February 24, 2012

Creative Friday: Creating your own prints

I have been screen printing for a few years now. I used to use stencils to print, but I now mostly use the emulsion method. I still use stencils from time to time so here is a tutorial where I share some of my printing tips.
Fickle Sense personalised screen printed totes


materials + stencilling tips
X water proof paper If you want to use your stencil again, find some water proof paper. Go to your local art shop or design materials store and ask for water proof transperant paper. Drafting film and other transperant papers look similar to the water proof versions, so make sure that it is water proof. I have made that mistake before. It just means that the stencil will curl out of shape.

X scalpel there are numerous types of scalpels that you can use. If you intend on making a few stencils then perhaps invest in one that has interchangable blades. Check out the link to see what type of scalpels you can purchase. I have a good scalpel with a packet of interchangable blades on hand. A cutting mat is also a useful tool to have. If you don't have one, don't stress. I used to cut on top of a stack of junk mail:)

X textile paints I have used numerous textile paints. Without a doubt my favourite is Permaset. It is an Australian brand. I used to use it in Aus as it was the most common one.... but after coming to Europe and finding some other brands, I now realise how good permaset is. It is a screen printing paint so it is more thick compared to general textile paints. It is water soluable and environmentally friendly. I use it for the fickle sense products. But you can just go to your local art store and get the textile paint that they have. Here is a list of paints that I have previously used with some success. Just make sure that the paints are not too runny. Here are a few textile paint brands that I have tried. Permaset; Speedball( both for screen printing & painting); Javana Textil; Schjerning.  

Printing on dark fabrics
If you are using a dark fabric and you want a lighter print... make sure that you get a paint which can print on dark fabrics. Most manufactuers will state whether a paint can be printed on dark fabric. Permaset have named their dark fabric paint Super cover. In general, these paints will be more expensive compared to the regular paints. Keep in mind that there are some exciting textile paints out there. I love using metallics and they even have glow in the dark paints!

Stencilling mistakes
One thing which I find frustrating about stencilling is that it is quite easy to make mistakes. Pressing down the stencil whilst dabbing/rolling the paint on the textile can assist in minimising paint bleed. I also try not to  reuse the stencil too many times without washing it. If I think that there is a possibility that the paint has made it's way to the underside of the stencil, I go and wash the stencil straight away. You don't want to ruin all of you hard work.

You need: A paint brush or a small sponge or small roller; scalpel; ruler; water proof paper (or for one time use, you can use normal paper... just becareful as it soaks up the paint); an iron; textile paint; the textile; keep a sponge and some water close by.
Trace the stripes from your fabric onto your transperant paper with a pencil. Decide where you want to place the little squares and draw them in.

2. Use your scalpel to cut out your squares. Use a ruler (plastic or metal only) if you want to make sure that it is perfectly straight.

 3. VERY IMPORTANT. Make sure that you iron the fabric flat. No creases allowed! Next with a dabbing action paint over the desired areas. Make sure that you hold the stencil in place with you fingers to minimise the possibility of the stencil moving whilst dabbing.

4. Continue to apply colour to the desired squares. And presto! Your own unique textile.

If you want to add more colour, wash out your stencil. Wait for it to dry and apply the alternative colour.... and of course make sure that the blue paint has dried!


  1. this is so cute, I might try it myself once

  2. such an interesting post!
    i screen print myself, just uploaded some pictures
    would love if you could have a peek and give me some feed back?


  3. I think it is so cute, would like to take the pictures.