Have you ever wondered how screen printing works? Or wanted to try it and wasn’t sure if it was for you? Well, we met up with the lovely Dena O’Brien, founder of Kiwi Print Studios, to learn more and create a how-to guide just for you.
You will need:
An apron, pegs, some scrap card, an eraser, newsprint (the same size as your screen), coloured acrylic paint(s), a cutting mat, cartridge paper, washi tape, masking tape, a pot of system 3 acrylic printing medium, a fine black pen, a craft knife, a pencil, string, spoons, a pot to mix your paint in, a squeegee and a screen for paper 90T mesh, screen print hinges and board (not essential).
- Draw your design onto cartridge paper. It can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.
- Place a sheet of newsprint over the top and trace your design. Make sure you trace your design in the middle of the newsprint. If you struggle to see your design through the newsprint, you can go over your original drawing with a fine black pen. This will make it easier to trace. You can also always keep them together so that they don’t move out of place.
- Remove your cartridge paper drawing from under the newsprint. Using a cutting mat and craft knife carefully cut your design out, following the lines that you have drawn on the newsprint. By the end, you will be able to peel the middle part of your design out which you do not use. You will be left with a positive stencil which is the outside of your design.
- Mix your coloured acrylic paints to create a colour of your choice. To test the colour is right, take a little bit of paint and smudge it on some scrap card. Once you have the colour that you want, add the acrylic medium. You will need one part acrylic paint to one part acrylic medium approx.
- Take your cartridge paper and place it into the middle of your hinge board. Add L shaped washi tape around the opposite corners of your cartridge paper on the board to help align your paper for printing. Carefully place and centre your stencil design onto the cartridge paper. If you have any loose cut stencils these can also be added to your design.
- Attach your screen into the hinges of your board or if you do not have hinges or a board you can use a flat table and have a nice friend hold your screen while you print. Lower the screen so it covers your stencil and make sure that it is centred under the screen.
- Put masking tape along the inside edges of the screen to make sure that ink doesn’t seep through the edges onto the paper. Add scoops of ink you previously mixed onto the inner top part of the screen in a line. Take your squeegee and place it at the top in the paint, then press and pull down to the bottom of the screen bringing the paint with you. Scoop the ink against the bottom of the frame using the squeegee. Repeat this printing motion three times.
- Now for the big reveal! Slowly lift your screen to reveal your print. Your newsprint stencil should have stuck to the underside of your screen and you can carefully peel away your cartridge paper print. Be sure not peel off your newsprint stencil though.
- If you have paint left over you can repeat this several times. Take some more cartridge paper, place under your screen and off you go again. Then you will have one for you and some to share with your friends and family.
- Once you have finished screen printing, it’s time to dry your prints. Tie a piece of string up along a wall in your house and peg them up. Alternatively, a washing line would work on a sunny day. Then leave your prints for a few hours to dry.
- Wash your screen and squeegee down with cold water in a sink, bath or even use a garden hose outside. Then dry it with a cloth.
- Once your prints are dry you can create a lovely display of your work around the house, share them with friends and family or even put it in a frame as a gift for that special someone.
If this has sparked an interest in screen printing and you would like to try it for yourself, Dena will be leading one-day workshops here at Bedruthan on 15th September and 7th October. These workshops are a perfect opportunity to ask any further questions that you have and to create your own range of prints to take home with you. They are suitable for ages 16 + years meaning they are a great idea for couples or groups of friends wanting to do something a little different together. To book contact our Create team on firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information click here.
Dena also offers workshops at her beautiful and professional printmaking studio situated in the heart of Cornwall. Enjoy a range of fun and developmental workshops and courses covering numerous print mediums. From half day workshops to 10-week extensive courses, there is a class for any age or skill level. For enquiries or to book an appointment, please email Dena and Ella at email@example.com or visit their website here.