Last year I started to experiment with screen printing on fabric. My first experiment was to practice the technique and find out if my equipment would be able to print fine lines. I used a stencil and this was the result: Between our move, a bad batch of photo emulsion, and avoiding chemicals during pregnancy, I have finally been able to expose my screen and make something useful! I have definitely learned some perseverance along the way, as well. Art takes practice.
It took me about 6 tries with the first batch of chemicals to figure out that something was wrong with them. Each time I coated the screen, waited overnight for it to dry, and exposed it to varying degrees of light. Each time, the chemicals washed out completely. Then I had to scrub it clean with solvent and start over. I’m sure I shed a few tears of frustration at times.
The first time with the new chemicals, none of the emulsion washed out and I ended up over-exposing it more than once. I tried sunlight and indoor light and nearly gave up. In the end my primitive and impulsive “run-outside-hold-up-to-the-sun-and guess-if-its-done” method was successful. Too bad it was completely unscientific and I may never be able to duplicate it!
Here’s the screen with the finished stencil:The screen printing kit comes with basic colors, but I wanted to use brown. I mixed relatively equal amounts of red, blue, and yellow to make a basic brown. (My chemistry major husband would be appalled at my eyeballed “equal” amounts…)I pre-washed all my fabric and ironed it before beginning. I used a canvas drop cloth on a dining table and was able to print about 1 yard of fabric at a time. I used a blank tea towel for practice and then started on the 6 yards of fabric that I plan to use for boy’s room curtains. I had so much fun seeing the results after a year of trial and error!And now that I have worked out many of the details, I’m excited to try some new designs…