Recently, I finally got around to ordering some things from Thermofax Screens with some birthday money given to me for this purpose and I’ve been having a bit of a play. I was inspired by some posts Marilla Walker put on her blog a while ago.
I thought quite a bit about what to order, I wanted something fairly versatile with many possibilities but without buying everything possible. In the end I went for a starter ink set to give me a range of colours to use and mix (although I did linger long over their metallic inks), plus 2 of their medium screens and a small one of my own design and the relevant sized squeegees (I had to top up with my own money to achieve all this). I thought hard about screen designs and tried to pick ones that would work more than one way,for instance as a single print or a border or an all over print.
My first play was with the ammonite screen which I just used the black for and I had a play on an old pillowcase. I was using far too much ink (and partly the pillowcase was quite thin) so they’re a bit stiff and lots of ink seeped through to my drop cloth (which goes down underneath to soak up excess and protect your table). Also, I was doing the grid freehand and it got decidedly wobbly. However I deemed the result good enough to make into another made into a another reusable wrapping bag. The neater side is show above!
Next I played with my leaf screen which I chose because it would work with a variety of colours. I had a good play with mixing colours and mixing with the extender base and improved my technique so there was much less ink going through to the drop cloth behind. The kids also joined in at one point and I love the effect they developed of printing a different coloured leaf almost on top of another but slightly offset (see the green over yellow leave about a third of the way up in the middle of the picture above). This fabric is also destined to be bags (yes, I am obsessed, but it’s kind of appropriate as in England we have finally caught up with the rest of the UK and a plastic bag tax has finally been introduced, meaning most of the time you have to pay at least 5p for a carrier bag in a shop).
Last night I had a play again on some darker fabric, jersey this time. The prints with extender base didn’t work so well on this fabric fairly predictably – you can see one half way up nearly at the right of the picture I think – it looks dark green but was printed with golden yellow, they kind of came out more shadowey if that makes sense. Instead I mixed my colours with white which meant that they showed up better, but my planned reds and oranges went decidedly pink on me! They actually turned out really nice, but not how I imagined and more feminine than I’d panned. For contrast, the right is some prints done on plain paper with left over ink after I’d finished printing (brown by this stage, I started with yellow leaves, then orange, red, green and finally brown as I was feeling lazy and didn’t wash and dry the screen in between). It’s really hard to tell which leaves on the left were printed with the same ink as the colours show up so differently, but I assure you, some of them are.
The resulting print is definitely much more subtle than when printing on the white fabric! Anyway, coincidentally I’d cut my scrap fabric just the right size to make a buff, so hubby has cycled off to work with autumn leaves under his helmet this morning.
I’m having a lot of fun with this printing kit although I’m slightly worried that my sewing hobby is morphing into something larger with even more things to stash (and store tidily!) and an even longer mental project list. Any one else struggle to keep their hobby down to size?