. Mine is a 3/8 inch thick by 3 inch wide by 12 inch long piece of hard rubber in a wooden holder. (My first one had a small piece of rubber in a plastic holder... now in multiple pieces!) I think that you get by for under $8 on this... but I don't remember for sure.
* Something to hold the frame "in place" relative to the work surface. A homemade hinged affair is fine or you can buy a holder with adjustable clamps. Hold off on costly alternatives until you decide you want to do more than just one or two small projects.
* Photo-sensitive emulsion - about $4 per half-pint... more than you will use in a year. (There are other ways, but I prefer this one.)
* Screen wash - Solvent for cleaning exposed emulsion out of the screen. (for re-using screens)
* Ink - about $3 per half-pint. You would probably get 500 neckerchiefs out of one such container. (More on inks shortly!)
* A piece of glass large enough to cover the underside of the silk screen frame plus an inch. Put plastic tape on the edges to protect you hands. This will hold the transparencies and cut-outs against the screen while it is being exposed. Don't use special glass that resists UV!!!
* 100 to 500 watt plain bulb in a holder.
Other odds and ends...
* 2" Masking tape to seal the inside of the frame and screen... keeps the screen frame neater, and prevents leaks around the edges.
* teaspoon for dipping ink and emulsion.
* newspapers or scrap paper for "trial prints", Print on newspaper until you are satisfied that "everything is cool".
* A damp rag and dry rag to clean your hands if you get them in the ink. (Practice "working clean" because you will be handling the work piece... a big, unplanned thumb print on a neckerchief would probably reduce its value somewhat!)
* Tack spray adhesive (3M #7, I think) to hold the work piece in place on the work surface. (But be careful not to get it into the screen!) Spray the work surface before beginning... It lasts quite a while, and cleans up with mineral spirits.
* Plenty of room to spread your creations while they dry.
* Dish detergent for washing ink from screen.
* Sink area where you won't get into too much trouble if you spray some water about!
1 you need a frame
2 you need mesh (the screen) note: it is no longer called silk screen as the industry no longer uses silk.
3 you need to stretch the screen over the frame this process takes time as you need to let the screen stretch then re tension.
4 attach the screen to the frame
5 degrease the screen
7 let dry
8 apply emulsion
9 let dry
10 apply your negative or positive
11 shoot the screen also called exposing or burning.
12 wash the uncured emulsion from the screen
13 let dry
14 pin hole the screen also called blocking
15 tape off the screen - this is not necessary but will aid greatly in the clean up process
16 put the screen in a press or whatever you are using to fixture the screen
17 if you are using an automated press put the flood bar in and the squeegee in, if not get the squeegee ready
18 get the material
19 place material on platen
20 locate the art on the material
21 locate the screen to the art
I am using the term art as the positive or negative.
22 set stops or adjust platen
23 add ink
24 flood screen - drag a coat of ink across the mesh
25 print - apply downward force while removing the ink you just flooded across the screen
26 dry product
27 remove ink
28 clean flood bar and or squeegee
29 clean ink out of screen
30 wash screen out with screen wash
31 wash screen out with haze/emulsion/ghost remover
32 inspect screen and repeat if necessary
33 dry screen
34 clean up your area
35 go out and sell another job so you can do it again
buy the frame with the mesh already in it
some type of vaccum burning unit with light sorce
some type of set up or press
if printing flat material you need a vaccum table
if textiles the platens and spray adhesive
drying method for your purpose
business license and whatever your area requires.
customers are good too