When I saw that my friend Leslie of Maze & Vale (formally Onegirl) was doing a handprinted fabric swap, I couldn’t resist joining in. I have been wanting to experiment with the whole screen printing thing for quite a while now and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. My last hands on experience with screen printing was in high school, so I’m hardly an expert. This is not a tutorial but just a little guide as to how I went about it all and what I could improve on.
Equipment & Materials: I was lucky enough to pick up some printing ink from my local art shop very cheaply as they were clearing out this range. The only colour choice was silver, so silver it was! Fabric I have plenty of, and my very lovely friend Pilgrim lent me her screen and squeegee.
Design: Rather than burning onto the screen with emulsion (which I have no idea how to do), I thought making a stencil with vinyl adhesive (Contact) would be a good alternative. Little silver clouds seemed appropriate so I had drew the design and cut it out with a craft scalpel, then stuck it to the underside of the frame.
Looking back I should have drawn the clouds horizontal to the frame which would have made repeat prints a lot easier with less negative space. The next part was all a bit clumsy as I was on my own. Trying to deal with ink, hold a frame down, squeegee and then relocate the fabric was not impossible but would have been a whole lot simpler with another set of hands. I think most screen printers use a hinged frame so things don’t shift around. Probably used way too much ink and ended up with silver hands!All in all, I think I did ok. I found the quality of my prints erratic and consistency was a problem. I only had a couple of perfect prints and the rest had patchy areas (see bottom left, below), I’m sure this was down to my technique, or lack thereof.
I also suspect towards the end some of the ink may have started to dry in the screen silk because I wasn’t working quickly enough? Would love to hear from anyone that can give me some pointers. So hung out the fabric to dry, then ironed to heat set.
My fat quarters are all cut up and ready to ship around the world to my swap partners, I’m excited to see what they’ll send me.
I’m not sure if this whole screen printing thing is for me though, it was quite enjoyable but the clean up was a real pain. I really need an assistant to do all the dirty work.
Have you tried screen printing before?