Q: When is Screenprint Society?
A: The 1st and 3rd Thursdays, from 7pm-9pm. We do not meet on the last Thursday in months that have 5 Thursdays.

Q: Where is it located, and can I drive or take public transportation?
A: Screenprint Society takes place at Pyramid Atlantic at 8230 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. There is parking in front of the building and accessible by Ride On bus and the Silver Spring Metro stop on the red line.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: $20 per session for nonmembers, $10 per session for Pyramid Atlantic members. We take cash, checks and credit cards.

Q: What time can I start? 
A: You may arrive early to settle in, but screenprint facilities open at 7:00 PM sharp, and clean up begins at 8:45 PM to close down at 9:00 PM.

Q: Why do I need to RSVP?
A: Screenprinting has grown in popularity, so our sessions can fill up quickly. We can accommodate approximately 8 students with our 4 workstations, and darkroom.

Q: May I just come to watch?
A: Absolutely! Observing others is a great first step to learning how to screenprint. There is no charge, but it is a good idea to RSVP so that we can be on the lookout for you.

Q: What should I bring?
A: We provide screens, emulsion, freezer paper and ink. Since it is best to take advantage of the short studio time, we advise creating your artwork on acetate in advance and starting small, on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. Images should be high contrast black. Grayscale or continuous tones must be converted to halftone or line art in order to adhere to the screen. (see How do I prepare my images, below). In addition, please bring:
  • wide masking tape
  • a large piece of clear acetate for registering
  • tee shirts (used or worn shirts are good for practice) or 
  • printing paper
  • special inks (we have basic colors). 
Q: How do I prepare my artwork?
A: Any image that is high contrast, in opaque black on a clear background will work. This includes painting with india ink, drawing in charcoal or black pencil on vellum as well as black and white computer generated printouts on acetate. Photographs or line art work best if converted to a bitmap tif @1200 dpi. If you are unsure of your artwork, you may email first to Marty.

Q: Can I print tee shirts?
A: Yes. But time is limited, so you should expect to print around 5 shirts in one color. It is a good idea to bring old or worn shirts to practice on, as new shirts can get ruined with a printing mistake.

Q: Can I print a photograph?
A: Yes. But you will have the best results by adjusting the image in Adobe Photoshop. Basic Photoshop instructions are available at Screenprint Society. Bring your electronic image and mention your request in your RSVP.

Q: What kinds of equipment is in the studio?
A: The screenprinting studio consists of a dedicated printing area with 2 large 4' x 8' tables, 4 workstations, screen storage, ink racks, utility sink and squeegees. In addition, we have a full darkroom with a vacuum table exposure unit, screen drying box, washout unit, and power hose. In addition, Pyramid Atlantic has other studios that offer other types printmaking and papermaking.

Q: What colors of ink do you have?
A: We have both paper and fabric primary colors and many others that have been left by students. If you need specific colors (such as metallic or neon), you must purchase them yourself.

Q: Do I need to bring my own screen?
A: No. We supply 230 mesh screens for printing on paper, and 156 & 110 mesh for printing on teeshirts. Student screens are not pristine, and should be considered for practice only. Student screens can be used as long as you attend Screenprint Society sessions. Images will be washed out of student screens that are not in use.

Q: I have my own screens, can I bring them?
A: Yes. It is especially helpful if you are working on a special or longterm project to use and care for your own screen. However, due to limited space, you may store only up to 3 screens at Pyramid Atlantic, and at your own risk. Screens must be clearly marked on all 4 sides with your name.

Q: I am already familiar with screenprinting, and just need to expose/washout my screens. Can I do this on my own?
A: Yes, eventually. We recommend attending Screenprint Society to familiarize yourself with our facilities. When you rent studio space on your own, there is no one available to troubleshoot or answer questions. After you have the expertise neccessary, you will be placed on our Renter's List and gain access to the studio rental calendar. Studio rental is $15 per hour for members / $20 for nonmembers. You may also consider Art Gym which is a monthly studio arrangement.

Q: How do I get on the Renter's List to work on my own in the studio?
A: You must by "certified" by Becca and Marty. Since each individual has a different skill set, we do not have a fixed criteria for certification. A good gauge is completion of approximately 10 hours of supervised studio time: in a class, Screenprint Society or one-on-one instruction. You need to demonstrate the ability and be able to teach others to:
  1. Expose your screen: including scoop coating the emulsion, washing the scoop coater, knowing when a screen is dry enough to expose, use the vacuum exposure table and washout unit
  2. Reclaim your screen: know the proper chemical, using the right amount of reclaimer, use and shut down the power washer
  3. Print in the studio, including troubleshooting, sharing space with others, and familiarity with studio procedures (screen etiquette, drying rack, inks, etc.)
  4. Know about ink, how to mix the right amount of ink, proper storage containers, fabric vs. paper, labeling, and keeping ink shelf tidy.
  5. Leave the darkroom in good order: all fans turned off (including in dark box), faucet off, washout unit off, power washer off, clean glass on exposure unit, screens put away, scoop coaters cleaned, emulsion buckets closed tight, newspapers and trash thrown away
  6. Leave the studio in good order: tables cleaned, squeegees and ink put away, screens stored, arrangements for prints on drying racks
  7. Care and respect the equipment, Pyramid Atlantic community, and facilities
  8. Sign in and out on clipboard
    Q: Do you offer commercial screenprinting services?
    A: Not really. Pyramid Atlantic primarily focuses on collaboration with artists. If you have a commercial tee shirt or signage job, you are best served by a commercial screenprint business.