I’ve been doing a lot of block printing on fabric lately but got inspired to take out my silk screens for a change. Instead of going through the whole process of preparing and burning a screen, I decided to go for an simpler method – paper stencil screen printing. It’s an easy way to get started with screen printing and is fairly quick as well. The paper you use will actually adhere to the printing mesh so you can print the same design several times like in the actual screen printing method, but once you’re done with your print run (or you notice the quality of the printing result decrease), you’ll have to discard the stencil.
Use a piece of paper that’s about the size of your screen – if the paper is smaller you will have to cover exposed areas of the screen between the stencil and the frame with masking tape to avoid ink from coming through the mesh where you don’t want it. I use a paper that’s glossy on one side and matte on the other (similar to freezer paper). Begin with drawing your design on the paper and cut it out with an exacto knife.
Have some fun while you’re at it. ; )
When you’re done with cutting, place the stencil on the fabric (glossy side down) on the spot where you want your print to be. Place the screen on top of the stencil and apply ink on top of the screen above the design (I use the same ink as I did in this post). Holding the frame firmly, drag the squeegee down the screen with pressure, forcing the ink through the holes in your design. Then push the ink in the other direction up the screen again. Once in both directions is usually enough, but depending on your design and the pressure you apply to the squeegee you might have to go up and down a couple of times. The first time you do this, the ink makes the paper stick to the mesh and you can continue with printing. Always do a test print first.
When you’re done with printing or the ink starts to dry in the screen, clean the screen on both sides with water and a soft sponge for example.
I like how this feather print turned out – I will show you later what I did with it. : ) Luckily I cut out two stencils at the same time so I could use it later as well – that’s a big tip for you if you think you will want to use your design several times, as it saves a lot of time. Oh, and if you’re wondering – you can buy silk screens, squeegees and fabric ink in most craft shops, in Brussels for example Schleiper has them.
Have fun experimenting! : )