Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Silk Screen - Great Instructions found

A while back I experimented with using old, thick, white, fence paint to mask a silk screen that I made from a large embroidery hoop.  It worked out very well but I am running low on this thick paint that is not useable for anything else.  Moreover, the need to mask the projects in the garage and the drying time made this method of masking silk screens a bit laborious. Here is a picture of the screen I made using this method.

Picture of screened image on a T-shirt
Picture of screened image on a T-shirt

In order to screen the heart onto the figure I made a quick mask using a sheet of overlapping masking tape onto which I drew a heart and then cut it out with a craft knife.  Then I affixed that sheet of tape to the back of a small embroidery hooped screen.

Small screen for heart image

Close-up Of Second Screened Heart Image

 Since I had two more T-shirts to screen, I had to wash out the screen between printings so that the ink wouldn't set up and ruin the screen.  The washing process loosened the tape significantly and it was difficult to execute a clear print by the thrid screening.   

Today I set about searching the Internet for silk screen masks and found that Speedball carries rather reasonable products that mask and will clean out of the screen with soap and water when desired.  The ones that most interest me are the Speedball Screen Drawing Fluid and Speedball  Screen Filler.  First a design can be drawn onto the screen with a brush using Screen Drawing Fluid.  When that is dry, the Screen Filler is applied.  When the Screen Filler is completely dry, cold water washes out the Screen Drawing Fluid but leaves the Screen Filler and then the screen is masked and ready to use. 

Super!  I've ordered one bottle of each of these items and will write about their effectiveness when I use them.  These items are available on-line at various sites; however, I ordered mine from Dick Blick. 

I also found a tremendous site that gives detailed instructions on various silk screening techniques including step by step instructions on how to use the Drawing Fluid and the Screen filler.  If you're interested, check out:


  1. For the "simple" shapes you are using, you could try using contact paper to mask the screen.

  2. Thanks for the great suggestion, Kay. I've used contact paper in the past with some degree of success. Just received the drawing and masking fluid from Dick Blick and can't wait to try it out. I'm hoping that this will facilitate more complex designs.