Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Bad Day to Dye...

 I have always wanted to play with screen printing and thickened dyes.  But I didn't have any screens.

But this month, on the ...Fire blog, Beth posted a wonderful tutorial on deconstructed screen printing.  And one of the rules is that we have to try each month's technique.  So I put my DH to work making frames for my screens.

Of course, he wanted to be fancy and make them with hinges (?!) and stuff, but I told him that I wanted them now.  Not later.  So skip the fancy stuff.
 And he complied.  He made two very nice frames and I attached the screen mesh and taped them up.  We had time to make only two, but next weekend, we'll have to make some more.

 I wrapped my portable ironing board in plastic (BTW, Beth's wonderful tutorial is here) and put down a catch cloth, then arranged a bunch of "stuff" on top.  I placed the screen on top of the "stuff" and added the thickened dyes.
 This is a photo of the second screen.  Gorgeous, no?  For some reason I didn't get a pic of the first one.  It was gorgeous as well.  I let them dry overnight (no, I didn't really sleep much... but I had some snow dyes going as well).
 This morning, I got up and got my stuff out of the fridge so it could come up to room temp.  I ran some errands, then got ready to print!

And made a mess.  The snow dyes were so awful, I can't bear to show them (one is happily sitting in a bath of blue dye as I type.  I'm not sure what to do with the other).  My lovely dyed silk screens turned to mud on the fabric.  Bleah!  This is the print from the first screen.

 So I got out some of the rubber bands that I save from the asparagus for shibori-dyeing and put them on the drop cloth, placed the screen on top and put on some more thickened dye.  I set both screens in front of a fan and took my coffee into another room to sulk.

After the screens were dry, I got out the print paste and thinned some with hot water.

I put the fabric on the soft surface and tried again.

And it worked!   I got lovely prints from my new screens!

Apparently my paste was too thick and couldn't push the dye through onto the fabric!  I am happy-dancing all over the place.  They're not perfect and I have to wait for them to batch to see what they're going to finish as, but they're much better.  So I supposed I won't be sleeping much tonight either.  And if I seem a little distracted at work tomorrow....well...