Dialing In Exposure for Screen Printing

Finding the proper exposure time for your emulsion is crucial for optimal results. Exposure times can, at best, be suggested by manufacturers as a guide because individual exposure times will vary depending on the equipment, emulsion, mesh, coating techniques, and other shop conditions. Exposure tests must be performed on a regular basis to determine proper exposure times and to ensure your times haven’t changed based on screen room conditions.

The following videos show three different methods for dialing in your exposure: the Dual Exposure Calculator, the 10-Step Exposure Guide, and the Step Test method.


Mick Orr with Chromaline, explains how to use the the Chromaline Dual Exposure Calculator to obtain the best results in your screen printing process.


Brian Mirsch with Chromaline shows how to use the 10-Step Exposure Guide from Chromaline to dial in exposure. This exposure guide can be used on every screen you make to make sure your exposure doesn't change over time.


Mick Orr with Chromaline shows how to do an exposure test, also known as a Step Test. You can do this step test using your own artwork.

Tools To Help You Dial In Exposure When Making Screens

Use the following tools to help you dial in exposure when making screens for screen printing.

chromaline exposure calculator for screen printing


Chromaline's Exposure Calculator eliminates miscalculated exposure time with three kinds of quality checks. An easy, user friendly tool for the novice and the advanced screen maker. Designed to help determine correct exposure time, print quality check and halftone tests. Instructions are easy to understand and very complete.
10 step exposure guide for screen printing


At only 0.5" x 3.5", Chromaline's 10-Step Exposure Guide is a density filter used to control exposure times. Utilize our 10-Step Guide to help you work toward a good exposure time. We like this scale because it's smaller than the 21-step scales, yet they're the same densities through 10 steps, and ours has a solid line separating each step making it easier to read.


Use these downloads for step gradients to print resolution targets on your own inkjet film to perform a Step Test.

Choosing An Exposure Unit

We offer a table top exposure unit in two sizes, or an automated Laser-To-Screen (LTS) unit in three different sizes.

chromaline quick image exposure unit for screen printing


Chromaline's Quick Image Exposure Units with LED strips operate at lower temperatures and can last over 50,000 hours with light that never degrades. These tabletop units delivers fast, uniform and high resolution exposures.
laser to screen LTS exposure unit for screen printing


Still wasting your hard earned money on ink or DTS wax? Our Laser-To-Screen (LTS) auto exposure units require no consumables and have low power consumption for minimized costs. Available in three options (to accommodate different screen sizes).

What Types Of Lights Work For Exposing Screens?

Join Mick as he goes over why some light choices are better than others for exposing screens.


Will the sun work? Sure, but we don't recommend it. In this video Mick explains the cons of using the sun for exposing screens.


When it comes to exposure setups, there are A LOT of things to consider if you want to produce a high quality screen. In this video Mick goes over the different light sources available and why they will or will not work for making screens.


An underexposed screen is one of the most common causes of screen breakdown on press. In this video Mick goes over how you can tell if you screen is underexposed.