Building a Screen Registration Guide

When you put the screens in the press you want the images to be exactly in
the right place.  You do not want the image exposed too high, too low,
or crooked in the screen.  You might not be able to move the screen in
the press to compensate for this exposure mistake.  When printing the
American flag, we want the red and white stripes to just touch while the frame
is firmly secured in the press.  If a ruler is used to locate the positive
on a screen, the process is slow and sure to result in beautiful screens you
cannot use, because the image is in the wrong place.

The solution is a Screen Registration Guide that you build in 10 minutes from materials
that  you either have or can get easily enough.  You need a flat
board like plywood larger than the screen.  You also need two wood strips.  One
is screwed into the plywood along one edge of the plywood.  Then lay a
screen against that strip of wood and use another side of the screen as a guide
to locate the second wood strip against the screen at 90 degrees from the first
wood strip.  Then screw the second wood strip into the plywood.  Now
every time you lay a screen down on the plywood against the two wood strips
the screen will always be exactly in the same place.

Next get a screen that is stretched very tight with mesh that is preferable a high mesh
count like 230 or 305.  Measure across the screen to find the center point
on the mesh, and mark with a fine pointed pen.  Repeat this process two
more times so the three dots can be connected and a center line drawn down
the screen.  Now follow the same procedure to create a horizontal center
line.  You should have a cross drawn in the mesh of the screen.

Graph or lined paper as large as the screen should be drawn with a cross also.  This
graph paper is then slipped between the plywood and screen that is butted up
against the wood strips until the cross in the mesh and on the paper match
exactly.  The paper is taped down to the plywood.  Remove the screen,
and place a clear plastic sheet over the paper to protect the paper, and tape
the plastic in place.  You have now completed building the Screen Registration
Guide.

To use the Screen Registration Guide, lay a positive down on the plastic using the
printed lines on the paper under the plastic sheet as a guide to make sure
your image will be straight in the screen and centered.  Use two pieces
of cellophane tape to secure the film positive that has your image in position.  If
the job you will be printing is more than one color, then put the second, third,
etc., image on top of the first registering one color to the other using the
registration marks and art.  Each film positive is secured separately.  If
you will be laminating capillary film later, then you will need two copies
of each positive.

Add double stick tape strips 1” long in each of the 4 corners of the top positive.   Then
butt the coated screen up against the two wood strips of the Screen Registration
Guide and close the screen down on to the pile of positives like closing a
clam shell.  The print side of the screen will come into contact with
the double stick tape, and you will be able to lift the top positive off of
the pile.  Expose the screen.  If laminating capillary film, remove
the positive from the exposed screen and put the film positive back on the
Screen Registration Guide exactly where the positive was before you picked
it up from the pile.  Then later after the screen has been washed out
from the first exposure, and coated with a second sheet of capillary film,
and dried, the screen can be returned to the Screen Registration Guide to pick
up that positive again and again as many times as pieces of capillary film
you want to add to the screen.

To learn more on this subject, see the video:

“Screen Registration Guide”

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