Monday, October 19, 2009

Silkscreens and Transparencies

A while back, in the middle of designing a quilt, I had a brainstorm - to use an image screened onto a transparent piece of plastic to lay over the quilt. This gave me a good feel as to how the image would work and where to place it. It was a great time saver and confidence booster; it is scary to screen an image onto a quilt because it's so permanent, no turning back kind of thing!
When I make a screen using my Thermofax, I finish the edge with duct tape, and print the image on the outside of a folder. I now take it one step further and make an image on plastic to use as a designing tool; this is stored in the folder also. It's a great time saver to have it already done and wonderful for the designing process.

I buy the plastic at a chain sewing store. It's on a roll and sold by the yard. I think it's 4mm weight but not positive. It's a nice weight to work with.
I lay it over a piece of fabric or part of the quilt itself to see how it'll work.
This is one of my favorite designs as I love the movement; I haven't used it yet.
Previewing it over fabric
This next fabric is too busy for the intricate nature of the design.
This is a feather I found on a morning walk which made into a wonderful screen.
And here it is over a piece of fabric.
This technique can also be used for stamping. Stamp the image on a piece of heavier plastic; lay it on top of your quilt for a preview. I love silk screening and stamping but always hold my breath waiting to see how the image works with the quilt; this takes the guesswork out of it.


  1. Thanks for this tip. Visualization is one of my weaknesses. I've used transparencies to test quilting lines since you can draw on them, but I hadn't thought about using the same concept for screenprints and stamps.

  2. Wonderful ideas, Judy! I just started screen printing and have plenty to learn. Are Thermofax machines newly available, or will we have to find an old model?

  3. I know you can get new Thermofaxes made in Germany but very tempermental as far as being able to move them have to remove the bulb etc. You'll do well going to Welch Products online and getting a reconditioned one which also carries a year warrenty. Also sometimes schools are getting rid of them...they used to be used to burn stencils for making copies (handouts) for students...but they're hard to find. They are pricey...start at $1,000 but if you're into screening, it's a nice tool to have. Judy