Monday, December 16, 2013

Drying an emulsion-coated screen

After coating a screen with light-sensitive emulsion, the next thing is to let it dry which can take a few hours or overnight. The place where it dries needs to be pitch dark. Any pinpoint of light getting in will send all the timings off and will make the screen much harder to wash out after exposure. My solution is a cardboard box with the chinks well sealed off. I put my head into the box and hold it towards the light to ensure I've got all the chinks. However you can't seal the front in this way, so after closing the flaps with tape, I put a heavy dark cloth over the box, making sure the front is well covered.

Another thing is that the screen should be dried with the screen side down. Therefore it needs to be raised so that the wet emulsion doesn't touch the floor of the box. You could put some blocks at the sides, but that's unsatisfactory because they can be pushed out of place as you are putting the screen in. So I add "risers" made out of cardboard and glued to the box, as shown in the photo below. It's rough and ready method but very effective.

A box for drying screens with "risers" on two sides

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