Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Soy Wax and Screen Printing, vilene interfacing

Today I'm going to look at creating a vilene interfacing screen design using soy wax. As far as I can see there are two real advantages to using this method. Firstly, if you like the design, then it will last for a long time and will not tie up one of your screen printing screens, especially if you don't have that many. Secondly, if like me, you like to overprint onto fabric that has already been dyed, you are only going to be printing the positive image rather than the negative one. Perhaps that is more easily explained with a photo I took of a piece of silk noil where I printed the left hand side with an ordinary soy wax screen (the negative) and the right hand side with an interfacing screen which was similar in design (the positive).


To create the design, first cut the interfacing to the size of your screen aperture, with a little overlap so that you can tape it. Using your melted soy wax and one, or more, of your mark making tools, add the wax to the interfacing. I simply used a paintbrush for this one, although I have stamped with simple shapes, like cardboard tubes, in the past. You will need to look carefully at the next photo to see the wax on the interfacing because it is almost the same colour. I tried to get in as close as possible so this is only part of the full design.


When the wax is dry, which doesn't take very long, lay out the interfacing onto a sheet of plastic and paint over the whole of the piece with emulsion paint, including painting over the wax. You will probably need to do at least two coats so make sure that each coat dries before painting the next one. Again, not easy to photograph as the only paint I had was white, I also took the photograph after only one coat so that it would still be possible to see the wax design through the emulsion. You could use any colour you have to hand as all the emulsion will be doing is to seal off the interfacing where there is no wax. 



You do need to be patient now to make sure that the paint is completely dry because the next step is to wash out the wax. To do this, simply wash the interfacing in hot water. Rub the areas of the design gently so that you don't tear the interfacing and you will find that the emulsion that was over the wax washes out easily and then the wax itself will wash away too. Unless you have hands that can stand extremely hot water then I suggest using gloves for this process. When all the wax is washed out, dry the interfacing and if, like mine, it's a bit crumpled, just iron it. This next photo is of the interfacing washed out and taped to the bottom of the screen. The design shows up really clearly now.


Print as normal onto your chosen fabric (soda soaked). This was a piece of silk that had been previously dyed.



And after washing out.


Once you've finished with the printing, remove the interfacing from the bottom of the screen and wash it out. Leave it to dry and then store it for later use.

This may seem like a rather long winded way of making a screen but, with the exception of creating a thermofax screen, I have found it one of the best ways to get a design onto fabric that would be difficult any other way.  I used a screen made this way to print onto this piece of cotton fabric.


And the same screen used on silk noil which was made up into a skirt. 



This particular screen was made a couple of years ago and has probably printed about 4 yards of fabric so far and is still very useable. Some of the emulsion has started to deteriorate recently but I think it's earned it's keep. You can see where some of the emulsion is coming off in this photo. No problem at the moment, just additional texture!


Next up on Friday, using acrylic paint to create a design on your interfacing.






17 comments:

  1. Wonderful prints Maggi. I have made these and find them really useful.

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  2. I was going to ask if acrylic paint could stand in for the emulsion - but I guess I simply have to wait for the next post. :)
    Diane

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  3. I suppose it could Diane although it would probably work out to be more expensive. You also need to heat set the acrylic paint which would melt the wax underneath. I'm not sure whether it would still retain the design in that case. I had wondered about it but as our emulsion paint is so cheap over here, decided it wasn't worth possibly wasting the acrylic.

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  4. We have water based paints here that work well for screens, and aren't too expensive. I have hand painted designs using them, and they hold up well through washouts. I am anxious to give this a try, and wonder if this technique wouldn't also work on regular screens?

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  5. Judy, my only concern would be that the paints might be difficult to remove from the screen later. However, if you have found them to be OK then it might work. Let me know if it does.

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  6. Maggi, I was thinking of just making them permanent, but I see what you are saying now. By using the interfacing, you can temporarily attach them to the back of a screen, then remove... duh! Finally got it!

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  7. Thanks for that Judy. This way you can have an almost permanent piece of interfacing without tying up a screen. I really do need to make myself some more screens as I don't have that many to work with!

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  8. makes a wonderful pattern!

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  9. That's the best technique I have seen in years!

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  10. This will be fun to try! I may have missed a previous explanation but how do I find vilene interfacing? I haven't heard of it (and SO many other things!).

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  11. Thanks so much for this Maggi,
    I have been reluctant to do much screen printing because it seems it is mostly about the negative image. The type of printing I would like to do is the positive so it can be used, as you did, for garments, etc.

    So, interfacing would solve that issue as well as the issue of not having numerous screens.

    By the way, in America the popular brand of interfacing is Pellon. The term is often used generically - and all interfacing can be called Pellon. (Like Scotch Tape in America or Sello tape in the UK)
    It might help for those searching for Vilene in America.
    Sandy in the UK

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  12. Maggi, thanks for this post! I will be giving it a try. And thanks, Snady. You answered my question.

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  13. I'm in the U.S. and understand that Vilene is also a generic name or brand of interfacing. Which Vilene would you recommend for this method? I have a comparison chart I can use to cross-reference to Pellon interfacings. Thanks.

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  14. Maggi, I have a question about the interfacing: does the vilene come in different weights? I tried this using a medium weight interfacing, and found that the paint would not come off easily, and by the time it did, it was pulling away from the design... maybe a feather weight would be better? Also, I ended up putting 2 coats of paint on top, and one on the bottom. Was that too much?

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  15. Judy, it needs to be light interfacing. On the piece that I have it has L11 printed at the bottom. I usually do two coats on the top. Three shouldn't be a problem but I suspect that the problem is that the interfacing you are using is too heavy. The paint should come away from the design fairly easily in hot water with gentle rubbing, which removes the wax at the same time.

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  16. L11 is a lightweight sew in interfacing here in the US.

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  17. Thanks for that Janis. It's always difficult working out the differences across the countries.

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