Screen printing – the preparation

I have been busy taping screens with duct tape ready for some screenprinting.  I love screenprinting, but it takes so much preparation.  I haven’t done any for ages because I only had the one screen but now I’ve bought three more, smaller, ones, and I also have the Gocco screen I’ve made (and plan to make some more of those soon).    But you do have to think ahead.

Here’s my list:

  • Order more dye.  I realised yesterday that I didn’t have much left.
  • Soak fabric in soda ash and try and dry it.  Try.  Without it dripping over everyone, preferably outside.  Except that it never seems to stop raining.  Maybe I should try this in the summer?
  • Finish taping screens.
  • Make print paste.  This needs to set overnight so I can’t do it on the day.
  • Prepare screens with thickened dye paste and whatever else I’m using to make a screen using the breakdown printing method.  Leave this overnight to dry.
  • Look up some possible background patterns and other designs to use.  Prepare more screens or stuff to use as resists or patterns.  Interfacing method as in Jane Dunnewold’s book. Etc.
  • Finally print!!!

I’ve probably forgotten something but that should take me at least a week!

Here are the screens halfway through being taped.  I had a rest and wrote this blog entry and now I’m going to finish them.

screens being taped

7 Replies to “Screen printing – the preparation”

  1. I dream of having a space for messy wet work…it would be ON all the time with all types of endeavors…screenprinting being one of them. Have fun…oh, you can use freezer paper under the screen also or contact paper.

  2. You hit the heart of my hang-up with paints. While I admit, some painting takes less prep than what you are doing here, I still find I have to spend a lot of time getting ready, and a lot of time cleaning up (I have to do it in my kitchen). I don’t see it as a spontaneous process, as some fabric painters apparently do. And that blank canvas usually makes me freeze up! I do better starting with something and adding to it, not starting totally from scratch.

  3. more – if you are doing deconstructed screen printing (aka breakdown) – you do NOT need to soak your fabric in soda ash. When you make your print paste, make half with plain water and the other half with soda ash water. Or divide the plain soda ash in half and dissolve 1 Tablespoon soda ash in a bit of hot water and add it to 1 pint of the plain print paste. Use this to deconstruct the screen.

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