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Today my friend Margaret and I set up our workshop in her garage and played around with screen printing fabric. Such fun to try a new technique, to play with color, and spend time with a good friend catching up.

Yesterday, I purchased some old wooden frames from the grocery store, found the staple gun and duck tape in the garage, and assembled three screens.

Then to screen print, I cut out images on paper. Here, I chose a simple bird silhouette.

I put the paint at the top of the screen (see the blue line?), and then pull down across the “stencil” with a scraper. The paint will cover the part of the design where there is no paper. Sweet!

Here, I used some of my hand dyed fabric, and am screen printing a brown tree.

After letting the brown trees dry, and cleaning off my screen, I went over with a second pass of gold trees. Wow! Doesn’t the gold just pull the whole piece together? This might be my favorite piece of the day.

So that was screen printing with paper. Then we tried screen printing with soy wax. It is kind of like batik, but different. I drew a design on the screen with soy wax, like you would with batik, but instead of putting the design on the fabric, you put it on the screen.

This was interesting, because here I learned and realized that I painted what I wanted the screen to be, I didn’t paint a “stencil.” Basically I got my positive and negative confused. It required a bit more paint, but I actually like the results on how it came out. Very different!

At first, I wondered why I wasn’t just doing traditional batik. But the thing is, this allows me to use the same screen many times to repeat the same pattern on the fabric, without having to redraw the design by hand each time. If I was trying to print many yards of fabric, this would be much faster. So I did!

I need to let these fabrics dry for 24 hours, heat set with the iron, then lightly wash and rinse. Then I’ll be ready to sew.

Next time I want to try using dyes instead of paints. Off to Dharma to purchase some sodium alginate!

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