How to Build a Darkroom for a Screen-printing Shop With Limited Floor Space

December 16, 2016 at 4:49 am 1 comment


Can you suggest some approaches to building a darkroom for a screen-printing shop that has a limited floor space? This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

A booth can often be constructed of black plastic sheeting, which is relatively cheap to purchase. Choose a location close to the washout area to minimize exposure to light. Simply construct a 1′ x 3′ wooden frame and determine where to place the entry to the dark room. Staple the plastic to the frame and overlap some plastic to create the “door.” By overlapping the plastic sheets, it will minimize the light coming through during entry and exit. Also, be sure that the plastic cover reaches to the floor to block out light completely.

Another way to create a darkroom with limited space is to repurpose an existing room. For example, if the bathroom is not too small, turn it into a dual-purpose room. Repurposing a closet is also a great way to make use of the space you have.

Stand in the darkroom prior to use to be sure that there is no light leaking into the room. It may be necessary to block out minute shafts of light coming in through the bottom or sides of a door. Use plastic sheeting or light-blocking curtains to eliminate any light contamination. Consult your emulsion manufacturer as to which lights would work best and add a dehumidifier. In such a closed room environment, your screens will dry faster and more thoroughly when moisture content is controlled.

International Coatings Blog | Forum for Screen Printing Tips, Ideas, Thoughts

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at


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