I have had a screen printing kit lying around for a few years now and I recently signed up for a handprinted fabric swap. I thought I would get some practice in by creating some prints using my kids’ artwork. I will take you through the method that I used, and give a few ideas that I had for making it a little bit easier and involving the kids in the process along the way.
I decided to make organic t-shirts with my kids’ drawings (although you could make a bag or a pillowcase for example) and I matched up my son’s scribbles with this gorgeous rocky racoon. I created a screen print of rocky using this free applique pattern over at Imagine Gnats. It is also week one of Celebrate the Boy, so consider this my first item!
How to create fabric prints using your kid’s art:
Step 1-scan in drawings
Step 2-create the pattern you want to print onto your t-shirt
Here are the final components ready for Lily’s t-shirt. The plan is to use the top left dinosaur on the back of the t-shirt, the dinosaur/volcano as the main graphic on the front and the little logo that I compiled from her writing of her name and a heart and a star as a little label.
You just need to either put your design underneath the screen and then trace or you could just draw straight onto there. This is one of those steps, that you could just get your kid to draw straight onto the screen. You could always tape off a particular shape if you have a limited space you will be printing onto.
Once the block is dry you can wash off the drawing ink using a spray bottle and reveal your design. You also need to tape around each of the images to prevent any paint bleeding on uncovered parts of the screen. I was a little bit enthusiastic and ended up putting three images on the same screen. Probably not the easiest way to print, as the squeegee is a little difficult to handle nearer the edges of the screen.
The paint I had in my screen printing kit is daler-rowney system 3 acrylic paint. You make up the colour you want and then mix it 50/50 with textile medium. There is another medium that comes with the kit that I have, that is used for printing onto paper. Mixing colours and adding textile medium is one of those parts of screen printing that most children can assist with.
You need to use even pressure and draw a thin layer of paint across the screen before you do your first print. Anytime you are putting something on the screen (drawing ink, screen block, paint etc.), and you aren’t making a print, you need to put something under the edges of the screen to lift it up slightly. I ended up using plastic tub lids! I think with a little help, Lily could definitely use the squeegee and do some screen printing.
When you are ready you can print onto your garment or item. Use a hot iron to set the ink. As I was sewing my own t-shirt, I printed the designs onto the pattern pieces first and then sewed it together.
I haven’t made Lily’s t-shirt just yet and as I am planning on having 2 colours for the volcano, I am going to have to come up with a way of marking the fabric to make sure that the images match up properly, as this was a really tricky part of the process. I am also going to limit the number of images that I set the screen up for and position them centrally. It will be interesting to see what Lily makes of the whole process. I will see how she does with the practice goes, before deciding whether to let her help with the fabric printing. Hopefully she will get a kick out of seeing her drawings made into an item of clothing.
I really enjoyed having a go with my daler-rowney screen printing kit and I definitely feel like I have caught the hand printing bug! At some point I am going to upgrade to Permaset Aqua inks as they appear to be the most eco-friendly option for screen printing and as they are specialist screen printing inks, I think they will be better suited to fabric printing.
I also took part in my very first Google+ hangout talking about how I made this t-shirt along with 8 other bloggers who all talked about making items using kids’ artwork. It was really nerve racking but exciting to take part alongside people who’s blogs I have been reading for a while. Thank you ladies for making me feel welcome and hopefully I will be able to join in with another hangout soon!