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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sun Printing with Solar Fast as a thickened dye

Robbie back with another way to use SolarFast (SF)!!  I have to admit that I have tried screen printing in the past (deconstructed & thermofax) but I was intrigued by Lynn Krawczyk's new book, Intentional Printing, which I purchased this past winter.  I thought I could use some of Lynn's tips and techniques while testing SF and screen printing!  And yes, you can use SF for screen printing by the addition of a thickener agent, which is sold by Jacquard.
Now, in all honesty, I couldn't get the 'thick' consistency I thought I needed for screen printing.  I'm used to using thickened dyes or paints when I screen print, so I kept anticipating by adding (1-4 ratio) the SF thickener, the dye solution would be the consistency of syrup or paint...I never did get my SF solution thick.  Being the Type A person I am and wanting to get started I just went with the consistency the thickener gave me!
Just a note....the color of SF dyes direct from the bottle are not the color you would expect!  Yep, this is Blue SF in the picture.
I am using Blue SF (with thickener added) and my coffee cup thermofax screen from Lynn!  I've been anxious to use the screen and apply Lynn's tips,which I'm not going to share here!  You'll have to buy her book!!   Hey...this is a post of using SolarFast for sun printing and I know there are posts here on the 'FIRE' blog for screen printing or pick up Lynn's book!

I'm printing on a piece of screen printed cotton fabric my daughter did several years ago.  It's a cool piece on its own but I wanted to use it to make fiber post cards and have coffee cups printed on it (& I wanted to use my coffee thermofax screen from Lynn!).
The process is just printing as normal using SF in place of dye or paints.  The exception is after you have screen printed (again, work inside to print!) you will then expose your print to sunlight.  The nice thing is you can see the color change immediately, depending on the dye color and sun strength.

And my end result!  I think if my dye solution was thicker my print would be just a a tad 'finer' but I'm still happy with this result.  Or perhaps, because I felt the dye solution wasn't thick enough, I put too much dye on.  I still like this print!!!

I had some other thermofax screens that were given to me by Sally over at Sally's Stuff. 

This is a leaf print and once again I'm using the blue SF thickened dye.  You can see on the left side where I've printed one of the leafs.  Color is deceiving isn't it!  It just looks wet and not Blue!  But it will!

And here is a closeup of the leaf after its time in the sun!

Now the 'blob' in the upper right is due to two reasons....at least I think....first, I was printing on the wrong side of the thermofax screen (thanks, Lynn!  I found the correct side to use in her book!)...and second, I feel the dye wasn't thick enough and/or I pushed too much of the solution through the screen.
The piece is still quite nice.

I'm not one to waste dye so I kept printing!

The circles are from a stencil that I just painted through with a foam brush!  You'll have to come back tomorrow for an entire post on using SF and stencils!

 Lynn does quite a bit of 'writing' in her textile work and dedicates a chapter on drawing on fabric in her book....so of course with my left over 'so called' thickened SF dye solution, I thought I'd try this as well.

The only 'tool' I could find to write on my fabric was this monoject syringe!  It's not perfect but it worked well enough.  Again, the piece was set out in the sun to 'cook'!

You can also see the letter 'P' , number '3' and symbol '?' which I brushed on some wooden stamps I had and stamped!  Yea, I'm a "waste not, want not" kind of gal!

It wasn't easy writing with the syringe and that's apparent with some of the heavier areas in the lettering.

I had just a few drops left of the dye, so I  took a scrap piece of fabric, placed in a tray, squirted on the remainder of the dye and this is what I got.

It will be a good piece to use for more printing with SF or even overdyeing.  It won't go to waste that's for sure.

All of these pieces were washed with Dawn detergent and rinsed well.  No need to heat set and the fabric is as soft as it was before printing and cleaning up is a snap!!  I do love that about this product!  No prepping the fabric before hand (i.e. soda ash), no messy dyed hands either!

So hope you are intrigued with another use of SolarFast.  Tomorrow's post is on using stencils and SF!
And there's still more ways to use SolarFast, which I'll show in the last two posts!  I'm really getting hooked on this product...and, no, I do not work for the company!  Yet!!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful product. I will have to look to see if there is a vendor selling it in the UK.
    Sandy in the UK

  2. Excellent blog Robbie. Look forward to tomorrow.
    Sandy - Georgeweil sell this product in the UK.

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