Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

Screen printing


When I was working at the Seattle Rep a few years ago, one of my self taught projects was to learn how to screen print. I learned the basic process and ended up making t shirts for my prop team and also for all the other interns. Two Christmases ago, I bought myself a screen printing kit so that I could do it at home. It then took me another year to get the kit out and start a project.

I’m not going to give a detailed description of every step, just a general one. But, the kit I purchased came with a great video that describes the details and you can find many tutorials online if you are interested in learning more.

I started by trying to figure out what kind of image I wanted to make. In December, I came up with a fun idea. I would do some kind of wacky butterfly. So, at a craft night with the girls, I brought some paint and paper and tried to make butterfly images using the old Rorschach method. I put the paint on one side of the page, folded the paper in half to smoosh the paint on both sides, and opened it again to make a fun, mirrored image. Above is the butterfly image I liked best.So, then I took it home and put it underneath my screenprinting screen. And I slowly sketched out the lines of the butterfly with a pencil onto the screen. I tried to make sections and lines created by the different colors on the original.

Once that was done, I (painstakingly) filled in my new image with a blue substance called drawing liquid. With the drawing liquid, you cover all the areas that you want to show up when you do the screen print.

Once that was dry, I used my squeegee to cover the whole screen with screen filler (that’s the red stuff). The way it works is that the screen filler doesn’t stick to the drawing fluid. So, once the screen filler is dry, you can rinse out the drawing fluid.

and you get a screen like this!

Whew! That’s a lot of drawing and drying and such. After I finished my screen, I stopped working on this for a few weeks. I don’t know why. I did all the hard parts and not the fun part!

So, Sunday night I pulled it together and made some prints. The first one, I did on some nice thick paper with magenta acrylic ink.

The image turned out so well! I love the way that it looks. It is detailed and messy looking at the same time. It is a rugged butterfly.

Then I used the fabric ink to do a print on a tank top of mine. How cute is this!?Now that I’ve started with the screen printing and have actually created some prints, I’m excited about doing more! And, this means that I’m already on my way to accomplishing one of my goals for the year. New crafts, here I come!


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