Screen Printing Fabric Yardage

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:  screen printing fabric with stencilBetween 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:photo emulsion screen stencilThe 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…)color mixing primary brownI 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!handprinted fabric yardageAnd now that I have worked out many of the details, I’m excited to try some new designs…handprinted tea towel

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3 Responses to Screen Printing Fabric Yardage

  1. Pingback: One Radiant Home » The Screen Printing Experiment

  2. Ashlen says:

    Beautiful! Sounds like a frustrating process to get it all right, but it looks great. I’ll have to do more research, I was planning on just taking a rubber stamp design and pressing ink to the fabric that way.

    • Sara says:

      I know other people have managed to get it right the first time. I think I was trying too hard.The stencil method worked well though for a small project. Also,if you are planning to stamp and want your colors to be nice and saturated, invest in the fabric ink for screen printing. Craft store fabric paint is definitely not the same.