Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ink, Print, Moo, Repeat: CreativeBug's Screen Printing for Beginners

Four or five years ago Kevin and I bought a Speedball screen printing kit to experiment with. Kevin made a few shirts, including these shirts for Team Battery Brewing, but I pretty much just helped because I found the whole process kind of intimidating... a lot of setup and A LOT of clean up.

But as I was browsing CreativeBug's classes I saw this class for beginners, taught by Hilary Williams, that used tracing paper stencils as opposed to blocking fluid. So I figured that it was more my speed. I have to admit though, it still felt like a lot of work. Man, this makes me sound super lazy...

Boo tracing paper!
Basically, you cut out a stencil in tracing paper, tape it to the back of the screen and pull your prints. But, I learned pretty quickly that the tracing paper was a no go. It wouldn't lay flat and the edges bled a lot (see left). So I upgraded to Contact paper, which was a significant improvement, but I still had to practice quite a bit to get the right amount of ink and the right technique.

My biggest struggle was positioning the paper... Our screen is kind of stained from previous projects so it was basically impossible to see the CLEAR Contact paper stencil in order to "register" the paper... which ultimately led to some guesswork/slightly off-centered noses. I didn't take any pictures of the actual printing process because I can't multi-task. The other thing that made this difficult for me was just the waiting around for my screen to dry in between attempts. I think people who do this a lot probably have multiple screens and a lot more patience than me.

Yay Contact paper!

Overall though, I think Hilary gave some awesome tips about screen printing in general. She did a great job of balancing simple instructions without making it too basic/boring if that makes sense. It was easy, but still engaging. I watched the videos ahead of time and then basically remembered the steps as I went so there was no pausing, backing up, pausing, replaying, to figure out what I was supposed to do. This is HUGE in my book.

And even though my noses were kind of crooked, I was pretty pleased with the results. I think this cow will look very cute in a certain cow/farm themed room we're working on ;o) And even though I had a couple of times (grrr tracing paper) where I was ready to throw in the towel, I'm glad I stuck it out. TBD on how soon I'll dive into it again, but definitely a fun first try. Christmas cards maybe?

Definitely another great CreativeBug class! What next? Embroidery perhaps?

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