Get Handy! Make you Own Screen Print Frame for $10.00.
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To make your own screen print frame from scratch you’ll first need wood- hardwood is the best option. You should use wood at least 1 inch thick, and about 1 1/2 inches wide with no major knots and it should be very straight without warps or bows.
Cut the pieces to the size of the frame you want to make. If you want a 22″ x 18″ frame, cut two pieces to 22″ long, and two pieces to 18″ long.
Now you want to make the half-lap joints. Using a table saw or a router table, set the cutting height to half the thickness of the wood. If the wood is 1″ thick, set the cutting height to 1/2″. Now set the fence to cut to the width of the wood. If the wood you are using 1 1/2″ wide, set the fence to 1 1/2″. Now lay one of the boards with the end against the fence. Make repeated cuts in the board until you have completely cut away the wood 1/2″ deep from 1 1/2″ in to to the end of the board. Flip the board around, and do the same thing on the other end of the board on the same side. Do this with all of the boards.
When all of the boards are notched take one of the of the long boards, and one of the short boards. First fit the two boards together at a right angle. The boards should fit together relatively flush. Spread some wood glue in the notch, and fit the two pieces together again. Using a square, make sure the pieces are square. Clamp the pieces together using one or two c-clamps. Put together the rest of the the frame in the same way. Put the frame aside for the glue to cure. Later when the glue has cured, remove the clamps. Clean up the joints with some sandpaper if needed.
Position the mesh over the wooden frame, and with a staple gun, staple the screen to the frame in the middle of one edge. Then go to the opposite edge, pull the screen taut, and staple the screen to the frame in the center of that edge. Now go to one of the sides that hasn’t been stapled yet. Pull the screen half-taut, and staple in the middle there. Go to the opposite side, pull the screen taut and staple.
You should have staples in the center of all four sides of the frame. Go to a side, pull the screen taut, and place staples a half inch on either side of the staple that is there. Go to another side and repeat. Keep pulling the screen taut and stapling until you have staples every half inch around the frame. You can trim the excess screen fabric off. Don’t get too close to the staples though. If you have some staples that are a bit raised from the frame it’s a good idea to hammer then down gently to make them flush with the edge.
(Do you need further instruction on how to stretch you screen mesh? Follow this link to see how you properly apply mesh step by step).