printing and registration

Images 1, 2, 9, 3

got my pomegranate layer 1 screen ready and the right size squeegee. i tried to rearrange the sequence of images but wordpress isn’t making the changes. but picture 9 is supposed to be number 3 in the order. after i prepared the stencil and then clamped the screen up on the table, i put down a piece of tracing paper with some blue artist’s tape. you can buy tracing paper in rolls at stationery pasals. i get mine in New road. 60 rupees per meter, they’re are quite wide.

NOTE: i didn’t expose the screen in my light box to create this stencil..i used drawing fluid and screen filler because i can’t wait around for electricity.

the blue tape, you don’t find them in kathmandu. but masking tape works too. it’s just that the blue tapes don’t leave residue on the paper and don’t tear ur good paper and that’s why they are nice. but for ordinary use, masking tape should do just as good. it’s easy to write on masking/blue tape too, and that’s helpful when u have to label stuff.

i’m using tracing paper because i don’t have acetate sheets to print on. you need this for registration when you are printing the same thing repeatedly. you’ll see later in the post.

so i have my ink ready. i’m using speedball permanent acrylic ink and mixing it with acrylic extender base and a little bit of retarder so that the ink doesn’t clog while printing. i got most of my supplies from Blick art store through (cost me a lot!!!)  i also add a little bit of water to thin it down a bit. with just the base it is sooo thick and dries fast…so i decided to add some water. it’s been working well for me. the base is to increase the transparency of the ink. i wanted a grey transparent color so i mixed the base with black ink.

i first print on the tracing paper and let it dry. the tracing paper is laid out so that there is enough space to put the actual paper you want to print on…you’ll see

Image 4, 5 and 6

after it’s dry, i lay out the actual paper. i’m using Nepali or Lokta paper…Rs 15 per sheet. they come in different weights, i don’t know how many grams this one is. but it cost me 15 per sheet. i get them at this shop near that shrine with coins and nails..behind indrachowk area. right now, i can’t remember the name of the place. i just went blank on that.

anyways, i put the paper underneath the tracing paper and line it up, so that the image i want to print is in the right place on the actual paper. i drew out some lines with pencil to help me out. after lining it up, i lift the tracing paper and then print on the Nepali paper.

the tracing paper serves as a guideline for me, so that i can print the same stencil at the same spot of the same sized paper. this is called registration in printing terminology. 0nce, i have my paper lined up in the right place, i use some more tape and line it up with the edges of the paper. to print on the next sheet, i simply line it up with the tape marks. wallah! (well, it’s actually quite tough, esp when u are doing it alone..printing is a lot of team work. in school, three to four of us worked on one screen…we were printing Faith Ringgold’s works)

here, you have to be careful of a couple of things so that your registration actually works:

1. keep ur screen steady, clamp it tightly.

2. cut your paper to the proper size. well, i’m not so picky about paper being perfect and i picked nepali paper because of its inconsistent edges…so it’s really your choice. but if you are making an edition i.e. a set of the same screen, then you do need to have ur paper cut to the same size.

Image 7 and 8

I make a mark (X) at the corner of the paper which i have to line up with the tape, so that i don’t get confused on the orientation of the paper. it’s not necessary but it helps. you might stimes place ur paper upside down in the hurry of printing. who knows???

I cut my paper so that i can start printing!!! :-) the dimensions are 11 x 20 inches. Nepali paper sheets are 20 inches wide so i just had to cut it lengthwise. i used a steel ruler to cut the paper. i don’t have a proper paper cutter. and i actually used a ruler so that i can get some rough edges…scissors would have given me way too cleaner cuts.


so i’m half way through printing this edition of pomegranate screens. i actually decided to change it up a bit and not follow the original drawing. you’ll see the final version, probably by sunday. :-)

cheers to the weekend and to days WITH maximum night time batti. for me, Tuesdays rock.


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