Sketch to Screen Print Tutorial: Part 3

The last part of this tutorial is finally about the screen-printing! I find this part to be the most satisfying since the one drawing is made into an over-all pattern and then is printed all at once in screen-printing. Step 1: Like the first part stated, we print out the flower pattern developed on Adobe Illustrator on an 8.5″x14″ piece of paper. This paper is then taped to the back of the already stretched screen (which will be a tutorial for another day) and then traced with a soft pencil. Too sharp and the pencil will rip through the material, too hard and the lines won’t show up. IMG_3945 Step 2: The paper is then removed, and the pencil lines are filled in with what is called “drawing fluid” or “masking fluid”. This is a water soluble, blue liquid also made by Speedball (and other companies, I’m sure) that creates a resist for anything you DO want to print on your screen. It’s a bit hard to think about in this way, but what helps me is to remember that this blue liquid DOES dissolve in water once dried, and what is called the “screen filler” does NOT dissolve in water. Here’s a picture of the finished flowers, waiting to dry before the screen filler is applied. IMG_3948 Step 3: I wish I had a step-by-step for how to apply the screen filler, but since this isn’t a tutorial blog just a “Here’s what we make!” blog I’ll just show an after shot of the screen before it’s ready to print. The screen filler is poured in a 1″ bead along the long side of the screen from the back side. I have a squeegee that’s about the same width as the screen so I pull the liquid over the whole screen so that all space not covered by the blue masking fluid is covered. Let this dry completely before you move on to the next step. Step 4: The blue drawing fluid is then rinsed from the screen with water after everything is dry, so all spaces that you drew on are completely clear. The red screen filler blocks all other holes, allowing screen printing ink to flow only through the drawn shapes. (Excuse the messy screen: I promise this doesn’t affect your final print!” IMG_0320 Step 5: Our screen-printing table top tutorial  should give you a good idea for how the fabric is stabilized before we print on it. Fabric is laid out flat and pinned down with T-pins on this foam table-top before the finished screen is placed on top and ink is applied. We push the ink through with the same squeegee used to apply the screen filler at a 45° angle, and below are the finished results! It’s certainly not as easy as it sounds, but from start to finish the goal is to keep the integrity of the original flower as much as possible. In the second image, the blue flowers we stamped on in part 2 of the tutorial are shown below the screen print. I expected the beige paint to be a bit more transparent, so I think we’ll try stamping after screen printing the fabric. Hopefully this can be done with the first fabric pictured! (though I do like the simplicity of it as it is)

To wrap up- here’s our original drawing next to the final print

That’s all! That’s one of the processes we’ll be doing pretty consistently, so now you can have an idea of what all went into the finished fabric pieces when we post them here. Any sketch, doodle, swish of paint, or part of a larger drawing could be used for a print- we’re inspired by everything!