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Which emulsion should I use?

Your darkroom, inks, level of experience, and exposure unit will determine which emulsion is best for your shop.

What exposure unit and bulb type do you have? No vacuum? Using multiple fluorescent tubes or blacklights? Use an emulsion made for your inks that is a dual cure or uses diazo. Newer LED and a vacuum? You can use pretty much any emulsion available that fits your ink needs. Depending on the light safe part of your dark room, we recommend always choosing an emulsion that works with you and your darkroom set up.

What inks are you using? Use an emulsion that is designed for the ink you are using. Make sure it will work with your exposure unit. Do note that some emulsions cover a wide array of inks (Baselayr Complete can work with any ink) while others are ink specific, i.e. Baselayr Plastisol emulsion works just for plastisol inks.

Are you an advanced screen printer, or more of a beginner? If you're just starting to learn how to screen print, use a diazo-mixed emulsion like Baselayr Long Lasting. Since it takes longer to expose, it's more forgiving to errors whether it's from exposing issues or light leakage. More advanced printers can use presensitized emulsions like Baselayr Complete.

What's your darkroom environment like? The main concern here is if the space is light-safe. If you're working in a spare bedroom, bathroom, garage, or a space where there's a good chance light may enter at some point of the process, you'll want to stick with the diazo mixed emulsions. If you work in a space that doesn't permit any light to enter and you have the right equipment, you can use either presensitized or diazo mixed emulsions.

To learn more about emulsions, check out this article. If you'd like to learn more about the Baselayr emulsions, read this blog.

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