Saturday, November 19, 2011

Screen Printing with Window Screening Material

Using Window Screening Material to Make a Screen Printing Tool
Background:  After constructing wooden framed screens to cover vent holes on one of my houses, a small rectangular piece of screening remained.  It lay on my kitchen counter for days before I figured that it could be used someway in an art project.  Today a light bulb went off and it seemed like a perfect little piece to experiment with making a screen printing tool with readily available materials.  Here is how it progressed.
I'll start with the completed screen and work backward.
The project began with a piece of 2 ¾” x 9 ¾” screening material.  At first I zigzag stitched a narrow border of self adhesive metallic material around the edge to give the screen stability. 

Then I stuck a few pieces of Scotch™ tape to what became the back side of the screen. These would act as resists when ink was pulled across the screen. After one pull of silk screen ink, I could see that it needed a wider border to reduce the risk of extra ink going over the edges onto fabric and to increase stability.

I used wide aluminum tape on the front and then turned the piece over and applied the same  tape over the sticky side of the tape on the front. A screen printing tool emerged. 

I had a piece of fabric that already had some “smooshed” color on it, so I figured this would be a good piece on which to audition the effectiveness of the new tool.This close-up photograph shows the result of two ink screenings. 

The purple print was done with only a narrow metallic tape border.  Because stability was compromised, the image edges are not crisp.  The yellow print was done with the wider metallic tape border and the edges are very crisp and clear.  The screen grid is visible on both and provides additional visual interest.
Now I want to make a larger screen printing tool for which I will use a wooden frame and staple the window screening material to the frame, similar to the way in which silk screen is attached to a wooden frame. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adopted Practice Piece

A couple of days ago my neighbor brought a visitor to my studio to look at some of the things I've been working on.  During the course of their looking around and talking with me about processes, the visitor's eye fell on a small practice quilt sandwich that lay beside my sewing machine.  She couldn't stop talking about it so I thought if she liked it that much, she could have it.  After all, I'd just been practicing some ideas for free motion quilting.  I'd even tried using bobbin thread in one area and it didn't work, so I used that opportunity to free motion scribble words around it to remind me not to try this on the large work that was in progress.  She said she didn't sew and asked me if I could put a backing on it so that she could use it as a small pillow cover.  The next morning I made a backing with buttonholes and buttons and, ta-da, here it is.
It never fails to astonish me when something like this makes such a hit.  What a great reminder it is to step back sometimes to gain perspective.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Sticky Backed Craft Foam Stamps

It would seem that there are limitless possibilities when it comes to creating stamps from sticky backed craft foam.  Here are a few more that I've made recently.  I can visualize them being used as background images and also images to punctuate a theme.  Often I will stick two layers of uncut foam together to make a thicker stamp and then cut through the two layers. If any ink or paint finds its way to the mounting surface, it will be less apt to print when pressure is applied during the stamping process.

Here is an experiment with making a hand shaped stamp.

Here is yet another stamp.  This one was made with the kind of foam that can be heated and pressed into (or onto) another form.  The great part of using this foam is that it can be reheated to lose the image and reused for another image.  This particular stamp was made by pressing the heated foam into a copper food mold.

The ouside of the copper mold was used in this image.

This stamp came from pressing the heated foam into the inside of the copper mold.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Craft Foam Stamps

A few days ago I was cutting some random shapes from sticky back art foam to create an overall design for use in background printing on fabric and came up with this stamp.
Oooo, I liked it and couldn't leave well enough alone so I sorted through my original silk screens and found this bird that I thought might look good superimposed on a print with these wavy lines.

I merely wanted to see what my idea would look like so I set about pulling out of my stash the first piece of pre-cut fabric hat I laid my hands on.  Since red Speedball screen printing ink lay on the worktable, I used it to make the first print of the wavy lines. 

Ooops!  I got a smudge of the red ink below the lines.  Time to get creative.  A couple of pieces of cardstock were right at hand and I covered the smudges with stenciled red lines and then echoed those lines at the top. 

 Mmmm.  I did like the way it looked and had a hard time waiting for the print to completely dry.  After it was dry and heat set, I laid the embroidery hooped screen on top of the wavy lines and pulled white Speedball printing ink across it.  Yes!  I liked that, too. 

Still, I couldn't leave well enough alone.  Dharma Trading Company had just delivered a bottle of Setacolor Silver Glitter Finish.  After the white Speedball ink was dry and heat set, the bird form received a coating with the paintbrush of the glitter finish. 

Then came the completely spontaneous act of quilting of the top design atop batting and another fabric that heretofore had not found a proper use. This was good but the design needed to be set off somehow.  Out came the glass beads and the handwork began, bead by bead and, hoorah!  A 15" x 15" finished piece.

Here is a closeup of the quilting, the stamping and the beading.

...and the backing...

A few more stamps were created that day, but they will be posted at a later date.  Until then, I must get this listed on Etsy.