Monday, March 25, 2013

screen printing, part 2

After my attempts on Saturday, I decided to tackle photo emulsion.

I worked up a quick design based off the block print I did at QuiltCon. I manipulated it in Photoshop and created a repeat.

my design on paper

I printed the design on inkjet transparencies at home. I got great advice to layer two transparencies together to make the black areas more opaque. Making the artwork was originally very intimidating, but it ended up being easier than I thought.

There are tons of tutorials and videos and articles on the internet about exposing screens. I like this one from Lil Blue Boo (is there anything she CAN'T do?), but she used sunlight. It's not an option here in Alaskan winter. So I followed other recommendations from a lot of different sources to try to figure out an exposure solution.

The first two tries did not go well. The first time, I tried to expose the screen using a 150 watt bulb.

my first try with the 150 watt bulb

It did NOTHING. An hour and 15 minutes of time and all I had was a blank screen at the end! The second time, I tried Rob's old 250 watt halogen shop light. It didn't look like it did much either after the 30 minutes of burn time. Once I started washing out the screens to try again though, I did see the image! It was just washing away since the screens were underexposed. So I knew something was going on-- my light just wasn't strong enough.

In researching, I also learned that I had probably put too much emulsion on my screens the first time-- look up at that first exposure picture. See the streaks? Plus I had used a piece of cardboard to spread it. I paid careful attention to do a very thin layer the second time, using the squeegee in the kit, when I coated my screens. They dried much more evenly.

I should mention that throughout this entire process, I was posting pics on Instagram and receiving invaluable advice and encouragement from friends. It made my failures much less frustrating. One bit of advice I got was to try a 500 watt halogen shop light. Early this morning I braved our snowstorm and trekked to Lowe's to pick one up. 

  early morning shop light run

I busted out the UV glass, rigged it up in my sewing room and took a deep breath.

today's burn setup

My exposure time was only 13 minutes with this stronger light. Success!

screen success!

Up close

The rest of my morning has been spent trying to figure out the best methods for printing. I'm having promising, but mixed, results. More advice from Instagram led me to put more padding underneath my fabric, and I just might have to head out in the snow again to find a wider squeegee. Mine is 9" wide and I've got a 12" wide screen, so I have to do overlapping passes. 

First test print.
first 4 attempts
Some green

Learning this process has been so much fun! I've got a long way to go with figuring it all out, but I'm sure I'll get it right eventually. I hope you're having a great start to the week! As always, thanks for stopping by. 

12 comments:

Jenny said...

great progress Krista!

Jenny said...

It looks really cool even not quite perfect. Loving your persistence!

emedoodle said...

Your prints look great! Nice work! :)

Amber said...

Wow I'm so impressed! I'm inspired to give photo emulsion a go myself - at least I won't have any issues with sunlight down here in Australia!
Is that snowstorm photo taken during the day? Amazing to see what it's like where you live. :)

Blueberry Park said...

i'm pretty sure you will get it right sooner than eventually! Really love this designs Krista and think your prints are looking fantastic!

Lisa said...

Your fabric looks amazing - the black circles on the natural are speaking to me!!! You are very brave (and determined!!!) to travel in that snow storm - with fabulous results!!!

Franziska said...

how cool is that. Normally I like colour, but this time I like the darker ones more. Great pattern!

Dianne said...

I love the design you are working on. Thanks for showing your process

Zizophora said...

Oh that is so cool!! Suddenly I'm inspired to try this. And i LOVE the snowstorm-at-Lowe's photo!

jodydeschenes said...

super great pattern, so glad you are persevering!

sewkatiedid said...

These are so fun to look at. Wish I had that kinda creative bug.

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