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