Friday, 27 April 2018

don't quote me!!

 I've been using some of the quote screens to customise more tote bags. Above is the 'be courageous and the wonders will follow' design printed in 'black' ink on a black handled calico tote and 'follow your dreams they know the way' screen printed in 'white' ink on a black tote. I think the lettering looks really nice in these simple monochrome variations, but it also works well in more colourful options.
 I have printed these two white tote with the 'be the reason that someone smiles today' screen. To create the two prints, I added blobs of  'berry', 'raspberry', 'bubblegum' & 'orange zest' inks. The first pull creates a streaked effect with the different colours, whilst the second pass creates a more subtle blend as the inks mix together more. The two white bags below were printed in the same way, this time with a mix of  'key lime' and 'blue sea' inks. I pulled across the 'make today amazing' screen for the first print, then downward on the second pass to create quote different looks on each.

if you fancy screen printing at home, check out my blog post here all about screen sensation. plus there is a discount code to get 25% off supplies at


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Screen sensation

One year ago, an at home screen printing system was launched, called screen sensation. It was something new and quite exciting, so I bought the first kit and have added to my selection of designs with the new screen collections released since. I mainly use my screen sensation to decorate tote bags, clothes and print my own fabrics, however, the possibilities go far beyond this.

Screen sensation is made up of 3 parts... 
the kit, the screens and the inks:
  • The kit includes a base unit, frame, squeegee, stir sticks and a collapsible ink bowl
  • The screens come in two sizes (12x12" & 5x7") in a wide variety of designs. You simply fix the screens to the frame using screen sensation fixing tape. This tape has been formulated especially to use with the screens, to be safe for use on the emulsion layer. If you are feeling really creative there is also a kit available to design your own screen.
  • The ink is water based, drain safe and washes out in cold water. Once the ink is fully cured (about 7 days) onto a solid surface or heat set on fabric (iron on reverse for 2 mins, washer safe to 40'c) it becomes permanent. The inks are very thick and need to be stirred before use. There is a lovely selection of colours available, but you can also mix them together to create your own custom colours.

How to use your screen sensation:
  1. Use the fixing tape to attach the screen to the back of the frame, where the screen sensation logo is. Also consider that if you have text on your screen this needs to be the right way up when printing (so backwards when taping). For the best quality of print the screen must be fixed so it is drum tight. At this stage, you may also wish to mask off areas of the design. Simply tape over the section you don't want to print (see image below). Once fixed, slide  the frame into the base unit.
  2. Place the item you are wanting to screen print onto the base unit. If you are printing onto fabric it is best to iron it first to remove any creases and put a piece of card/paper behind where you will be printing (inside a t-shirt for example) to catch any ink which could go through the layers of fabric. Push the base unit lid down to hold the item in place.
  3. Give the inks a good stir before adding to the top of the screen. It's better to have a lot of ink on as you don't want to run out and you will scrape the excess back into the pot when you have finished printing so it doesn't go to waste!! You can use multiple colours at a time to create different effects. I use less ink when doing this as you don't want to put mixed colours back into the original pots. You can still reuse this ink though, just buy empty pots to put your mixed colours in.
  4. Pull the ink across the surface of your screen using the squeegee at a 45 degree angle. I like to spread my fingers over the length of the squeegee to get even pressure. You don't need a lot of pressure as too much can wrinkle the screen and ruin your print, (you can do a dry run to check if you're unsure). When you print occasionally you feel like you have missed a bit, in this case you can just add a little bit of ink to that piece with the small squeegee. Although not advised, if you are worried you have missed quite a lot, you can carefully reprint the screen pressing lighter on the squeegee. I have done this with no problems but there is a risk of getting a blurred image.
  5. Finally, lift the lid to reveal your print. Remove the printed item from the base unit and set aside to dry. I often hang my bags and clothes onto a clothes airer to allow them to dry flat without taking up all of the counter tops.
  6. When you have finished printing your chosen design, lift the frame out of the base unit, remove all the fixing tape (if it doesn't have any ink on this can use re-used) and wash your screen in cold water. The water must be cold or it will set the inks and ruin the screen. Once you have washed your screen and removed all the ink residue, lay this flat to dry on a towel. You don't want any fluff sticking to the screen so it is best to use an older towel.
  7. Once your screen is fully dry, it can be put back in its packaging for protection and kept ready to use again. Once your prints are dry don't forget to heat set them or leave them to cure for 7 days.
Alternatively, if you are printing a bulky item that wont sit flat inside the base unit, you can print using the frame separately from the base unit. To do this, tape the screen on the opposite side of your frame (without the logo) ensuring your design is seen in reverse at this stage. Then, lay out your item that you are wanting to print directly onto a hard and sturdy flat surface. To print, turn the frame over so the logo is facing up towards you and hold it down firmly in position on the item. It is important not to move the frame during printing as this can smudge the print. If possible, I find it's best to get someone else to hold it while you print. Once set up, you can simply follow the instructions above from stage 3 onwards, (except at stage 5, simply lift your frame up in one smooth motion, ensuring it separates from the print item as the ink can hold the print to the screen.)

If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the screen sensation website to find out more information and videos demonstrating the system.

If you want to screen print at home, you can get 25% off any screen sensation purchase at ...simply checkout using the special discount code: SSBL25-OHC21
(valid until 30 June 2018)