Screen Printing for messy people..........
I am a messy worker. There is no doubt about it. I like to be clean, tidy and organized, but somehow I always end up in a mess and it drives me crazy. But I know it - and if I plan ahead to control my messiness, everything turns out to be so much easier!
So, here is what you need to do.....
First - get your screen.
I use a 2 different types of screen, depending on where I am:
Old-school metal framed screens with an image burned into the screen. They can be created in any size you wish up to A1 size and can be re-used when you are finished with the image on the screen. I get mine from National Screen & Digital Supplies in Montague Gardens, CapeTown. Amanda and Leanne in the office there are so friendly and patient - I have learned so much from them. For these screens you need a posi transparency of the image you want to put on to the screen. It is a bit of a fussy process, but if you are able to create a 'posi' printed in CMYK you can have a screen made with exceptionally fine detail. John atCastle Graphics in Northgate Estate, Brooklyn does mine.
A more straightforward method is to have a Thermofax screen made. If you are lucky enough to own an old thermofax machine you already know what I am talking about and doubtlessly know exactly how to screen print without making a mess! If you did not win the Thermofax machine lottery then like me, you will need to order them. In the UK I order mine from Claire Higgott at http://www.thermofaxprinting.co.uk. I have always had great service and the screens arrive after just a few days. The great thing about these screens is that you just need to post or e-mail Claire a black and white line drawing and she creates the screen for you. No messing about with 'posis'. The screens are lighter than the metal screens and are easy to use. The downside is that the detail is not as clean or crisp as with the old-school screens. You win some, you lose some.
Next... once you have your screen, the rest is plain sailing!
The following pictures are from a screen printing session I did this week to make some labels for a new quilt.
Once you have your equipment ready you need to prepare your fabric. Make sure it is ironed and not too large. If you are putting more than one print onto the fabric remember that if the screen goes onto wet ink you will need to clean it before you put it down onto the fabric again. If not you will transfer that ink onto the fabric next time. More opportunity for mess here!
Now put your glove(s) on. This is where it can start to get messy !
So, as you can see - not so difficult. Being organized and having everything set up really helps. As does having a big pile of damp and dry cloths and some newspaper to lay the prints on as you work.
As it is a bit of work to set up I usually print lots of prints in one go. So long as the ink does not dry on the screen you can keep going for ages. If you want to use several screens in one session have a bucket of water to plunge the screens into Just don't let the ink dry on the screen - or else it will be useless in future. The ink will dry in those little holes in the mesh and that will be that.
If you do have a go, I would love to hear from you and hear if you have any further tips!
Happy screen printing!
see my quilts in these magazines
Festival Of Quilts
Sew On The Go