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The way we do this is to spread a thin layer of the emulsion over both sides of our screen. You can do this with either a "scoop coater" or a standard squeegee. To clarify in this section, the "top" of the screen is the side that sits embedded in the wooden frame, and is the side from which you apply screen-printing ink. The "bottom" is the side where the screen is flush with the wood frame, and is placed side-down when printing.

Since you'll be applying the emulsion to both sides, you will need some temporary way of supporting the frame when it is side-down. Thumb tacks stuck into the corners of your frame work well for this.

Over on the Dry Side

You could avoid this if you did the top first, and then the bottom, since the frame itself holds the top up off the surface, but you'll also want to dry the screen with the bottom side down, so you'll need to support it then, anyway. Lay the screen flat, right side up, and pour a thin line of emulsion along one edge of the top side of your screen. Use smooth, even, and fairly light strokes of the squeegee to apply a smooth and even layer.

Once the top side is coated, flip it over and repeat on the bottom. You'll want to make sure, therefore, that your squeegee fits inside the frame on the bottom side. It is best if it will fit going both the long way and the short way, but as long as it at least fits the long way, you should be ok.

Note that after doing the top side, you'll probably have quite a bit of emulsion already pushed through the screen on the bottom side. That's fine, but you'll probably want to add more to the bottom side, still, to get a good coat.

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Make sure to cover entirely both sides of the screen, any holes you leave will allow ink to get through. The edges are particularly prone to this, and will cause stray lines of ink to show up on your print. Do the best you can, and remember that on the bottom of the screen the printing side, or flat side , you can extend the emulsion over the edge of the screen onto the frame, if that helps seal those edges.

Make sure you dry the screen in a dark location, exposing it to light now will cause over exposure and ruin your stencil. If you have a dark closet or drawer where you can lay it flat and it won't be disturbed, that's fine. Other alternatives are to fashion an opaque box big enough to fit the frame in.

If you're handy with wood, you can make one yourself, or you can just get yourself some sort of rubber storage container big enough for the frame.

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Most such containers are fairly transparent, however, so you can get yourself some nice thick black paint and coat the thing in a few layers of that to black out the light. Coating the inside is the cleanest, but depending on the kind of paint, it might be prone to scratching from the frame. Basically anything that will allow it to lay flat without the screen coming in contact with anything, and will prevent light from getting to it will do. You should also make sure it won't be exposed to too much dust, dirt, etc.

It'll probably be in there for a day or two, so keep that in mind, especially in closets and drawers. Your screen will take varying amounts of time to dry, depending on the emulsion, the thickness of the coat you put on, and the air conditions. In general, you're probably looking at about one or two days. I can't imagine it being more than that. A small fan blowing gently across it can help speed things up if you can arrange that. If it looks dry, you can check it by very gently touching the screen. Do this on the edge where it's less likely to cause problems if it's not dry.

If it's not dry, it'll be at least a little tacky. Once it's dry, it shouldn't feel sticky at all. Also keep in mind that the top of the screen will generally dry faster than the bottom; be sure to check both sides before removing. After we allow the emulsion to dry, we apply what's called a positive to the screen. That's positive, as opposed to a negative, like a camera negative. In a negative, all the colors are inverted, white is black, and black is white.

For a positive, the colors are not inverted. For our purposes, it's a positive of the design we want to create the stencil for. In other words, we're creating a stencil which we will use to transfer a design onto our fabric or whatever you're printing , so the positive should be dark anywhere you want the ink to be printed.

The idea of the positive is to block light from getting to certain parts of the photo-sensitized screen. You can do this in anyway that gets the job done; if you want to print a circle, you can stick an opaque bowl upside down on the screen. More often, though, the positive is created on clear plastic, like acetate or a transparency , with a good opaque ink. We'll go into more details in "Positives". With the positive in place, a large piece of glass that completely covers the pattern should be placed on top, to prevent the pattern from moving.

Ensure there is no dust or dirt on the glass that may show up later as specks. Underneath the screen should be a black-non reflective material, or a piece of Styrofoam that will prevent light from bouncing up onto the underside of your screen, exposing the areas you don't want exposed. Expose the photo-sensitized screen to light. Different photo emulsions require different exposures, but most can be done under a typical 60 watt incandescent light bulb in a few hours, with a makeshift reflector made out of a 10 or 12" pie pan.

Stronger lights will require less time to develop, perhaps as little as 15 minutes depending on conditions. Using unfiltered UV black lights, it only takes 5 minutes.

This is the recommended exposure chart for Speedball brand photo emulsion. Both of these charts apply only if you cut a hole in the center of a pie pan and place it on the socket before the recommended bulb, forming a reflector to reflect the light down on the screen. With a W Bulb, Clear Incandescent: Screen SizeBulb HeightExposure Time 8"x10" inches minutes 10"x14" inches minutes 12"x18" inches hr.


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Once the screen is properly exposed, you can remove it from the immediate light source and remove the positive. As soon as the positive is removed, you should start washing it out under normal indoor lighting conditions, most emulsions won't develop in a matter of minutes while you're getting to the sink, etc. This is done under regular tap water, nothing special required. If the screen was exposed properly, the unexposed portions should begin to become visible almost immediately under a strong flow of water, and a little vigorous scrubbing with your finger tips will have it fully removed in 10 to 15 minutes, or so.

Once the stencil is totally washed out and allowed to dry, you've got yourself a stencil, perfect for screen printing.


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A good positive can be made with dark ink on a sheet of transparent plastic. The two basic methods for this are by hand, and by machine. Doing it by hand is probably the most accessible, but it can also be a real head ache. One of the first issues you'll face is getting a good ink.

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It is possible to produce a viable positive with permanent marker, but it will probably require double siding see below and it's more difficult to work with than some other alternatives, such as India ink. India ink is a rich dark ink, and is relatively quick drying. This is my preferred method for hand producing positives, but it's still a lot of work.

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I recommend you get yourself a bold pen, as well as a super fine. Different brands may mark this differently, but bold is generally about as thick as a standard Sharpie marker, and super fine is a about the size of mechanical pencil lead. If you're stocking up, you'll probably want more bold and super fine; if you're doing that much detailed work that you're going to go through the super fines fast, then you might want to think about skipping down to the next section. If it's available in multiple colors, black should be your first choice, since it will block the most light.

You might also want to get one of each size in another dark color, such as dark blue or brown. This is useful for double siding , as I'll explain more below. Once you've got the ink, you need something to put it on. I recommend acetate, which you can probably buy at an art store in a little pad, like a sketch pad except with acetate instead of paper. If it's not acetate, it shouldn't matter, the only real requirement is that it be transparent, and that you can write on it with your ink. Some materials may accept the ink better than others. In my own experience, I've found that India ink on acetate never fully dries, and is therefore prone to smudging and rub offs.

On the other hand, this can be a good thing as it's relatively easy to erase with a the tip of your finger, maybe slightly moistened. You'll probably run into similar problems with pretty much any combination of drawing ink and plastic, but some may be better than others, just experiment as you prefer, or ask someone more knowledgeable about plastics and inks.

Ok, ink, transparency, check. But you still need to get the ink on the transparency, preferably in the shape of your intended pattern.

The point is the thicker end that has most of the fat. The flat is the thin side. Some chefs separate the two before cooking, while others cook the brisket whole. Either way, there is always a layer of fat on one side of the meat. And that is where the discussion begins. For some cooks and pitmasters, cooking with the fat side up is the way to go. They say that the melting fat bastes the meat, keeping the meat moist. When it melts and turns into a liquid, it will run off the sides and drip into your pan or smoker taking with it any rub you added earlier.

One way to prove this hypothesis is to grill a steak to your liking, slap on a slab of butter and see how much gets absorbed. It just melts and runs off the side, right? I rest my case. Another myth is that the fat also breaks down the meat as it cooks, making it tender and juicy.

1. Taking Off the Skin

Collagen is the connective tissue that holds the muscle fibers together. It takes long slow cooking to break down the collagen. The long, slow cooking gives the collagen enough time to break down and for the brisket to become tender.