Hello and welcome back to part 2 of silk screen printing. In part 1 I showed you how to create your own DIY silk screen to keep your costs to a minimum – you can find that post HERE if you missed it!
Just a little tip for you, when you wash your screen don’t forget about it. When I was washing mine, I left it in a little water whilst I did something else. However, I completely forget about it and when I realised 6 hours later the frame was wet through and had warped. At least it hardly cost me anything to make so I can easily replace it – lesson learnt!
Today’s post looks at how you can use your silk screen with a vinyl stencil, and I have trialed out different mediums to see which gives the best print!
How to silk screen print with Vinyl:
- Silhouette Cameo and Mat, or any other electronic cutting machine that can cut vinyl.
- Adhesive vinyl
- Transfer tape
- Vinyl squeegee
- Silk screen
- Large squeegee – I used a car window screen squeegee.
- Masking tape
First of all you need to design your stencil. I went for a simple hello stencil for the purpose of this post. I did change the font for the other paints tried later on, only because I came back to it a week or so later to continue with it. By that time I couldn’t remember the font I had used and had forgot to save the file in the first place!
Once you are happy with your design, you should add cut box encompassing you design. Make sure you provide plenty of negative space as this will protect your fabric underneath and surrounding your design when you apply the paint. Apply your vinyl to the mat and cut your design out. To ensure this works as a stencil, you need to weed out the positive part of the stencil – the word, so you are left with the negative still attached to the backing.
Cover the stencil with transfer tape and burnish with your vinyl squeegee. Make sure you get the ‘inners’ of any letters as these need to be transferred too!
Place your stencil over your silk screen, making sure that it is positioned straight otherwise you could line your stencil up wonky when your come to print.
If you find you have some areas with little negative space surrounding it, as you can above by the flourishes on the end letters, you can apply masking tape to increase the screened area. This will prevent any paint seeping through to your fabric when you apply it.
Apply a line of paint along the top of your stencil with a spatula and use your large squeegee to push and drag the paint down over your stencil. Make sure you screen is firmly pressed down onto your fabric and you get a nice smooth drag. You may need to drag the paint back up over the stencil if some areas are not covered completely.
Dylon Fabric paint
As I was initially trying to do this without spending too much money, this meant I also tried to save money on paints. The first paint I tried out was a basic fabric paint. Nowhere on the bottle did it state it had a purpose for screen printing. However, as these pots were £2 a go I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to try them out. Well as you can see from the image above, I achieved a pretty poor print. The finished print shows a large amount of bleeding around the edges with no crisp lines to the word.
When I decided to try other paints, I came to the conclusion that this paint didn’t work very well because it was very runny in nature. It is possible the runny nature of the paint could lead to bleeding at the edges of the stencil if you cannot get a good seal between the screen and fabric.
Verdict: Dylon fabric paint is not good for screen printing on its own.
Aladine Izink 3D Texture Paste
Whilst I was out in France I found this paint in a beautiful arts and crafts shop. However, you can order it from Amazon and costs around ~£7 for 75ml if you can’t make it to France. Though, I think I got it cheaper when I was in France – it is a french product after all!
You can use this paste on a variety of mediums, from paper and textiles to wood and metal. When I first opened up the container I noticed straight away that it had a much thicker consistency compared to Dylon. When I printed with it, it coated the stencil well and hardly needed any dragging back and forth to get a good coverage. As you can see from the image above, this paint gave crisp lines with no bleeds.
Verdict: Great print achieved, more expensive than other paints and not as easy to source other than on Amazon.
Speedball Screen Printing Ink
I got this ink at my local art store, and it is quite a common paint when your search for fabric screen printing paints. It cost me around £5 for 120ml which works out more economical compared to the previous paint. This paint was runnier than the Aladine paint, but still held its shape reasonably well on the spatula. It wasn’t too difficult to get a good even coverage, and once the screen was removed only a slight about of bleeding was seen. Still a reasonably good crisp print.
Verdict: Prints well and reasonably priced. Many shops stock it so easy to buy.
System 3 Textile medium screen printing ink and acrylic paint
The bottle of medium cost £9 for 250ml, but you do have to mix this with paint which increases the cost. This paint has to be mixed with normal acrylic paint with a ratio of 1:1. Being able to mix this with acrylic paints gives you the flexibility of creating any colour your would like rather than having to stick to pre-made colours. I was trying to make a maroon colour, I was mixing a pink with black. However, I over did it with the black ink, making it very dark.
When I came to print with it I got quite a good coverage but on first impressions it was not a good outcome when I removed the screen. There appeared to be alot of bleeding and no crisps lines, and I was getting a clear wet outline to the print. As you can see, it has dried somewhat different to this. I have managed to get fairly crisp lines, but the pigment of the pink paint has clearly bled. I have a ‘halo’ around my word! Now I have to admit, I haven’t use the best quality of acrylic paints, so this may differ with other brands.
Verdict: Worse print out of the lot, unless I am looking for a faint blurred outline than this would work!
System 3 Textile medium screen printing ink and dylon paint
I wanted to see what would happen if I mixed some of the dylon paint with System 3’s medium. Straight away I noticed there was no initial visible bleed, but I didn’t get a great coverage of paint. I think this was more to do with me being a bit sparring with the paint. If I wanted too, I could always touch this up by hand. I got quite a could crisp print – the ‘e’ has no inner as I lost it when I was printing!
Verdict: Need to ensure plenty of paint to get a good coverage, no bleeding with nice crisp lines.
The best paint for crisp clean lines has to be hands down the Aladine paint. It gives such a bold print and the consistency of the paint reduces the likelihood of bleeding. However, this is also the most expensive and is not easy too find. The next paint I recommend is the Speedball paint – this is widely used so it is easy to source. If you want more flexibility in colouring, perhaps try System 3 paint with Dylon. You might just want to use more paint than me! I hope this post has been useful and you have a go at screen printing too!
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