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Silk screening with paint
Fabric paints are fast way to print with silk screens. You can use straight from the tube or jar acrylics, but I prefer Jacquard Products Lumiere and Neopaqe paints for fabric printing because I love the metallic colors, the way the Neopaque colors mix and the soft hand on fabric. HINT: I buy my favorite colors in the 8 oz size and transfer to plastic bottles with a squeeze tip---faster and easier to put out the paint.

Paint Set-up
I use the thin plastic cutting sheets designed for kitchen use as paint palattes (I just let the paint pile up and do not clean these when done). Other suggestions are plastic paper plates or heavy wax paper disposable paint palattes available at art supply stores. Small plastic containers with lids (like to-go salsa containers) are good too.



Applying Paint:
Practice, Practice, Practice

I use sponge brushes to apply the paint, but you can use an old credit card or a plastic spreader used to apply tile grout. Paper artists prefer the credit card method. When screening on fabric, I prefer the sponge brushes because the brush will absorb, hold and distribute a good amount of paint and the brush has a firm plastic interior that pushes the paint through the screen.

Begin by loading up the brush with paint and make a few tests first. I keep a stack of scraps close by for test runs. It takes practice to determine how much paint and how much pressure to use. Each fabric takes a different pressure and amount of paint, so make some test pieces with each project.......often these test pieces become some of my favorite treasures. It may take more than one pass to apply enough paint to the fabric. You can gently pull away one corner of the design to check on the amount of paint.....and remember that this technique is hand done, so each impression is one of a kind and necessarily é─˛perfectly imperfecté─˘.

When using a credit card, squeeze a bead-line of paint at the top of the screen and pull the plastic card spreading the paint evenly and with an even pressure.

Watch your screen as you work, keeping the screen 'wet' with paint. DO NOT ALLOW THE PAINT TO DRY OR IT WILL CLOG THE SCREEN. USE PLENTY OF PAINT as using too little paint wil result in a faded obscure image. Get into the habit of checking to be sure the open areas of the mesh on the screen are clear----sometimes paint will stain the screen and it will look awful, but is still perfectly usable.

Work Set-up Tips

The working set-up is an important part of the sucess of any silk screening project. If you have a sink in the studio, you can rinse and clean the screens as you go. Do not use the same sink or tools that are used for food preparation or clean-up. When I moved my studio into a 'dry' room, I devised a simple way to use and clean silk screens as you work.

Use two rectangular plastic dishwashing type tubs of water with enough water to submerge the screens. Position the tubs close to your work and place screens in the water as you work to prevent clogging. One tub is for é─˛dirtyé─˘ water, the other for é─˛cleané─˘ water. Place a used screen into the é─˛dirtyé─˘ tub first --- it is ok to submerge the screen in water and clean up a short time later. Clean the screen with your fingertips or the sponge brush, working out the paint in the open areas. Once you have gotten the screen as clean as possible, place it in é─˛the clean wateré─˘ tub , finish the cleaning in the é─˛cleané─˘ water tub, then shake off excess water, blot/wipe dry with rags or paper towels. In my studio I let screens drip dry on a dish drainer. I do not change water unless it is REALLY dirty, and using the clean/dirty tub method, I often use the same water all day

TIP:
Keep scraps of different fabrics and papers handy to use up all your paint at the end of the day.

Work Surface
Test to see if your fabric calls for a firm or padded surface. I usually use a firm surface and cover the area with paper or plastic. Covering a padded pressing surface with a plastic bag makes an excellent portable padded surface.

Silk Screening with Discharge Paste
Screening a design with discharge paste is a quick way to transfer designs and results in clear lines and motifs. The discharge paste is very slow to clog the screen, giving you several hours working time, but must be cleaned off gently with water and allowed to dry at the end of the day.


Silk Screening with Foil Adhesive
Foil adhesive is a special thick glue formulated for using with metallic foils works beautifully with a silk screen. Apply the adhesive using a sponge brush. Do NOT let the adhesive dry on the screen --- you will ruin a screen if it dries or is not washed off thoroughly. Keep examining the screen as you work and put it in water as soon as it looks dry. Clean up with cool water using your fingers and the sponge brush to remove the glue. The adhesive must be dry on the fabric before the foil can be applied.
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