Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tea Bags and Checkerboards - Surface Design Surprise

I'm still cleaning brushes and tools on fabric instead of paper towel.  Glory, glory, another tree is saved and the results are great fun.  Just wish that I had been doing this before. 

The first layer of blues, yellows and golds came from cleaning brushes that I used in a bird painting for a challenge quilt that I have been developing.

The second layer emerged by using screen printing ink that remained on tools that I was using for another project.  I grabbed a foam checker board stamp and somewhat randomly stamped over the first layer

After enjoying an afternoon glass of iced tea, I opened the tea bag, cleaned out the tea leaves, rinsed it and laid it flat to dry.  Just couldn't leave well enough alone.  Some apples were almost over ripe and instead of throwing them into the compost bin, I cut one in half and made a print on the tea bag.  After it was completely dry and heat set with an iron, I used matte gel medium to make it a part of the fabric.

Enough is still not least I don't think it is.  We shall see what does or does not develop from here.  I suppose it will depend on what colors will need to be cleaned off of tools from the next project.

It is great fun seeing what develops when there is no plan or preconceived idea.  Onward!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Throw That Paint Away

Instead of using miles of paper towels to clean fabric painting and screening supplies, try developing the habit of cleaning tools on a swath of fabric.  The picture below shows a rather fun design that is developing from cleaning a credit card that I used in a couple of screen printing projects.  It was then overstamped with an apple print.  It will be fun to see when enough is enough.  Then it will be time to pull out another piece of fabric and start a new surface design adventure.

Print with an Apple

My first printing experiment with fruit from the produce department was with an orange and now I've tried an apple.  The orange prints are being worked into a quilted work and will appear here when it is completed, but, for now, here is the apple print.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Masking a Silk Screen with Beeswax

This morning I was wondering if melted beeswax would work as a silk screen mask or if the wax would merely melt the screening fabric.  Although several projects are laid out on my work table waiting to be finished, the idea of using a beeswax mask kept haunting me until I hauled out an embroidery hoop that already had a screen in it.  Still, I figured I had best put this idea on the back burner until at least some quilting work had been addressed.  I'm afraid that didn't work.  Out came the electric heating plate and the pan of beeswax.  By this time it was difficult waiting for the wax to melt.

The following pictures show the steps to a successful printing with the use of a silk screen masked with beeswax.

Set the electric plate on low to melt the beeswax slowly. 

The beeswax is melted.

Tools Used
These are the only tools I used.  One is a natural bristle brush that will be dedicated hereafter to wax use only.  Other, non natural brushes will melt with the heat of the wax.  The second is an inexpensive tjanting tool that is specifically fashioned for batik wax application.

A paper plate was used to catch any drips between the melting pan and the silk screen

Melted wax with heated tools.  Heating the tools keeps the wax from cooling and hardening too rapidly.

The screened embroidery hoop is laid face down on newspaper and wax was applied to the back side of the screen.  If the wax had been applied to the front side, it would have seeped through to the newspaper and the screen would have adhered to the paper.

After the wax had cooled and hardened the hoop was turned over.

This is the back side of the screen to which the wax was applied.  The natural bristle brush was used to mask in a rectangular frame for the design, to apply the intersecting grid lines, and to put big dots in the middle of each grid square.  The tjanting  tool was used to make the wavy diagnonal lines and to add small dots.

Commercial fabric that approximated a hand dyed fabric was used as a ground

A faux credit card and a spreading tool were both used to pull the printing ink through the screen, but the wax that came through to the top side of the screen created an extremely bumpy surface that made full coverage difficult.

In order to assure that ink was successfully applied through the screen to the fabric, a brush was used on the screen.

This is what the screen looked like after ink application with a brush.  (See the big bumps of wax?)

This is the final screen printed image.

It dawned on me that the wax that had emerged on the top screening part of the silk screen could be picked off to produce a smoother top screening surface.*

After the globs of wax were picked off, I was able to successfully use a faux credit card as an ink pulling tool.

This is this is the screened image that the modified screen produced.

And here is a panel of screen prints from the wax masked silk screen.

CLEAN THE SCREEN WITH COLD WATER IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRINTING IS COMPLETE.   The use of hot water will soften the wax and the design can be lost.

A wax masked screen can be used over and over again.  Something convenient about using an embroidery hoop as a screen frame is that screens can be removed and set aside for future use and new screens can be inserted for different projects.  Since the image in this project had a waxed border and ink didn't need to be pulled to the edges, I didn't even need to tape the hoop edge to make a well.

*There is only one disclaimer to be offered here. I only needed to pick off the big globs of wax from the front of the screen. The thin tjanting lines didn't need to have wax picked off. Some lines were so delicate that a few came off of the back.