Sunday, April 14, 2019

Fiber Junkies - Using an Interfacing for Screenprinting

 Our Fiber Junkies meeting was held last Thursday at Susan's home. It's always such fun to get together and see what each has been up to. Denny as always has something to share. She made lots of tops last year and this year is determined to quilt all of them. Here is a beauty she just finished....
and another.....

Gen has been working with paper for her very colorful journals....experimenting with different paints, inks and pens.
 Susan showed us a quilt she was working on inspired by an old building in Asheville. I knew the building she meant as I have the same set of pictures....above is a picture of the building.
 She had fabric printed at Spoonflower and pieced it into a quilt...Spoonflower does a wonderful job printing on fabric.
The borders are stenciled with material used at construction sites for laying tiles. I have the same kind of grid which I love to use on fabric. I'm so anxious to see it's going to be wonderful and so interesting.
Off to the studio for a day of experimenting with silkscreening using an interfacing. A medium weight non-fusible interfacing was recommended in Jane Dunnewold's book - Improvisational Screenprinting". Not as easy as you would think to find many are fusibles these days but I did finally find it at JoAnn Fabrics.
The concept behind this technique was to paint an image on the interfacing using a strong, non-water soluble paint - any color. Some of us were even using interior house paint. The image when dry would serve as a resist. I tried 2 different paints - one didn't work as it dissolved very quickly. The other which was successful was Speedball Screenprinting ink for fabric. It's very thick, takes a while to dry and is impervious to liquid.
After the image is painted on the interfacing and allowed to dry, it is taped on the BACK of a blank silk screen. The interfacing should be a little smaller than the screen itself.
Choose 2 - 3 dyes (which have been thickened) and starting with the lightest, run the dye on the front of the screen....keep doing this until the interfacing which is taped on the back appears to be saturated. Having a newspaper underneath for this step is a big help.

On the left is the starting of the saturation process; on the right, after several swipes of dye paint, the interfacing is finally saturated. You can see how the image has served as a resist.
Your fabric which has been treated with soda ash and allowed to dry is ready for screening. I used a piece of deconstructive screen printed fabric I didn't like but light enough (in color) for this technique.
Lay the screen right side up (remember the interfacing is still taped on the bottom side) and using the second and subsequently darker value of color, screen onto the fabric. I started with "mustard" and then added "marine blue"
Move the screen around overlapping the previous image; you can be using the first color or second at this point. ...My colors didn't seem to mesh as well as I thought but in the final wash, they looked good.

Kate was using an interesting screen and some greens and blues.

 Denny was using a spiderweb for her first set of prints, yellow being the first and lightest color, followed by green.

Gen was experimenting with the 3 primary colors as suggested in the book.
Sue already finished her first print.
Denny is working on her second set of prints. She used a blue paint for the design to be used as a resist. Where you see the white area (lower left), the paint is fully in tact and working as a resist (the fabric being printed is white). In the prints following, the blue paint is starting to break down and  transferring to the fabric. It's not as as solid a resist as it seemed, but the results are great.
What was so fascinating about this technique was the many factors that determined the outcome of the piece - the weight of the interfacing and the type of paint used really made a difference. I love the results above even though there is some breakdown of the resist. Denny is a master at color; I always love everything she does.
Here is another one I tried with the # symbol painted on the interfacing. I used Tempera paint and you can see how it is breaking down as I go along.
And the whole time, sweet Sadie, keeping us company while also keeping watch over our treasures lay drying on the floor.

So my pieces have been batched, washed and ironed and even though I only did 3 pieces, I'm happy with them...something that doesn't often happen.

I will be definitely trying this technique again...great fun


  1. Dang, I’m so sorry I had to miss this meeting….thank you for the great tutorial!!

  2. I love the screen printing work you are all doing. I just donated all of my screen printing frames to Habitat a few weeks ago. Darn.