Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to make a Silkscreen {A DIY Project; Drawing Technique NOT Photo Emulsion Technique}

I really wanted to utilize my silk screen knowledge to make shirts for my midwife and her assistants.  Not so much becuase I wanted them to look like staff or anything, but because I thought it would be clever if I could get them a gift to remember my birth but also if they wear it to another birth it would still be funny,  I designed these in Illustrator and printed on regular paper.  

Here's what you'll need:
Silk Screen {you can make your own if you have a wood frame, and "silk" available at most craft and art stores}.
Screen Filler {I use speedball brand, but I'm sure you can find other brands online if desired}
Sharpie or permanent marker
Shirts to print on
Fabric Silk Screening Ink
Packing Tape 
Small and Large Paint Brushes

Print out the image you wish to draw.  Black and White only, NO GRAY.

Place print out UNDER silk screen as pictured and begin tracing the image.
Once complete with tracing remove and recycle print out, you won't need it again.
From the other side it will look backwards or a mirror image.
Next you'll need the screen filer and small paint brush
Using the small brush fill in all the tiny details, leave the area you want to print untouched.
Make sure after the first layer of screen filler, you go back in and fill in any holes you see when held up to the light.
After 2 or 3 coats of screen filler you should have a complete screen.
Using a larger brush fill in the larger areas.
This is what my screen looked like once I was complete with the screen filler.
Then, I used packing tape to tape around all of the edges so there was no space for the ink to leak through the edges.
Above is the ink after squeegeed onto the screen onto the shirt.

ALWAYS test the first print onto paper, so you don't waste a shirt.
If you missed any holes, ink may escape onto the fabric, you'll want to waste paper not a shirt.
Clean and fill in any holes and allow to dry then retest. 

Once all holes are completely filled you're free to print!  

Happy Silk Screening!

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