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.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Screen Printing, vilene interfacing.

Back at the beginning of this series of posts I included vilene interfacing as one of the tools. You may remember this ...

I hope you managed to find some, or, if you have been waiting to see how it works, you will feel inspired to get some.

The easiest way to begin is simply with a piece of interfacing that covers the opening of the screen. I like to do it with a square and, because I don't have a small enough screen, I simply taped the inside of the screen to make the opening smaller. This is about 4" x 4". Ignore the markings on the screen mesh, they have been there since I used this to make a flour paste screen and they don't normally show up in the print.

Cut a piece of interfacing to cover the opening and tape it to the bottom of the screen. That really is all that you have to do.

The best way to do this is to use several colours. I decided to use some yellows, magenta, lime green and a chestnut brown. Bear in mind that when you change colour, some of the previous colour will still be in the interfacing and so will affect the colour that you are using, at least initially. It is also more interesting if you scatter your prints randomly across the fabric.

After pinning out your soda soaked fabric, start to apply your first colour. I used acid yellow for the first prints. I also apologise for the marks on the squares, I forgot to wash out mu drop cloth and so some of the dye that was on there bled through.

Change to your second colour and add more prints. I used lemon yellow for this, and although the difference is subtle it is there.

Change colour again, this time I went with Golden Yellow. This time the difference is more obvious and you can see how the two squares on the right are lighter because there was still some of the lemon yellow in there.

I then went with magenta. I worked from right to left so that the difference would be easier to see. 

The last colours that I used were lime green and chestnut brown.  The green doesn't show quite as much but you can see hints of it. The layering that you get with this method is now really obvious.

After batching overnight and then washing out, this is the final result.

All you have to do now is to take the interfacing from the back of your screen and wash it out. It will retain some colour but it won't affect the next time you use it.

I store my interfacing screens in plastic wallets in a ring binder so that they are easy to find. If the creasing stops it from lying flat on the screen next time, you can always iron it lightly. I always protect it with baking parchment when I'm ironing so that I don't melt it.

You don't have to use as many colours. Red blue and yellow can create some wonderful combinations but do start with the lightest colour first.

On Wednesday I'll be bringing the soy wax back into play to use with the interfacing. Some household emulsion paint will be needed too. I'm not sure if that is a universal  name for the paint but, if it isn't, then it's the paint that you use on your interior walls.


  1. Interesting, and I do like the effect of the squares... much nicer than trying to paint the dyes on with foam brush! I may have an interfacing like this in my stash, but might just pop over to the local quilt store to see if they have it in stock, just in case. Can't wait to see what comes next with the soy wax!

  2. Are you still using thickened dyes?
    What is the reason for adding the interfacing on the screen? Wouldn't you get the same effect by just taping off a square on the screen itself? Or is the residual effect of successive colors in the vilene what you are after?

  3. It's the residual effect of the successive colours Diane. I probably didn't use the best colours to demonstrate the technique but the effect its there when you see it in real life. And yes I am still using thickened dyes.

  4. Sure would like to see your work in person! Thanks for the response. Looking forward to reading today's installment on vilene.


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