Monday, June 18, 2012

Silk Screening

I was in a particularly artsy mood when I woke up this morning and was feeling inspired so I pulled out my silk screening supplies and looked around for something to play with. I had some plain white burp clothes and bips leftover from my baby shower and one white onsie so I decided these would be a great canvas to do something with. Silk screening is really easy and fun, I got in to it about two years ago but I just haven't had much creative energy lately so I haven't played with it in a while. Here are some step my step instructions with pictures in case you are interested in picking it up :-)

Willow is helping :-)
Above you'll see all my supplies laid out on the kitchen table. If you want to silk screen you'll need a screen, silk screening ink, a squeegee, some scrap cardboard and paper, a stencil of some kind and something to silk screen on of course!

 Here is one of the bibs I'm going to silk screen, putting in on some cardboard will protect the table.

 Here I have layered the stencil and the screen on top of the bib, it's important not to move anything once it's all lined up the way you want it.

 I use a palate knife to spread a little ink on top of the screen. I have a bunch of colors but I couldn't find most of them because my art supplies are in disarray,  they are all in the process of being moved out of the baby's room and in to the guest bedroom where I'm setting up my new studio space. I ended up using a shimmery black color because that seemed best suited to my design out of the colors I had.

 Spread the ink with the squeegee applying a fair amount of pressure. You want to spread the ink back in forth in multiple directions, pay careful attention to smaller areas on your stencil, you need to really work the ink down in those areas. I think it's helpful to practice on some scrap paper a few times if you're new to this. You also need a little more ink for a thicker fabric like the terry cloth bib I'm using here.

 Tadaa! The bib with the little logo I designed for Echo.

 Sometimes if I don't get a great result with my silk screen (here I didn't use quite enough ink) I will go back and touch up areas with a paintbrush using the same ink I printed with.

 Here are some of the designs I printed today. The Echo logo was the only new stencil I used, all the rest were things I had printed with in the past. The great thing about screen printing, or any kind of printmaking really, is that you can make multiple copies of the same design. I like being able to reuse my stencils again and again.
When you are all done makle sure to was your supplies really well, you can easily ruin your screen if you don't clean it thoroughly. I let my silkscreened items dry overnight and the set the ink with an iron. After that you should be able to wash them in the washing machine with no problems :-)

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