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Latex rubber is a special substance commonly used to make inflatable balloons. Because of the stretchy property of the latex, printing must be done with the latex stretched out to prevent bunching during the printing process. Printing on latex rubber can be done using rubber stamps or silk screening. Doing this process at home will allow you to make customised latex rubber balloons and other items.
Prepare your silk screen or rubber stamp. Silk screens are created by photo emulsion, using a transparency to block off the parts of the screen that are lighter in colour, while leaving the darker parts open so the paint goes through. Prepare your rubber stamp by cutting away the parts of the stamp you don't want ink to be applied to. Rubber stamps can also be ordered from professional stamp-cutting companies.
Stretch or inflate the latex to 75 to 80 per cent of its potential size. Assemble your stretcher bars and then staple or pin the latex to the sides of the stretcher bar. If you are printing on latex rubber balloons, use your breath to inflate the balloon to slightly less than how large you want it to be. Use a rubber band to seal it.
Coat the silkscreen or stamp with an even layer of latex paint using a paintbrush or roller. Place the silkscreen onto the surface of the latex roller and pull the paint down the length of the image using a squeegee. If you are using a rubber stamp, simply apply the stamp to the latex rubber surface and press evenly around the edge so the ink transfers onto the latex.
Allow the ink to dry and cut the latex from the stretcher bars or remove the rubber band to deflate the rubber latex balloon.
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