Monday, May 31, 2010

Printing with an Embroidery Hooped Silk Screen

The embroidery hoop screen is now ready for printing.

For full instructions on how to create an embroidery hoop silk screening frame, applying a design to the screen, and masking a screen with house paint, refer to previous posts on May 26, 27, and 29, 2010.

Preprinting note: Prewash fabric that will be used for the printing. This will remove any sizing that the fabric has when it comes from the manufacturer. Do not use fabric softener. Iron the fabric smooth so that the printed images will appear crisp.


Embroidery hooped silk screen.
Padded board or other padded surface
Silk screen ink or fabric paint
Straight pins
Plastic spoon
Paper towels

1) Example of embroidery hoop that has been masked with latex indoor-outdoor house paint. (See previous section on how to mask a screen with house paint.)

2) Assemble screen printing materials. The items include: disposable tray on which to rest items that will accumulate ink in the printing process, plastic spoon to dispense paint onto the screen, squeege type spreading tools, and paper towels.

3) The screen printing ink used in this project is Speedball Opaque Screen Printing Ink. Other brands are acceptable to use, as is fabric paint.

4) Lay a padded board on a flat working surface. (The board shown here has been used many times and definitely shows it.)

5) Lay fabric that will receive the screen printing over the padded board. Pin straight pins around the entire work surface. It is important to stretch the fabric until it is taut. This prevents any wrinkling of the fabric when it is screen printed.

6) Place the embroidery hooped screen on the fabric.

7) Scoop a generous amount of screen printing ink from the jar. Apply the ink above the image to be screened and at other points on the screen to assure full ink coverage.

8) Lay the ink screening tool above the ink on a 45 degree angle and press down.

9) Press firmly while pulling the applicator down over the image to be printed. Check to assure that all areas have been covered. A second pull of the applicator over the image may be needed. With each pull, press firmly on the applicator. Do not move the screen or the image will blur.

10) DEALING WITH A MISTAKE: Since the frame extends substantially beyond the image example, printing the images closer together than the edge of the frame makes an overlap onto the previously printed image. If the ink from the first image is not dry, it will be picked up on the back side of the screen. It is essential to wipe off any ink on the reverse side of the screen before proceeding to the next pulled screening. In this case, I forgot one time to check the back of the screen for picked up ink. A slight ark shaped smudge appeared on the fabric. The illustration demonstrates how this error was added as a repeat design element.

11) Let the first printing dry. Then remove the pins that hold the fabric taught against the padded board. Reposition the fabric for another set of prints. Repeat Step 5 and pin the fabric onto the padded board.

12) Determine placement of the next printings by laying the original drawing on the area where the print will appear. Then position the screen over the drawing. Remove the paper and the screen will be ready to be inked and screened. This needs to be done because the masking of the screen is opaque, does not allow the previously printed images to be seen, and, therefore, the risk of overlapped images is great.

13) Final screen printed fabric.

14) Scrape ink that has accumulated on the screening tool back into the ink jar.

15) Heat set the images by placing a pressing cloth over the images and ironing with hot iron for 1 to 2 minutes.

The screen printing is now complete and ready to be incorporated into a project.


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