31 July 2012

Mini Screen Printing

I saw this awesome tutorial on making mini-silk-screens, pinned it and decided I'd have a go with my 'drip' motif.  I followed it mostly through except that I used standard PVA glue instead of Mod Podge and changed a couple things.

The hoop I used was only about 4 inches diameter, so the finished project is only tiny compared to the t-shirt print in the tutorial I followed.

What I used to make the screen:
4" diameter embroidery hoop
old panty-hose
baking paper (better to use flat clear plastic next time or use a felt-tip to draw outline onto the panyt-hose)
PVA glue (in hind-sight, mod podge would probably do a better job but PVA is good enough if you're not worried about the screen not lasting forever)
fine paintbrush (that you don't mind using with glue)

What I used to do the printing:
fabric paint

I traced my motif onto a piece of paper over my computer screen - basically I couldn't be bothered setting up our printer and blah blah blah. I zoomed the image in until it was the size I wanted.

Next, I stretched a piece of pantyhose as much as I could - make it as tight as you can without breaking the hose.  The tighter the better.

I placed the image under the baking paper (or grease-proof paper) then fixed it all together around a small wooden board so it wouldn't move while I 'painted' the negative space around my motif - very important to do this.  Another option would be to trace the image onto the pantyhose, but in my case it was too detailed to do that.

  • It got a bit tricky and a couple times I had to go clean out the brush so it had a fine point on the tip again - the glue kept getting thicker and thicker.
  • The glue will dampen the baking paper and make it warp - don't worry.  Yes, it will stick to the paper too - don't worry.  When it's dry, it will flatten off and peel of perfectly.  I was worried I had totally ruined it, but it worked out in the end - I'm so glad I kept on going 'just in case it worked out' because it did work out (phewf!).
Here's another terrible photo, but a close-up so you can get a better idea of what I did.  You can see the baking paper behind it warping already.

After it had dried completely, I peeled off the baking paper to reveal my awesome mini-screen.  It looked great, but just to make sure it actually was great, I got the glue and paint brush and put a bit more around the edges of the fiddly bits and let it dry out again.

So after a couple of weeks of thinking/worrying about it and wondering if it was going to work, I finally had a go at using it on some fabric.

Yes, that is some of my laundry drying behind it.  And yes, that is my Bananas in Pyjamas pillowcase.

I used a sponge and dabbed that in the paint, made sure it wasn't too coated in paint, a bit more dabbing (on a plate), then finally dabbed it on the screen, over the fabric.

The first one was a total fail - you can see the very top right-hand drip (pic above) looks over-splodgy.  I obviously used way too much paint, the sponge was too wet with paint, I smushed it too much.
The second one was the opposite (after cleaning the screen out and drying before going again).  Not enough paint, too cautious.

The rest of them looked just right.  Big smile in my heart and big grin on my face saying, 'yea, I did that.'

This is going to be a couple of wheat-packs to put on my online shop: hollymay.felt.co.nz.  I have made a couple of sales in the last few weeks, and it's such the biggest compliment ever.  There are only a few things on it at the moment - but I've been deliberating about what to put on it and what to leave for the new craft market...


  1. OH MY GOSH!!! Holly that is AMAZING!!!!!!
    So clever!! I might have to go find myself some embroidery hoops and some plain fabric.

    I am so impressed! Can't wait to see what you will screen print next :)

    1. Thank you :) Do it! It's satisfaction-guaranteed.


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