Screen Printing Emulsions

Your Stop for Name Brand Screen Printing Emulsions

Before you’re able to create high quality prints, you’ll need to have high quality stencils. To create the perfect stencil for your projects, there are a bunch of factors that need to come into play.

One of the very first steps you need to take is to have the right emulsions and applying them correctly. There are a variety of brands and techniques that also go into perfecting the process of using emulsions.

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Why Choose Garston for Your Emulsions?

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Affordable Prices

After starting strictly as a sign business, we’ve progressed into screen printing, and we still offer the most honest, low prices for all of our screen printing supplies.

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Customer Satisfaction

Here at Garston, we take the time and effort to find the screen printing supplies you desperately need for your project or print shop. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we’ll point you in the right direction.

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Name Brand Products

Having a Screen Printing business can be expensive. That’s why we price our products at a low, affordable rate. We also supply most of our products in bulk, saving you more in the long-run. Can’t find what you need? Reach out to us!

Shop Individual Screen Printing Emulsions:

The Three Screen Printing Emulsion Types

When you begin shopping for an emulsion, one of the main components you need to be aware of is your light source. Exposure to UV lights will help cure emulsions, and when the light hits the emulsion, it helps to create a strong bond in the emulsions resin. Therefore hardening the emulsion and making a stronger bond with your screen.

You have three different options when it comes to emulsions: Diazo, Pure Photopolymer, and Dual Cure.


For a majority of screen printers, diazo emulsions are a popular choice because it’s affordable, and still produces great quality.

Compared to the other emulsion types, diazo will take longer to expose, so it will not be a good emulsion for areas with weak light sources. On the contrary, diazos will still produce good results even in these types of conditions. During the exposure stage, diazo will change color until the sensitizer inside the emulsion has entirely reacted. This is a great feature that helps to double-check your exposure.

Pure Photopolymer

Pure photopolymer is a high-quality, professional type of emulsion. Compared to diazo, this emulsion will expose faster and at a more stable rate. Diazo usually takes around 15 minutes or more, whereas a pure photopolymer can only take a few seconds, and will dry quickly afterwards.

For those trying to print on textiles like denim, this should be your go-to choice. You can easily create a thick emulsion layer by adding numerous coats of pure photopolymer.

Dual Cure

The last type of emulsion is dual cure, which happens to be a combination of the qualities of both diazo and pure photopolymer. Similar to pure photopolymer, the exposure time of dual cure is quick, and similar to diazo, the color will change during the process.

Beginners are welcome to use dual cure emulsions, but the quick exposure time can be a challenge. There are also two varieties of dual core emulsion, one option is for plastisol inks while the other is for water-based inks.

How To Select the Right Emulsion

If you’re stuck between choosing the right emulsion for your screen printing project, there are a few factors you can consider. 

What Kind of Experience Do You Have?

When it comes to the three types of emulsions, diazo is preferred by beginners because it’s affordable and more forgiving with its exposure time, but still produces high quality results. For those who are comfortable using emulsions and understand the exposure time, pure photopolymers or dual cures are the way to go.

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screen printing ink

Be Aware of What Ink Type You’re Using

When you’re considering the best type of emulsion for your project, it’s best to remember that water-based as well as plastisol inks need to have a water-resistant emulsion that can withstand water inside the ink and not break down.

Consider Your Environment and Where You Wash Out Your Emulsion

Pure photopolymer is a highly sensitive emulsion that even daylight on a cloudy day will start to expose the image. If you wash your screen outside, your emulsion will overexpose even the blocked out areas. It’s best to have an exposure unit with a timer as well as a darkroom with washout booths and extra supplies.

On the other hand, diazo can be washed outside in the daylight under UV light, and you won’t have to use an exposure unit with a timer.

emulsion environment

Emulsions FAQ

What Are Emulsions?

An emulsion is one or two more liquids blended together. These liquids are not soluble (cannot be dissolved) and they are immiscible (cannot be mixed). A good example of emulsions happens to be water and oil. When you try to mix water and oil, they will never blend, instead they stay separated.

How Are Emulsions Used in Screen Printing? 

So, how do emulsions come into play with the screen printing business? Screen printers will use emulsions to coat the front and back of their screens, which helps the image bind securely to the fabric.

What Environment Is Best for Emulsions?

We recommend that you work in a light sensitivity environment, avoiding any direct sunlight on your emulsions. This means that you need to find a space where there is low lighting and you can eliminate any UV light from the room.

Basically, you’re trying to create a darkroom of sorts that you can use as your workspace. Once you’ve created the perfect environment, you may want to work under a yellow light, which will extensively help eliminate UV rays and provide a safer area for your screens.

How Do I Avoid Undercured Emulsions?

After you’ve successfully coated your screen with an emulsion, you need to allow ample time for the emulsion to dry. You should put your emulsion in a warm, dark area and let them dry for around 12-24 hours.

Why Is The Emulsion Breaking Down While I Am Screen Printing?

There are a few different reasons why your emulsion is breaking down.  It could be because the emulsion was not exposed long enough and not properly dried. It’s best to either let your screen dry off with UV light or placed onto a light unit. Another reason could be that you have applied the emulsion too thinly on your screen. In the beginning it’s fine to spread your emulsion thin and even, but it needs to be coated at least once on each side with a proper scoop coater.

You may have also used the wrong type of ink for your chosen emulsion. It’s best practices to choose an emulsion that works with your chosen ink. There is also the possibility that during the process you wore down the emulsion with a squeegee.

Why Is The Emulsion Not Applying Properly?

It’s possible that the mesh on your screen may have loosened and the tension is now uneven, which is typical for wood frame screens once they’ve been used for a duration of time. There is also the chance that your emulsion may be outdated or dried bits have fallen into the mixture.

What Is The Best Way to Store Emulsions?

Whenever you are purchasing emulsions, it’s good to check the shelf life and the requirements for storage. You should always keep your emulsion container clean and try to refrigerate it if you are not in a hurry to use it all up.

Garston, Sign Screen & Digital

Honest, Fair Prices On All Emulsions

When you are considering a supplier for screen printing emulsions, we hope that you choose Garston. With over 60 years in the business, we have the expertise and products to help you get your project done on-time and correctly. To start ordering today, give us a call at 860-289-3040