Monday, 22 October 2012

Stencil screenprinting tutorial

harlequin
I'm in love with geometrics at the moment, I love the way basic shapes can make a myriad of different patterns. I've also been wanting to play a bit more with stencil screenprinting after my simple experiments a couple of months ago. It's a fun quick way to get a design onto fabric and ever since then I've been dreaming up patterns which take into account my basic papercutting skills but also print in two colours, another first for me. In the end I came up with this wonderful colourful Harlequin design, easy to cut and, even better, where I can use a single stencil for both colours.

I'm really happy with the results. I'll be playing with this one some more I think. I've got ideas for other colour matches. I think it would look great as a graphic pencil case or tea towel, or maybe a tote bag.

I thought you might be interested in the simple steps of how I got from my initial design (above) to finished print (below) so I took some photos along the way. I hope you enjoy my simple tutorial for Stencil Screenprinting.

stencil print

1. Once I had my design I drew it up in illustrator and printed it out to size. I used a light box (use a window as a simple alternative if you don't have a lightbox) and traced the design onto my Ezicut film. Ezicut is available at art shops and is a thin plasticised paper/film which is a bit tougher than paper and doesn't distort when wet.

stencil print

2. The straight lines proved nice and simple and it didn't take long to cut out each of the triangles. I used a small Stanley knife, a ruler and a cutting mat. The dark triangles you can see are the print out behind the cutouts.

stencil print


3. Note I've spaced them slightly apart to give me some film between printing spaces to give it some strength. Also you can see I'm only cutting one half of the design as it will be printed in two colours.

stencil print

4. My stencil filled most of the screen so I didn't bother covering the other parts. You might want to attach paper or extra ezicut to block out unused areas. Once you have your first pull the ink will stick the stencil to the screen and keep it in position. I put some sticky tape on mine to hold it in position at the start.

stencil print

5. Print your panels, sorry no printing photos as its a bit hard to hold a camera mid print! As each panel is printed hang them carefully up to dry.

stencil print

6. When you have printed all of them wash the first colour gently from screen and stencil. I use only waterbased inks such as Permaset and Aquatex which are eco friendly and quick to wash out.

stencil print

7. Dry the panels, screen, stencil and squeegee and set up for the next colour.

stencil print

8. To align the second colour I used a trick I've seen online. I taped a sheet of mylar film to hinge along one side and printed my second colour directly onto it.

stencil print

9. Then I positioned each fabric panel below, aligning the second colour with the first. As each one was positioned I flipped the film to one side and printed. As you can see my second colour isn't exact, but I like it that way. You could spend more time aligning them but I like the handmade effect it gives the final prints. Dry the panels and heat set the designs.

stencil print

All in all I was really happy with my day of printing. I'm inspired to try some different colourways and maybe play with scale. I found I also love this first colour print all on its own. I like the simplicity and it reminds me of bunting twirling in the wind!

stencil print

Good luck stencil screenprinting! I'd love to see what you come up with. I'm happy to answer questions in the comments and would love to hear your suggestions for other Harlequin colour combinations!

Show & Tell is around tomorrow. Come back to meet Miss October and admire her lovely work.

7 comments :

  1. I love it...I must dig out my gear and have another go at screenprinting. I always forget how much i enjoy it until i do it again ...and I love that single colour print.

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  2. Great tutorial! I use transperancy film to line my printing up too... so much easier than registering! Love the harlequin design and the one colour bunting is gorgeous too! :)

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  3. Great pattern Susie and a fabulous tutorial too!
    Love the graphic design - just stunning :) Kx

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  4. Oh great post Susie! Love this design, particularly the fact that they don't line up perfectly. Thanks for the tips too. I'll have to give that film a try for sure. : ) Alisa x

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  5. Oh, you make it look so easy! I just cannot get the hang of screen printing. Great design, too!

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  6. I love seeing artists' processes (great tutorial too!), and I LOVE your colour combinations - they're wonderful! Looking forward to seeing more of your Harlequin design.
    (apologies if I’ve posted this comment twice – on the first attempt Blogger told me there was “an error”...)

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