Category Archives: printing

A couple of maprons

I’ve been wanting to do some block printing on some aprons, so in between Noah eating, I managed to sew these aprons which, being much more masculine in nature, I’ll refer to as maprons. I won’t say what they’re for in case I might reveal something to their recipients who might happen upon this post.  I used my silverware stamp that I carved to print on them with screenprinting ink and some fabric paint. I learned several things about printing this week:
1.  You need to protect your work surface because even though you’re printing on your (nice) garage sale college boy table of your husband’s and even though you have a fabulous collection of vintage tablecloths to cover said table, blue screeprinting ink still leaves a mark.

2.  Stamps aren’t fond of printing on uneven surfaces, so that pocket that you so brilliantly placed in the middle of your design is going to need to be painted by hand after you stamp it to fill in where it didn’t print.

3.  Block printing with a newborn is not the most intelligent thing you will have ever tried to do because not only will he get upset upon not being able to see Mom over the couch, but all of that paint will dry completely on the stamp before you get back to it.

All of that in consideration, I’m pretty happy with how these turned out and I’m glad to be using this stamp for other projects.



I also made a pie for the final episode of Pushing Daisies that airs tonight (sad, sad, sad).  I’m enjoying this wee foray into piemaking.  I made two last week–the chocolate coconut that I posted and an old-fashioned apple pie that I made for a client of a friend.  I must say I love my little Pyrex pie plate–it’s just the perfect size for me and Nathan to eat without feeling like cows–plus it’s cute to bake in a pink dish.  As I was baking my cherry berry pie last night, I said to Nathan, “Why on earth did it taking Pushing Daisies and vintage Pyrex for me to love pie baking?”  Nathan laughed and I added, “There’s a sentence that hasn’t come out of too many people’s mouths.”


Did you lose your silverware?

Because I found it, and I painted it green.


This is my new block print for my kitchen.  I’ve been inspired by all of the jiffy spoony and forky prints that I’ve seen lately, so I thought I’d do my own interpretation.  This is the first time I’ve printed on already printed fabric–I just used a simple cotton quilting print with a very understated design.  I like the results.  It adds a little bit more depth than printing on plain fabric.  I carved two stamps out of Speedball Speedy Cut white blocks.  This stuff carves wonderfully, but you really need to mount the stamps on a thin piece of wood for durability.

The rings in between each group of fork/spoon/knife were inspired by those old hanging baskets people used to keep fruit in in their kitchens.  I always liked the chains on them.  I stamped them in 2 greens slightly different than the utensils and added a contrasting earthy orange.  I did not press as evenly or hard as I did on the utensils because I wanted the rings to be in the background. 

Because this is going in the kitchen, after I heat-set it (I used acrylic paint mixed with textile medium), I coated it with iron-on vinyl.  I’ve never worked with the stuff before, but I thought it would be a good solution to a real problem (i.e. weird food particles getting on the walls).

I hate photo emulsion

Well, I don’t really hate photo emulsion–it’s a great thing when it works, but I need to take a class because trying to figure it out on my own is a little more than frustrating.  My accordion print only partially burned, so I tried burning it again and the lamp cracked the glass somehow.  Photo emulsion definitely is the best screenprinting method for really detailed work, it just has what seems like this monumental learning curve.  The worst by far is trying to clean the emulsion out of the screen.

You would think that reclaiming a screen for screenprinting would be a relatively easy process–and true enough, MOST of the photo emulsion comes off in one pass…but not all of it.  Some of it clings for dear life to the screen and it will fight vehemently to stay there despite all your scrubbing and rinsing and soaking and scrubbing.  I hate chemicals…I do everything humanly possible to avoid chemicals in cleaning, in makeup, in my food, but I’m about ready to throw in the towel and buy the stinkiest chemical I can if it means my screen will come clean.  I’m ranting, I know. 

When I finally DO get my screen clean today, I will try the screen filler/drawing fluid method.  There’s a really cool tutorial here.  This seems pretty foolproof, and since my print is so small, it’s probably a good solution for me today.  And I don’t want to deal with procuring another piece of glass today.   

No camera this week.

Nathan has the camera at a conference this week and this weekend we get to go to Yellowstone!  I love Yellowstone, but I hate camping.  Thankfully they have bathrooms with running water, so my rule is not violated where camping is concerned (No water, no way). 

I’m screening my accordion onto a t-shirt that I reconstructed into a baseball t (super easy!–I’d post a tutorial, but again, no camera).

I need to trace this now so I can make my positive.  I’ll have to go low-tech and trace it by hand with India ink onto the transparency.



Silkscreening is neither quick nor easy as I have discovered.  I burned my image only to discover that it had been overexposed and the image only partially washed out.  So I destenciled the whole thing, scrubbed it, let it dry, put on emulsion again, let that dry, exposed the image again, overexposed it again and repeated the whole process one more time before we figured out that the exposure time on my directions was nearly twice what it needed to be.  Third time was the charm and the image turned out really well.  Somewhere in all this, I decided a hair dryer was an essential tool and miraculously, things have been going much faster today than the past two days have. 

Printing a repeat image is a little tricky, and I messed up my registration marks that I so carefully measured.  They’ve still been helpful in eyeballing where to put the next one, I’ve just had to make sure that I let the area dry before I print the continuation of the image because the screen overlaps by quite a bit.  It’s not perfect, but it’s been fun and challenging and I’ve learned a lot from messing everything up.  I’ll finish it tomorrow, and then that little ottoman will finally have a cover to it!  Yee haw!

Sadly, you cannot see the pretty light blue home dec fabric that I’m printing on in this picture.  It’s a pretty contrast.


The pattern

I have wanted to screenprint for years.  Literally.  One of my family’s friends screenprinted all of our Junior Bible Quiz t-shirts when I was little, and I always thought that was the coolest thing ever (I still have my shirt from when I was 8, and though things have changed a bit, it still fits me.  I cook in it–it’s my favorite t-shirt).  I remember getting a book at the Houston Public Library when I was–I don’t even know–12, maybe?–about screenprinting and I remember being very very overwhelmed by it.  But I never stopped being interested in it.  So after years of being intimidated by it, I decided to give it a whirl.

Nathan has been so wonderful in helping me figure out the minutiae of the process.  He went shopping with me to get all of the supplies, he cut foam for the screen for me, he figured out the height of the lamp, but the best was that he all on his own, created this image for me:

I had an image of houndstooth (which I love but I can never find in the colors or fabrics that I like), but it was wavy and it wasn’t a repeat image.  I was going to make it repeat by hand, but Nathan volunteered to draw it in Gimp.  What a super husband I have!

So currently the image is burning in the screen, and I think I’ll print when we get home from church today.  I’m excited!