Today I have been showing my son, Thom, how to screen print on fabric using paper stencils. We had a lot of fun and were thrilled with the results, although the stencil disintegrated faster than I would have liked. Fortunately I have the original design and a quantity of photocopies so that I will be able to print it again in different colours.
Thom spreads fabric ink onto the screen
The advantage of paper stencils is that you don't have to expose the screen and washing out is fairly simple. The disadvantage is that they can only be used for one run of prints then have to be thrown away. Also, it took me longer to cut the stencil than it did to print and clean up afterwards.
Thom pulls the squeegee whilst I hang onto the frame!
We mixed the pigment with a fabric medium to make a thick coat of colour. Permanent colour needs to be washed from the screen as soon as possible after printing has finished.
Screen before lifting up
Selection of prints
We practiced on cotton sheeting first before printing onto cotton poplin.
Our next task is to test the inks for colour fastness and then to start printing fabric squares for patchwork and quilting.