I screen printed eight T-shirts yesterday, of which this is my favorite (click in for a closeup!):
Here is my next favorite:
And here are two others I liked:
This one did not come out quite as brightly as I had hoped, probably because my screen printing inks are semi-transparent – meaning the background is apt to show through.
The same thing happened here, but I love it anyway:
And these four are still in progress:
With this one, I intend to discharge the tiger using thickened bleach (more accurately, Cascade dishwashing gel with bleach – more controllable and less likely to bleed), then paint it with thickened dyes to give an orange tiger against a khaki-and-olive shirt. Â I think that should be really neat!
These two are white and need to be overpainted with thickened dyes to make them more interesting:
The cat with birds is probably the least successful print: the border is a bit blurry on the left side and the cat really doesn’t make sense – compositionally the copper color doesn’t work and who ever heard of a metallic copper cat? Â I am tempted to toss this one and remake it, this time with a black or dark brown kitty.
The cat-with-birds was a lot of fun to make, though – it involved six Thermofax screens: five small ones for the birds and cat, plus a larger Â one for the border. Â And I like the composition, so I will likely redo it.
And here is the last one, which also needs rework:
Here the semi-transparent inks are super obvious: the red dragon is barely visible as a dark maroon. Â However, this is probably salvageable. Â I’m going to discharge the shirt using either thiourea dioxide or bleach, then re-dye with a friendlier color. Â Maybe a flame-colored halo around the dragon? Â That would be really neat!
And, finally, I printed a pair of sweatpants – this was my first attempt at Thermofax printing and I just LOVE it, though technically it’s a disaster:
Here is a closeup of one motif (which looks a bit blurry; maybe I should have photographed a better one):
Thermofax printing, by the way, is TREMENDOUS fun, especially when compared to much more laborious silkscreening. Â Instead of having to laboriously apply emulsion to a screen, wait 24 hours for a screen to dry, then exposing and washing out the screen, you just take your design, sandwich it against the sheet of Thermofax screen, and run it through the Thermofax. Â Presto, you have a screen! Â It’s just a minute or two to mount the screen in the frame (which is far thinner and less clunky than a silkscreen frame), and then you can print right away. Â It is such a joy to use! Â I haven’t felt this empowered by a tool since I changed from a heavy hybrid bike to a lighter, more agile road bike.
(The only downside to a Thermofax machine is its high cost – “going rate” is about $1000 for a used one and $1500 for a new one – but after much searching, I found one on Craigslist dirt cheap. Â Woo hoo!)
And, as if that weren’t enough, on the quilting front I dyed 14 more fat quarters – shades of rust and orange as well as relatively solid blue, purple colors. Â The complete set of fat quarters looks like this:
They were tremendous fun to dye and I definitely plan on doing more, if only for the fun of it! Â I’m going to order at least 10 yards from Dharma this week with the intent of doing more “art cloth” next weekend.
And, Â finally, I got started on my foundation-pieced quilt block:
It looks rather garish right now but I think will settle down some once I introduce the blues and blue-purples. Â The construction looks OK, at least to me.
Karen asked about discharge. Â There are basically two ways of discharging fabric, cold and hot. Â Bleach can be used cold, but only works on cellulose fibers (it will destroy protein fibers). Â Thiourea dioxide (and I think one or two other chemicals) works on either, but requires heat and moisture to activate. Â Both require a respirator with acid gas cartridges, for safety. Â (Some people do work outdoors with a fan, but not me.) Â Bleach needs to be rinsed out and then dunked in a bleach-stopping chemical (the chemical name escapes me at the moment, but Dharma Trading Co sells it as Bleach-Stop) to prevent the bleach from eating the fabric; just rinsing it out isn’t enough. Â Thiourea dioxide either needs to be used in a pot on the stove (though I do this outdoors with an electric roaster/frying pan/camp stove, see previous notes about fumes) or applied as a paste and then ironed. Â Not all colors of dye will discharge and some colors shift when discharged, which is why I selected colors of MX fiber-reactive dye that will discharge gracefully.
I’ll write more about discharge when I actually do it, probably next weekend.
What’s next? Â Well, first I need more materials to work on. Â I plan to order another ten yards of fabric from Dharma this week, which should give me enough to experiment with next weekend. Â Second, I have homework from my quilting class, so I’ll spend at least a couple days this week practicing foundation piecing. Â Third, if I have time, I’ll practice draping muslins. Â Fourth is the book, which I plan to work on in the early mornings.
I haven’t yet figured out what to do with all this fabric I’m making, since I am not a quilter. Â I suspect I may make some quilter friend very happy, by donating to their stash!