707 Cesar Chavez Street
San Francisco, CA 94124

FILM POSITIVES: Terms and Explanations

All the screens at ZOO-INK are made using a photographic emulsion process. To
transfer the design onto a screen we need a FILM POSITIVE. This is a piece of clear or frosted Acetate or Mylar, with the design appearing on it in opaque black or photographic opaque red.

The final printed fabric can be no better than the Film Positive. Making a good
Positive is a critical step in the process.

The Film Positive may not be film; it can be hand painted with opaque ink, cut Rubylith, paper collage, and other materials. We use the word Film in a very general sense, but the word Positive is a requirement. The Black areas of the film are where the ink, of any color, will pass through the screen.

The Film Positive may be on any substrate, acetate and Mylar being the most common. Acetate is inexpensive, but unstable. Mylar costs more, but will not buckle, expand, or shrink. Mylar must be used for multicolor and tight registration designs. Photographic films are always on Mylar.

Drawing or painting on Acetate or Mylar can be a cost effective way of creating a Positive. The ink used MUST BE OPAQUE. Hold the positive up to a bright light to see if any light passes through the black areas. Gray areas will give unpredictable results.
Line thickness and fineness of detail are limited by the fabric to be printed on, screen mesh used, inks used, and other minor factors. We will discuss the problems of your particular design when we see your artwork.

Multicolor designs may require special treatment in how the colors touch each other. This is called trapping. Trapping for hand screen textile printing is different that for machine printing, or paper printing.

ZOO-INK has a staff of experts experienced in creating Film Positives. If you are unsure about how to create the Positive, or do not want to spend the time or trouble, we can do this step for you, with guaranteed excellent results.