Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Invitation To A Screening

Pre-amble(or what we already know): When last we left this story, I was having a bad day that left me grumpy and edgy. I was prowling the house hoping to find an activity on which to focus so I wouldn't give in to the impulse to punch a wall, when I recalled my unused SpeedBall ScreenPrinting kit.

ACT ONE: The Beginning

Using the photo above as inspiration, I applied a "litho" special effect to create a black and white image, which I adjusted to print at 8x11" and printed the inspiration piece.

Following the directions, I placed this print underneath the framed blank screen, grabbed a soft lead drawing pencil (8B) and began tracing the print onto the screen.

Note to self and readers: Start with a simpler design like an andrinka symbol. I spent too much time tracing fine lines, then not being able to determine positive space from negative. Which lead to much obsessive behavior in attempts to clarify the picture. It could have been avoided.

I'm just saying.

This step was best done on a good light day (because of the detail) of which there have not been many. It took nearly a week to finish.

ACT TWO: Drawn Into The Act
After the image was traced onto the screen, the screen needed all the positive space (what she wanted to print) covered with drawing fluid.

Drawing fluid is a thin bright blue resist. I found it best to apply using stiff small paint brushes. (The 10/0 Loew Cornell FabSpotter, which previously has been considered worthless, was a fabulous way of adding fine lines). Most of the work was done with a liner brush and the larger areas filled with a flat.

While painting in the drawing fluid, occasionally lift your screen and check the coverage. If the blue image fades or disappears, re-apply some fluid to increase the coverage.

If you accidentally drip drawing fluid all over the screen, you can carefully remove it. Wet your brush with cold water and gently wash over the mistakes. A paper towel on the opposite side will help to soak up the thinned fluid and wick it away. Don't ask how I know this.. trust that I know it works.

When completed your image should be similar in appearance to the drawn and filled screen above. Set it aside (overnight) to dry, making sure that the screen material is not touching any surface. Use soup cans or thread cones or get creative.

ACT THREE: Fill 'er Up
When your drawn screen is thoroughly dried, it is time to find the second material used in this process: Screen Filler.

Screen filler is a Red-Oxide colored fluid that will fill the holes in the screen where you do not want printing to occur.

The directions suggested you stir it until it's smooth, but I simply shook her bottle a few times and it was ready.

Dribble a line of the fluid near one wooden edge of the screen, then with a smooth movement squeegee the fluid to the opposite edge. Try to only move over any area one time, as the screen filler may begin to degrade the drawing fluid.

Note that red line running down the center of this image? Remember it for later.

When the screen filler has completely filled the screen, again put it aside to dry making sure that nothing is touching the screen fabric.

ACT FOUR: Rinse and Rest
The end is near.

When your screen filler is thoroughly dried comes the moment of truth: rinsing the screen.

Take your dry screen to a sink and use COLD water to rinse the drawing fluid off the screen. Turn the screen to rinse from both sides and continue until none of the blue is visible.

Remember that thick line? Parts of it remained, but they were easily scrubbed off with the edge of a green kitchen scrub pad.

Return the screen again to your drying set up.

The Climax: Your First Pull

When your screen has thoroughly dried, you are ready to test your screen with it's first pull. I found a scrap of hand-dyed fabric, but you can choose whatever you wish. Even paper towel will do for testing purposes.

However, I couldn't find the Versa-Print Ink that came in my kit. Luckily, I know I can use a liquid acrylic paint or other thicker fabric paint in this situation. I chose to try a Liqui-Tex Purple.
The fabric is placed on a protected surface and the screen is positioned on top flat against the fabric.

A tablespoon or two of the paint is placed near the top of the screen. Using the squeegee, I pulled straight down to cover the image. I needed several pulls to make sure the image was completely covered, but didn't work it too much.

Remember to breathe.

Lift the screen off the fabric and enjoy the fruit of your labor!!


Remember if you use acrylic paint on fabric, it must cure for 2 days, then be heat set with an iron. After this step it is permanent. (ofcourse, if you make a mistake the paint will become instantly permanent!)

And when you're tired of using your image, you can wash the screen perfectly clean with HOT soapy water.

You can get screenprint kits from:
Michael's (use your 40% off coupon);
Dharma Trading (their own kit) or
Dick Blick.

And you can find the supplies at Artist And Craftsman Supply.

If you make a resist screen, please let me know. I'd love to highlight your work, or even better send you one of my t-shirts and wear a piece of your own design.

COMING NEXT: The Back Story

Tomorrow I will tell you story of why this tree is important to me. Some of you know it already, but it is a very good story.

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