A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Screen Printing--A Bit of Success and Dismal Failure/Quilter Beth

I did get a little screen printing practice and thought I'd share those results with you. First I screen printed using paint and a freezer stencil. Those results weren't bad. I cut the stencil from freezer paper and ironed it to the screen. Jane Dunnewold suggests ironing from the front (not the flat side) of the screen. I tried that, but I kept running into my duct tape (which wanted to melt when the iron touched it). I ended up ironing from both sides. I definitely got better contact between the screen and the freezer paper when I did it Jane's way. I wasn't very careful when I cut the stencil and made it a bit too big for this screen. Oooops!

This is a view of the freezer paper stencil from the back of the screen.
Here is what it looked like when I was getting ready to add the ink to the well. 
Here is the result. I added some blue to the red paint on the last print. 
Here is a close up. 
I thought these turned out okay, and it is pretty easy to do.

Now for the dismal failure...I thought I'd try something different. I colored a picture on my fabric using pastels (Alphacolor by Weber Costello) for the background along with watercolor pencils (Karat Aquarell by Staedtler) and watersoluble ink pencils (Inktense by Kerwent). I tried binding that to the fabric using ProChem's base extender (PROfab Textile Paint).

Here is what it looked like after coloring.
Here is what it looked like after screening the base extender over it. 
 Here is what it looked like after washing! (The light was different when I took the picture, but I think you get the idea.) You can see the area at the bottom left where I didn't screen enough extender on to save any of the color at all.
Next, I colored directly onto the screen with the pastels and screened the base extender onto the fabric (hoping to bind the color to the fabric). This is what it looked like after the base extender had been screened over it.
This is what it looked like after washing! I know, I know, you think I took a picture of an untreated piece of fabric...NO...this is actually what it looked like. Now there are a number of reasons this little experiment could have failed.
It could be that I didn't use enough extender. The way it was, though, the fabric is a bit stiff. I'm not sure I would like the hand of the fabric if more extender is what it would take to keep the color. It could be that the fabric was just to crappy. I used an inexpensive muslin to practice on. If the pastels were oil-based pastels rather than water-based, that could cause the problem. (The pastels box didn't say whether they were oil or water-based, but I'm thinking because of the way the dust came off of the screen after I colored on it they were water-based.)

Hopefully, I'll have time to try some more screening before the month is up. I'm planning on making a quilt that will have words screened over it. I want to use flour paste on the screen to do that. (I tried that when I was in Jane Dunnewold's class. The words come out nicely when etched from the right side of the frame with a wooden skewer.) If I don't have time this month to get that done, I'll post pics of it whenever it happens.


  1. I like your stencil. Judith (Quiltordye) and I had some frustrations trying a "low relief screen printing" technique that I saw on the internet. Yesterday she went back and read the directions again and understood them differently than I did. She had much more success the next day. Maybe she will post the pics.

  2. Beth,
    I liked your stencil but I am totally freaked at the idea of using an iron on my screen. Can't you get the same effect by just laying your screen over the stencil? The first pull of ink/paint/thickened dye will cause the stencil to adhere to the screen.

    I am really disappointed with the immigrant medium results. Did you iron the fabric to set the medium before you washed the fabric? That technique is on my list to try this weekend. I'll let you know if my results are any different.

    Yep, Beth from Maine and I tried the low relief silk screen technique over the weekend. After several false starts, I finally got a good direct print, shadow print, and reverse print. Pictures to follow soon.

    I want to try it again with thickened dye rather than paint. And I don't know if the results are worth the work cleaning the screen. I think I can get the same effect from a monoprint and forget the screen altogether. I'll be trying that too this weekend.

  3. Yes, I did iron the fabric after screen printing.

    As for ironing the freezer paper to the screen...it isn't any problem. Maybe that is the preferred method with freezer paper because the wax tends to repel the paint. I don't worry too much about damaging the screen; because in Jane Dunnewold's class, she showed us how to rescreen a frame with inexpensive window sheer fabric. It is VERY easy and inexpensive.

  4. Been viewing a DVD on fugitive medium and screening. Two pieces of advice were to make sure your fugitive medium was not too thick on the fabric before you screen it. That prevents the textile medium from soaking through the fugitive medium into the fabric and really bonding it together. The other recommendation was when putting the fugitive medium on the screen, to place it on very very heavy so you get multiple prints when you squeegee with the textile medium.


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