Monday, 26 June 2017

Deconstructed Screen Printing

Lately I have been trying out deconstructed screen printing (also known as breakdown printing), teaching myself as I go along with advice from YouTube. Deconstructed screen printing is different from ordinary screen printing because you leave the dye to dry on the screen before gradually reactivating it again. Warning - this is seriously messy!

My kids did a little woodwork for me to make some screens. You just need a wooden frame with some kind of mesh stretched across it and an area taped up to act as a well for the ink.

You need a squeegee available from the DIY store, and a soft surface to print onto. I used my yoga mat covered with plastic.

I used Procion fabric dye powders which are mixed with water and Manutex dye thickener.

Dye Thickener

I collected various items to make some textures in the dye including, stencils, glue gun shapes, fabric scraps, bubble wrap and leaves.

1st lay out some textured items on some scrap paper under the screen.

Next scrape some thickened dye across the screen and over the items.

Lift up the screen and remove the items and then place the screen somewhere warm to dry. Beware it might drip so put some plastic underneath.

The ink will be textured with the various items.

Once the screens are totally dry you'll need to mix up some more dye thickener. If you want your prints to be washable on fabric then you'll need to add some soda ash.

The dry screen is laid over your fabric and plain or coloured thickener is scraped over the screen. Areas thick with dye will act a a resist, open areas without dye will let the colour through. The wet thickener gradually breaks down the dried dye releasing it onto the fabric a little more with each new print. You should be able to get several prints from each screen and they will alter slightly each time as the dye breaks down.

You can try this on fabric or paper. The results are fairly unpredictable which is part of the fun. Once the fabric is dry you can iron it to set the colour and then wash it to remove extra dye thickener.

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