I mentioned on Instagram that this project will be my favorite one if it'll work. Yes, it worked! And it's such a cool project. I didn't use any fancy supplies. I made my frame from scratch and used acrylic color and a credit card. You don't get the same results as professional screen printer get, but you will hold a piece of cool art in your hand that's definitely worth the time creating them. And it's a lot of fun.
There was a question on Instagram about what a screen print is. A very good question. When you google it, you get this answer which says it perfectly:
"force ink on to (a surface) through a prepared screen of fine material so as to create a picture or pattern"
I broke down the whole process in three parts (all in the same blog post).
Part one covers how you make your frame, in part two I talk about stencils and part three is about the actual screen printing.
PART ONE: MAKE YOUR FRAME
I'm sure there are pre-made frames to buy but I didn't found one so I made my own.
What you need:
- wooden strip. I bought a 2m strip and let it cut at the hardware store into 40cm pieces.
- staple gun
- 4 screws
- drill (not pictured) and two drill bits (a smaller one and one in the size of your screws)
- a fine mesh material. I bought the one that is used for curtains. You just have to make sure it's nylon and the holes are very small. Get the one with smallest holes you find.
Step one: Lay down your wood and screws like pictured above.
Step two: Mark the edges with numbers. We are going to make two different holes. A bigger hole on the right wood and a smaller hole on the left wood to make it easier to put that screw into the wood.
Step three: Take your ruler and pencil to mark the middle of the strip. Then use your bigger drill bit to drill four holes at the points you just marked.
optional: If you have that kind of drill bit that is pictured above use it. This way you have an even surface after you tighten the screw.
Step four: Take your smaller drill bit and drill the four holes at the inside of the wood (see step two). To find the right spot where to make your smaller holes, use a awl to go through the bigger hole and make a mark where the small hole has to be.
Step five: Add glue and then tighten your four screws.
If you don't want to make your own frame you could also use the wooden frame of a canvas. Just remove the canvas.
Step six: Take your mesh (which is a little bit bigger than the actual frame) and your staple gun. I also used some scrap pieces of cardboard under the parts where I added the staples. Stretch the mesh over your frame and staple it down. Make sure it's very tight. Then cut back the excess mesh and add glue all the way around.
And our frame is done.
PART TWO: MAKE YOUR STENCIL
I made stencils out of paper and out of thin plastic. The paper stencil didn't work very well. The image wasn't clear and there were also paint spots. I highly recommend using thin plastic. The one I used was a little bit thicker than normal page protectors. Plastic stencils can be used over and over again.
There are three different ways to make your stencil. (1) Use your silhouette (what I did), (2) use your Big Shot and (3) use a cutter to cut the template by hand.
The easiest way is to use your silhouette. This way you can create almost every stencil you want. With your Big Shot you can create some great stencils as well. When you don't have both of these you can also cut your stencil by hand. To create a pattern like the one on the left you can just cut it free handed. To cut a text, I recommend printing the text onto paper, adhere the plastic to the paper and trace the words with a pen. Then cut out the words with your cutter.
PART THREE: MAKE YOUR PRINTS
What you need:
- a towel and paper to cover the towel
- your frame
- an old credit card
- acrylic color
- painters tape or duct tape
- your stencils (in all the photos you see the paper stencils. They don't work very good, but you can see them better on the photos)
- paper, magazine pages or anything else where you want to add your print
Prepare your working surface: Lay down the towel and on top of it a few sheets of paper to protect the towel. If you don't care about paint on the towel, you can leave out the paper.
Step one: Attach your stencil to the front of your frame with painters tape. When you use words, make sure you attach them the right way which means that the words have to be back-to-front.
Step two: Turn your frame and lay it down. Now cover the area around the stencil with painters tape. When you use words you should now be able to read them correctly. (like here)
Step three: Add the paper where you want to add the print onto your prepared working surface (towel and paper)
Step four: On top comes the frame.
Step five: Apply enough acrylic paint to your screen. Make sure to use enough.
Step six and seven: Take your credit card and drag the paint across the image. Use a little bit of pressure, but not to much. Go over your stencil multiple times to cover the whole area.
Step eight: clean your screen. It's very important to clean your screen right after you used it. Because you use a nylon screen it's dry within seconds for another round of screen prints.
And you're done!
These are the results I got when I used the paper stencil. Like I said, these aren't clear and there are paint spots.
I got the best results with paper with a smooth surface. The white paper has a bit of a structured surface and you can see how the paint is flowing away a little bit. The magazine paper worked well as well because it has a smooth surface but the paper is very thin.
In the year I'm 27 I want to create 27 handmade items I've never done before. I want to experience new material and try new techniques. You can follow my progress here and read more about how this project came together here.