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screen printing project: artfest house 4e

March 19, 2010

ArtFest is just around the corner and another addition to the group prayer flags is here!  I’ve chosen to do a screen print. Many of my friends and family have not seen this process, so I’ll try to break it down in photo form for all to understand.

Here is the process I go through for screen printing on fabric, 2 screens, start to finish.

Step 1: Cleaning a screen.  In the image you can see red stuff (screen filler), from a previous project. Screen filler does what it says, it helps prevent ink from passing through the screen.  I’ll be removing the filler using hot water, Fells Naptha bar soap, and a scrub brush.

After about 8 washings and 16hrs, the filler was finally removed!

Next step is design layout. I want the  finished image to be 10″ x 12″ . There will be a combination of several images and text for the project. Often I reuse drawings for screen prints as is the case here.  The image is transferred to the clean and dry screen using a pencil and then blue drawing fluid.

The drawing fluid allows a blocking to occur that can be washed out with cool water and no soap. This will make more sense when the screen filler is applied. Drawing fluid is applied using paint brushes. The image below is screen#2.

Once the drawing fluid is completely dry,  screen filler can be applied over the surface ( the rust red stuff) using a trough. My art buddy Carol Chapel loaned me her trough several years back (and I really do appreciate the loan Carol! Maybe I should actually purchase it from you.) It’s very handy for application of  materials, ie:  photo emulsion and screen filler. It allows an even coating to be swiped over the screen surface. Image below is the trough loaded up with screen filler.

Below image: After the application of a single swipe of screen filler, more drying time required.

Next step is to wash out the drawing fluid with cold water:

More drying and it’s ready for printing.

Fabric: All the fabric has been pre-washed, dried, ironed, and cut down in size.  I can’t recall what type of material it is, something like shirting. I don’t know my fabrics.

Printing:  Screen#1 will be for the background color.  Newspaper taped to the back of the screen provides additional  ink blocking and helps keep things clean.

Blue tape helps guide fabric placement under the screen. A second way to better place a print is using a sheet of plastic (taped to your back board) as a guide. At this point it is not critical so I just used tape. Screen#2 used the other method for registration.

Place mixed colors on screen and pull with the beefy squeegee.

Pull completed. Ready to remove fabric

Fabric and paper often stick to the screen when it’s lifted. Gently peel off of screen.

Prior to starting to print, make sure to have plenty of flat space for drying. Fortunately the fabric can be draped over chairs and other items. These have dried and are ready for the second screen.

Screen#2: Images with text in black.

A finished image!

All that remains is heat setting the ink and finishing the edges.

If anyone is interested in the finished product (with or without the ArtFest 2010) let me know via email.  I will be running some with other colors for a SPRING 2010.

Thanks for looking at my process.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2010 7:30 am

    Thanks for explaining the process with photos. It never quite made sense when you told me over beers. Maybe Block 15 needs a whiteboard 🙂 Anyway, I like the way you can mix blobs of ink and get the cool streaking effect. Nice re-use of a block print!

  2. Cynthia Spencer permalink
    March 20, 2010 3:25 pm

    You really do a good job of describing complex processes…and remembering to get a photo at each step. Turned out great.

    • paperstew permalink*
      March 22, 2010 6:08 am

      Alex: Once the ink blobs get mixed a bit more then interesting streaking can happen. Glad the photos made sense to you!

      Cynthia: Thanks! It would be interesting to see some of your process step by step on your blog. But that might divulge too many of your trade secrets! 😉

  3. Kim permalink
    March 22, 2010 8:07 am

    Gale,

    What a complex process. You explained it very well. VERY COOL COLORS! The multi-colors. How beautiful.

    Good job lil’ sis.

    • paperstew permalink*
      March 22, 2010 10:45 am

      I figured the screens needed to be pulled out again. Lee & I will be attempting collaborative print projects soon. Now THAT should be quite interesting! 🙂
      thanks big sis!

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