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 6, 2015

Soy Wax and Screen printing, printing your designs

Today we start to see the magic happen on your fabric. You can start with a plain undyed fabric or, if you have some pieces in your stash that you were unhappy with, now is the time to do something about it. Don't forget to soda soak and dry the fabric first, get your printing surface ready, find your squeegee, mix up your thickened dye and go for it. 

I have used several pieces that have languished in my 'soda'd fabric' box for a long time. I would occasionally bring them out, look at them, sigh deeply and put them back again. As I needed to go through processes for these blog posts, what better time to get them out and actually do something with them. 

This piece of fabric was a real failure. It was a second run of a deconstructed screen and good for nothing so out it came. It is a piece of heavy habotai silk and by the time it reached this point there was very little of the dye left on the screen. Believe me, if you have something this bad then you are not going to worry about experimenting on it.

Pin your fabric onto your printing surface and lay your screen onto the fabric. You can do the printing in a random way but I have chosen to do a repeat of the pattern so started at the top left. You can see the fabric underneath the screen so it is fairly easy to line up  your screen as you move it along.

Add a bead of thickened dye to the well at the top of your screen

After the first pull you can see what the screen looks like. Because the soy wax does give a slightly raised surface in places on the underside of your screen you may need to experiment to see how many pulls you need before you get a clear overall print.

This is what the fabric looked like before washout. I did change the orientation of the screen in places.

All you need to do now is to wrap your fabric in a sheet of plastic to batch, preferably overnight.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that the fabric batching is not the one that I had been working on. I forgot to take a photo of that one. 

Another deconstructed printed  fabric, this time cotton, that was also part of a second run and rather wishy-washy.

What I like most about using dyes is the transparency that you get. Even before washout you can see the original design showing through and it's even more clear after washout. I did forget to take a photo of this one before I washed it out. I was also experimenting with different colours, basically using up thickened dye that I had left over from other things.

I'll show some more overprinting in the next post but I had the sudden thought that you might want to know how to clean the design from their screen, just in case you don't like it.

If you are intending to keep the design on the screen then just wash it out with cold water. However, if you want to get rid of the soy wax then wash it in very hot water. To save time you can iron off some of the wax before washing it. Place some baking parchment and a sheet of newspaper under the screen, another sheet of newspaper on top and then iron with a hot iron.

You can see from this next photo how much wax has already been absorbed by the newspaper. Less washing to do and I always prefer ironing to washing.

See you next time with some more printing and the washed out results.


  1. to get the wax out of my screens, I just pour boiling water from my electric kettle down the front of the screen...wax gone!

  2. I'd not tried it with just the hot water Beth so it's good to know that it works.

  3. Maggi, do you use the soy wax straight up or mix it with another wax?

  4. The soy wax is used on its own Janis.


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