One of my Christmas presents was an at home screen printing kit, and I thought I'd share my experiences of it with you. The kit I used was the Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit (photo below in case you're interested in tracking one down).
The instructions seemed a little complicated after a few glasses of fizz on Christmas day but were much easier to understand when I sat down with them last week! There are four methods of preparing your screen - paper stencils, screen filler (just painted on to the areas you wish to block), drawing fluid/screen filler (which I went for) or photographic emulsion method (which was more along the lines of the method we used on my course, but was rather time consuming and needed additional equipment).
I utilised some of the artwork I prepared on my course a few weeks ago (although the screen I have here is much smaller). Step 1 was to trace the design onto the screen using pencil:
Step 2 involved painting the areas I wanted to print with drawing fluid (rather runny and took quite a long time to dry - I put the screen in the airing cupboard to speed this up):
Step 3 - spreading a layer of screen filler over the drawing fluid design. I wasn't sure how much to use and, of course, ended up using too much:
Step 4 - cleaning off the drawing fluid and screen filler once completely dry. As I'd used too much screen filler this was painful (literally - did this over the bath and my back didn't thank me for it). Some areas were completely blocked. The squeegee supplied with the kit is too narrow to pass over the screen in one go so I ended up with a line. I'm planning to buy a larger one for my prints.
The cleaned screen:
Masked and ready to go, you'll see I've added some tipp-ex to tidy up some of the areas where I was unable to remove all of the screen filler:
Here is the very first print, which I'm actually not that displeased with:
I just need to make a couple of tweaks - need a larger squeegee as I'm going to end up with too much ink in the centre of the image and not enough on the edges; need to find a method of pinning the fabric down when I don't really have the space (and have to bear in mind that it's a really messy process); also probably need a second pair of hands to help - as the screen's frame is wooden it's very light weight and therefore hard to hold down when you're doing it by yourself.
I am really pleased with the kit and I think I'll be able to get some good images once I've played with it a bit. By using this method to prepare the screen, I think I'll also get a lot of prints out of it.
A photo of the kit is below in case you'd like to get one. Their website is www.speedballart.com.