Sunday, November 24, 2013

Silk screen printing!

Pouch #27
Hand drawn with Sharpie's Stained Fabric Markers

I love using Sharpie's Stained Fabric Markers but they get blunt after a while and it becomes harder to draw fine lines. I also want to make more pouches and drawing would be really time consuming and not very practical. 

So. it is with such immense luck that The Man's friend brought over his entire silkscreen equipment to our house for storage and let us use it as much as we like. I was super excited about finally getting to experiment with silkscreen but nervous about the mess or destroying his equipment. Every time I entered the room all I could do was stare at the containers of dye, emulsion, emulsion remover, squeegee, three specially made screens and, get this, a laser printer and huge light box with 6 UV lightbulbs! All of which had hardly been used. 

Then one day I had enough of being such a chicken and announced to The Man - "Tonight's the night." And he knew I was talking about burning a screen :) 

For our first film, we used A4 paper and brushed it with oil. Apparently, that was how The Man did it in the good old days when he would stand out in the sun and count the time it took to burn a screen. He had no idea how long it would take now that we had more "professional" equipment. His friend couldn't remember either! :) To top it off we don't have a dark room and had to wait till night time to do any work which means we could hardly see what we were doing. Suffice to say, the first night was a complete disaster .

The second night was no better. Most of the tutorials I found online recommend ink-jet to print the film. Unfortunately, not one single shop here carries ink-jet transparency. So, we settled for laser print transparency, found a photocopying shop nearby that sold loose sheets and thought that since we were there we might as well photocopy our artwork onto them. Alas, we found out the hard way that as with all photocopying shops, they don't replenish their toner cartridges very often.

Finally, we used the laser printer and printed our own film but not before running into more technical problems which The Man managed to solve. By the third exhausting night of burning and washing overexposed or underexposed screens, I went to bed while The Man soldiered on to produce our first perfect screen and promptly printed our, or rather his first t-shirt. 

It has been tough but we figured out 
A) exposure time for the light box we were using = 1 min 30 seconds 
B) we have to use double layer of film per artwork to get a nice solid black that will block out light.

I wish I could say we were getting to be experts by the time we burnt my screen but we still ended up having to redo it a couple of times. 

After many days of learning, I present to you my first silk screened pouch...

Pouch #28
Silk screened and hand painted

We have yet to figure out how to silkscreen with two colours or more, so I had to hand paint the lady in red using my Pebeo Setacolor Fabric Paint.

I absolutely love silkscreen printing even if it makes me wanna tear my hair out!

More to come soon :)