Screen Printing 1 – Breakdown Printing

I did several types of screen printing last week so I’m going to post pictures on successive days.  First is breakdown printing.

This is what I did on the first day with the following screens:

screen with dye and various objects pressed into it

With this one I pressed various textural objects into it – a polystyrene plate which I had marked into a grid pattern with a pen, some corrugated cardboard, some plastic mesh.  I laid the objects underneath the screen, squeegeed thickened dye through, removed the plate which had already transferred its texture and left it to dry till the next day, when I removed the remaining objects. 

These are the resulting fabrics:

fabric printed with above screen

I painted the top left image with some blue dye afterwards.  With a couple of them, I also used an acetate footprint shape as a resist or a stamp as I was looking for footprint shapes for my TIF challenge piece (and have certainly got plenty now!).

detail of above photo

Here is a detail. 

The next screen has bubble wrap and the aforementioned acetate shape pressed into the dye.

screen with bubble wrap

This is the fabric which resulted:


blue-green fabric with footprint shape

The next one has rubber bands stuck into the dye:

screen with rubber bands

And the fabric:

rubber band screened fabric

And the last is my big screen on which I pressed wisteria leaves and an acetate sheet cut into the shape of a wisteria branch.  I actually traced this from a branch pressed against our bedroom window one morning.  (sorry for the blurry photo but it is the only one I have).

screen with leaves

This is some of the fabric. 

green fabric

I screened a gocco screen of a letter on to another piece (it is a bit blurry because the previous layer was wet … but I quite like it like that).

green fabric with text

Ironically, it was the fabric I showed last week which I like best!  This was the dropcloth between the print board and the ‘proper’ fabric and wasn’t treated with soda ash, although some probably came through with the print paste, and to be safe I sprayed it afterwards with some spray soda which I found in the local pharmacy.

green leafy fabric

Finally for this section, this is a piece which I screened at the end using the acetate leaf shape as a resist (it is overdyed on to some blue fabric).

wisteria fabric

7 Replies to “Screen Printing 1 – Breakdown Printing”

  1. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for sharing your photos. I have found that the Gorilla tape is far better (bit more expensive but seems to be worth it) than duct tape, clear or otherwise (I also found the clear tape weaker) and more waterproof. I’ve been using Kerr Grabowski’s deconstructed approach, where you place the “texture items” beneath the screen (I work over plexi sheets), sqeegee colored dye over to saturate, and dry. I use a hairdryer (NOT a heat gun) to speed it up. Sometimes I have to use the dryer on the back side after I remove the items to thoroughly dry the dye before releasing with either clear or colored paste. So, my question is, with the breakdown method, are you laying the screen on the fabric to be printed or a resist surface (like the plexi), applying colored dye and laying texture items on top, then gradually releasing? I’m trying to figure out what the difference is. I can already see that the top down method allows for thicker items. Yes, I know about the book, but I’ve already spent far too much on books just this year! Thanks again for the photos of your work.

  2. Hi Liz, I love the results of your screenprinting. They’re all unique and very attractive. It looks like an exciting method. I suppose you’re never quite sure what you’re going to end up with. Screenprinting is something I’ve always been interested in trying and gocco too.

  3. I love the results from the rubber bands – something to do with the simplicity and repetition of the shapes. Thinking of your TIF theme, it looks a little like gloopy mud!

  4. There is something quite magical about the screen printing-you must have been delighted by these. I love the one with the letter on it. Can’t wait to see what you do with them now.

  5. these are very exciting – I like the first one (or six rather) and the last two especially. I have the breakdown printing book from committed to cloth but haven’t yet tried it. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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