Added on 12/09/2013
As a designer I am often asked whether I prefer designing for web or for print. For me, it’s an easy question as I feel far more engaged and excited by web design than print. However, I have always been really interested in screen printing. I think it has something to do with the more hands-on approach, as opposed to digital printing.
My first experience with screen printing came when I was really little - my dad had his own screen printing business and I remember watching him in his work shop for hours. So when I started my foundation course in Art and Design at college, I finally had the opportunity really get into it.
Since graduating, however, I hadn’t touched it at all. It was always on my list of things to do, but never seemed to make it to the top as I started work and life just took over. So when I came across a workshop for screen printing in Brighton, I decided it was finally time to get messy again!
The workshop was at “Super and Super”, a creative hub that hosts all kinds of creative loveliness, craft classes, co-working, desk spaces and networking events. The session cost £15 which included all the materials, a cushion cover and an unlimited supply of tea and biscuits (which was the main selling point for me really!)
The first step of the process was to design a stencil. I had been thinking about what to design for a couple of days as it always helps to have something in mind before you start, and I took some design books for extra inspiration. I decided on some basic flower and leaf shapes because when you’re making a stencil simple shapes are not only easier to cut out, bolder shapes look great when printed onto fabrics.
Once I had my design, I transferred the drawing onto tracing paper which was then stuck down on top of the brown paper which would become the stencil. Using a scalpel, I spent the next half hour cutting out the design (with a couple of biscuits in between to keep the energy going).
Once the stencil was ready I had to choose a colour. You can of course use more than one colour when screen printing but we only had time for one. I decided on a bright orange as I thought this would work really well with the shapes, and also with the colour scheme in the room I was going to put my cushion in.
The next step is the most exciting part; I laid my cushion onto a flat surface with the stencil on top. A piece of scrap paper was placed inside the cushion to soak up any extra ink and stop it going through to the other side. Once I was happy with the position of my stencil, the silk screen was laid over the top. A fair sized blob of ink was placed at the bottom of the screen which stretched the width of the cushion. Using the squeegee I dragged the ink from the bottom of the screen to the top, using a fair amount of pressure as I went. A lovely assistant then repeated the process from the bottom to the top whilst I held the screen in place.
Carefully lifting off the screen, the design was revealed, printed perfectly onto the cushion
Relief! I then hung up my cushion and left it to dry.
The process only consists of a few basic steps, and is very easy to replicate at home. At the workshop I remembered why I had loved screen printing so much at College, and I think my next step will be to create my own silk screens to use at home!
Super and Super have a great variety of workshops and classes, which you can see on their website - I would really recommend them to anybody who likes crafts and printing.