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Home > Help > PhotoEZ and StencilPro Product Questions and Answers


PhotoEZ and StencilPro Questions & Answers

Q: What are PhotoEZ™ and StencilPro™ stencils?
A:
Both PhotoEZ™ and StencilPro™ provide new means for creating affordable re-usable and intricate custom silk screen stencils. They use black and white images on plain white paper, sunlight and tap water. And because they are based on silkscreen with a light sensitive coating, you can create very intricate designs that are virtually impossible with traditional stencils. Create your own stencils without having to spend hours of tedious cutting. Moreover, no expensive equipment or toxic chemicals are required.
Our stencils are reusable. Clean with plain water, latex paint remover, paint thinner or oil based paint remover, let dry and reuse. Glass etching creams won't harm our stencils. Etch glass with the same stencil over and over again.
PhotoEZ™ is our basic brand that has been used for years by working professionals, novice individuals, crafters, artists, and teachers, whereas StencilPro™ is one of our new Premium products that has all the same unique properties as PhotoEZ™ with some very exciting new features: more durable, better suited for water based paints as well as solvent based paints, longer shelf life of greater then 1 year under normal room conditions, does not need refrigeration to extend shelf life, faster exposure times.Click here for step-by-step instructions for creating your own stencils.

Q: How do I know which type of stencil resolution to use to use: Standard or HiRes?
A:
There are a few things to consider when choosing Standard or HiRes PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™. Standard is typically used for fabric such as t-shirts, sweatshirts etc… Standard is easier to clean after exposure to light source, easier to use when applying paint, and is more suited for multiple printing. Standard is appropriate for most projects and can achieve incredible details. However, a mesh pattern transferred to the paint may be more visible, and the edges may not be as sharp on hard surfaces. Applying paint or ink to fabric will not have this problem, because fabric is porous.
HiRes is intended for artwork with smaller details or halftones. Typically used for hard surfaces such as glass and metal. HiRes has a higher thread count so some residue clings to the mesh making it a challenge to clean after exposure to light source. More pressure is needed when applying paint. Not all paints are suitable for HiRes, such as ceramic or metallic paint; the pigments are too large and may not go through the mesh. Test the paint first. You can achieve superb details with HiRes and the mesh transferred to the paint is less visible on hard surfaces.

Q: What are the differences between StenclPro and PhotoEZ?
A:
StencilPro ™ is one of our premium products and has all the same unique properties as PhotoEZ ™ with some very exciting new features:

• StencilPro is more durable than PhotoEZ
• StencilPro is better suited for water based paints as well as solvent based paints
• StencilPro is more water resistant; thus, works better with glass etching creams
• StencilPro has longer shelf life of greater then 1 year under normal room conditions
• StencilPro does not need refrigeration to extend shelf life
• StencilPro is more light sensitive; therefore, it requires less time to develop

Q: How long will the stencil last and how many times can it be used?
A:
With proper care your stencil will last a long time and can be used over and over again. After applying paint immediately clean the stencil, let it completely dry then use it again and again.

Q: Can your stencils print in multiple colors?
A:
With our stencils you can achieve simple multi color applications that do not require precision registration.

Q: Can the stencil be cut to the size I need?
A:
Yes, you can cut stencil and make it the size you need. Allow at least a half-inch of border all around the artwork.

Q: What can I use to hold the stencil in place?
A:
Use tape or try stencil adhesive spray. Just a light spray will do the job. Stencil will remain tacky even after cleaning the stencil. For hard surfaces wet the stencil, then blot on paper towels. The stencil becomes tacky when wet and adheres to hard surfaces like glass, plastic, and metal. Make sure the stencil is not too wet otherwise the paint will bleed.

Q: How large are the PhotoEZ™ and StencilPro™ sheets?
A:
Sheets/rolls up to 25"x44" are available for purchasing.

Q: Can PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™ be used in etching copper-clad electronic circuit boards? The etchant is usually a mixture of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide, and any adhesive needs to be completely removed for soldering.
A:
The procedure would be to silkscreen the copper board with a resist and then etch the board as usual. We also recommend mounting our screen onto a rigid frame. However, since circuit boards require precise alignment,we do not recommended it for intricate boards.

Q: What is the thread count on the stencils?
A:
Mesh size for StencilPro™ and PhotoEZ™ are the same as follows: Standard - ~90 threads per inch. HiRes - 200 threads per inch.

Q: Can I make a stencil with fine lines and small details?
A:
Fine lines & smaller details are less forgiving and more experimenting may be required. Very thin lines are a challenge, as every step of making the stencil needs to be perfect. Your artwork needs to be as dark or as opaque as possible. Transparency film is recommended. Good contact between the artwork and stencil using the exposure frame is a must. Exposure time needs to be right on and may require a lot of experimenting. And finally, rinsing with a garden hose in a fine spray mode may be needed to remove all excess residue. For thinner lines and small details it may be best to use our HiRes stencils. Note: read the Q&A directly below about halftones.

Q: Can I make stencils with halftones?
A:
Yes. Unlike traditional plastic stencils that are essentially silhouettes, our stencils can do halftones. Some halftones may be too small and may not work at all. Halftones can be a challenge, and every step of making the stencil needs to be perfect (read Q&A above). Test smaller piece(s) first before committing to a larger piece of PhotoEZ. Use larger dot per inch halftones. For best results use transparency printed on the best print quality. Our PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™ HiRes Stencils are recommended for more detailed images and halftones. Note: read the Q&A directly above about fine lines and small details.

Q: How do I clean the PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™ stencil?
A:
Our stencils typically clean with regular tap water, soap and water, latex paint remover, acetone or paint thinner. Type of cleanser depends on paint being removed. Test small area before cleaning. Although our stencils are fairly rugged, do not scrub film side, fold or ring out to dry. After cleaning, place on flat surface on top of paper towel for drying. Lay stencil with shiny (tacky) side facing up. Note: Never place shiny side of PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™ on any surface while drying. Doing so will cause the stencil to stick to the surface. If this happens, re-soak the stencil until it releases.

Q: Do I need a photographic dark room to develop PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™?
A:
No. Our stencils can tolerate a few minutes of exposure to light levels found in typical homes as long as they are kept several feet away from artificial light sources and are protected from direct sunlight. Minimize exposure to fluorescent tubes, they emit more UV energy then incandescent bulbs. Illuminate work area with yellow bug lights (60 watts or less) if additional lighting/working time is desired. Fully developed PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™ stencils do not require protection from light. Do not remove protective clear backing until ready for use. Once backing is removed, handle stencil from edges only. Avoid putting fingerprints or scratching surface of photosensitive film.

Q: How should I store PhotoEZ™ or StencilPro™?
A:
Keep undeveloped PhotoEZ™ in black bag and store in refrigerator. Protect from freezing and high humidity. Ideal temperature range is 65° to 75° Fahrenheit. PhotoEZ™ degrades quickly above 110°.
StencilPro™ will last at least one year if stored under normal room temperature and does not require refrigeration.

Q: Does PhotoEZ™ have a shelf life?
A:
Yes. We recommend you use it within six months of purchase. Shelf life can be dramatically affected by temperature conditions while storing. For longer shelf life, store PhotoEZ™ in your refrigerator.

Q: What types of paint must I use?
A:
Just about any kind of paint will work as long as it is not too runny. Common acrylic craft and fabric paints work great. Thick slow drying paints used in silk screening or block printing work best. The longer your paint takes to dry, the more impressions you can make between cleanings.

 

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