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Screen Exposure Problems and Solutions

by Gary December 24, 2014

Problem Possible Cause Solution
Image won't wash out of screen.

Overexposure of the screen

Use a harder spray of water. Try rubbing the image a little with your finger. If that doesn't work, then try a new screen, but burn for less time.

Image on film is too light.

 Try as above, but if it doesn't work then darken image on the film and burn a new screen.

Too much washes out of the screen.

 Underexposure of the screen.

 You may be able to touch up the screen by painting emulsion onto it where the image is poor. If that doesn't work, then prepare a new screen and burn it longer.

 

Emulsion may be bad.

 If your emulsion is bad or has been contaminated too much, it can refuse to burn no matter how much light you expose it to.

Jagged edges on the image.

 Underexposure of the screen.

 This can sometimes happen if you underexpose a low resolution screen. If it is intolerable, try a new screen with a longer exposure time or a higher mesh screen.

 

Artwork has jagged edges.

 Redo the art at a higher resolution or with smoother edges. You may also try using a mechanical pen to smooth the edges of the image on the film. Burn a new screen.

 

The screen is too low resolution.

Check the mesh count of your screen. You may have to live with it and print, of make a new screen that is higher resolution.

Weird filmy stuff in image area.

Screen is slightly underexposed or not rinsed properly.

Try re-rinsing the screen and blowing a little air through the image to get the film out.

Certain areas seem fine, but others are closed up.

Uneven exposure.

 Use a harder spray of water on the tough spots. Try rubbing the image a little with your finger. If that doesn't work, then try burning a new screen. Either your light source is uneven, you did not hold the film close enough to the screen when burning it, or your film has light areas.

 

Some lines in the artwork are too thin or some dots are too small.

Try burning a higher resolution screen or thickening the lines or expanding the dots a little.

One side of the screen looks right, but the other doesn't even look exposed when you put water on it.

 Uneven coat of emulsion on screen.

or

Screen is coated too thick.

 

Both problems have the same solution: you may be able to wash away the underexposed side of the screen and get away with it. If not, burn a new screen that has a thinner layer of emulsion coated on it. Be sure the emulsion is spread evenly when coating your screen.

It looks like a million tiny holes are in my image.

Underexposed screen.

 You may be able to use a card to block out many/all of the holes. The ones you can't get, try using a tooth pick with emulsion. When you are done, expose your block out emulsion to the sun for a minute after it dries just to harden it. If that doesn't work, burn a new screen for longer.

 

Emulsion going bad.

 Same as above. If that doesn't work, then replace your emulsion and burn a new screen.

 

Dust on the glass or film.

 Same as above. If that doesn't work, then burn a new screen. Clean off the glass used to hold your film close to the screen. Check film for dust.

The middle of the screen looks fine, but the edges are wrong.

 Uneven exposure: Film in wrong position.

 Your film may extend too close to the edges of your screen frame. Reposition your film and burn a new screen.

 

Uneven exposure: Light creeping under the film.

 Check to see if you are pressing all of your film close to the screen as you burn it. You can try touching up the under- exposed areas and rubbing out the over-exposed areas. Failing that, adjust your light source and burn a new screen.

 

Uneven exposure: light source improperly configured.

 Another possibility is that your light source is uneven. You may need more distance between your screen and the light, or to find a way to diffuse the light source. In any case, you can try touching up the underexposed areas and rubbing out the over- exposed areas. Failing that, adjust your light source and burn a new screen.

Spots in the screen won't clear away.

 Scratches in the film.

 Check to see if the image in your film isn't damaged or nicked. If so, retouch the film with a blockout pen and then burn a new screen.

 

Improper screen preparation.

 The screen may not have been reclaimed properly and/or there was residue in the mesh prior to coating. This problem is very difficult to solve other than being more careful reclaiming your screen. Try burning a new screen.

Screen doesn't look exposed, but the image won't wash out.

 The screen may have been exposed to ambient light for too long prior to your trying to burn it.

Prepare a new screen, but be more careful to keep it away from the light prior to burning it.

Gary Jurman
Gary


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