Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Easy-peasy screen printing activity

 Today, I had arranged for our Region to go to The Hyde Collection, a gem of a museum.  We toured the special exhibition, The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol, as well as a selection of work by Winslow Homer.  Most of his drawings were traced from an overhead projector, which sparked some interesting conversation about the nature of art.  This has been on my mind lately, due to some wonderful lines in a book I've been reading. (But I'll save that for another post.  This post is about screen printing.)
But anyhoo - no photos were allowed in the gallery, so I can't share the exhibit with you (though we were allowed to pose with Andy).  After our tour of the exhibit, we went to the art room for a screen printing activity.  I had no idea what to expect, and doubted it would be something that would work well with kids.  I was WRONG.  It was easy!
 We started by cutting a quickie stencil on freezer paper. (Is that what it's called?  I'm drawing a blank.)  It's waxy on one side.  We didn't pre-draw at all.  We cut with stencil knives, scissors and hole punches. 
 Hmm, I don't recall this step of the process (below) being demonstrated to us...
Then our stencils were ironed, waxy side down, onto a piece of thin fabric (not real silk, I'm sure...  just polyester). We spent a little time at lunch afterward discussing a number of alternatives to the iron, such spray glue, or making the stencil from sticky contact paper.  I'll have to try it out.  Here's a museum educator ironing someone's stencil. 
We put our fabric with the attached stencil into an embroidery hoop, so that the stencil side was inside the hoop and the fabric was underneath, if that makes sense.  Below is my stencil, ready to use.  You can see how thin and light the fabric is. 
Then we put small dabs of thick acrylic paint onto our stencil.  
Look at this paint!  Isn't it enticing?
We  squeegeed our design (using scraps of cardboard as squeegees) onto a large piece of mural paper.  (Many people also made individual prints to keep.)  In the photo on the left below is a museum educator demonstrating. We all quickly jumped into the process.
Cool stencil!
Below, the almost finished work of art!  We are saving it to hang somewhere at our state convention in November. 
Honestly, the only challenging step was putting the stencil into the embroidery hoop, and in a short period of time we made a great collaborative piece.  This idea is definitely a "keeper".  I can see potential for it in an elementary or middle art program, and even at the secondary level as a quick introduction to the concept of screen printing.  Great workshop!  Even Andy thinks so.

13 comments:

  1. Cool! I've been wanting to try something like this. So when you put the paint on before squeegeeing, does the paint go on the fabric side or the paper side?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The paint goes on the paper side, which is inside the hoop. The fabric side is the side that touches the paper you are printing on.

      Delete
  2. Hi Phyl, I was looking for an email for you but I hope this comment gets to you instead. This is Kathy from Art Projects for Kids, and I have been approached by a company to put together a proposal for a marker book for kids, and they would love to also have other bloggers input, if possible. Are you interested? Let me know if this sounds interesting as I think this is a great chance for us bloggers to reach a new audience, and I love the work you do. Please send me your email if you want to find out more, thanks! kathybarbro@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love screen printing! We make t-shirts in 8th grade - though we do the drawing fluid/ blockout fluid method. This would be a great way to do an intro to the more complex process - thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I agree; this process would certainly, in just a couple of art classes, give them a good understanding of how a screen print works.

      Delete
  4. Hi Phyl - I am curious -- how does the freezer paper hold up as you squeegee with the cardboard over it. That is, how many prints do you think you can get with that one paper stencil??? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The stencil held up really well. I probably printed mine about 10 times on the large paper, but I did have some leakage, so the prints weren't perfect. But it didn't come apart. If I had let it dry out a bit, or if I had more time, maybe I could have printed more. For a quick and easy way to introduce screen printing to kids, it's great, and I'm sure that if you tried it out and experimented a bit (for example trying out printing ink instead of thick acrylic paint), you could resolve any problems. You need VERY LITTLE PAINT. It is easy to get excited and overload the paint, which will lead to more leakage. But for a collaborative piece, it really doesn't matter much. You will pick up ink from other prints on the bottom side of your stencil when you do overlaps, anyhow. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend the process if it hadn't been so easy and successful!

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing Phyl. I've seen simple screen printing done like this before, but haven't tried it-- plus the idea to make it a collaborative project just never occurred to me! You're so sassy in your pics recently! Too cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sassy, yeah... Now if I could just be both skinny and sassy that would be even better!

      Delete
  6. I have done something similar with my 4th grade students for a number of years. I don't remember where I first got the idea. They fold and cut snowflakes and then lay them on a sheet of construction paper. I have pre-stretch cotton fabric on an embroidery hoop that looks like the ones you used. Then, that goes on top of the snowflake, on top of the paper. Next push the paint or printer's ink through the hoop. The snowflake will temporarily stick to the cloth for multiple prints. Some students have successfully removed the snowflakes when completed and saved them as well. They turn out really nice. http://khyman.blogspot.com/search/label/snowflakes

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much.
    Transfer paper

    ReplyDelete