Sunday, 28 April 2013

Block Printing - how to

Hello and good evening! ^_^

Another week passed and with it more experimenting with hand printing on fabrics.
This time I was trying block printing.

Block printing is one of the oldest way of printing.
Carving your own stamps is a lot of fun too! 
A raised surface of the carved design that gets coated with ink, is transferred onto another material. 
Images printed using carved stamps and blocks turn out totally different than those done using screen printing method. They have very distinctive look, the edges are not crisp and each print differs from the previous one, some tend to be softer than others.

You will need:
-linoleum block
-textile ink
-various scraps of fabrics (previously washed and ironed)
- soft - lead pencil
-lino carving tools- use a U blade for cutting away large areas and a V blade for cutting details
-brayer- for applying ink

 I drew my design with a pencil directly onto a small linoleum sheet ( you can draw on a piece of paper first using soft- lead pencil and then transfer onto the lino using bone folder or what I also tried  -a spoon).

This is a great book full of inspirational designs^_^

The fun part starts here. Carving away what we don't want to be stamped- basically the raised surface that remains will be what gets transferred onto fabrics.

I am sorry I forgot to take a picture of the carving process of that same flower I used for printing so here is another example.

Once the entire block has been cut out I had to rinse it to wash away any crumbs left from carving. Make sure it's completely dry before you use it.

Time to apply ink. Note: in this tutorial I used a light cardboard  to scoop the ink onto which wasn't a good idea as it seemed to absorb the ink ( it's best to scoop the ink onto a plastic plate or a glass surface).
I rolled the brayer through the ink until the brayer was evenly coated. Then I rolled the brayer across the surface of my lino stamp a few times to make sure it's coated evenly.

I turned the lino upside down and pressed it firmly all areas onto a fabric giving it a few seconds to let the ink soak into the surface.

light weight linen fabric

medium weight upholstery fabric with satin like finish

Have you noticed that each print looks different? Not only depending on fabrics used as surface but also how much strenght I use when pressing a stamp onto it.

Note: All the equipment used has to be washed straightaway.


  I then cut out the flowers from all different fabrics and used them to embellish a bag which I made myself. You can see it below^_^

I've used free- hand sewing technique to embroider around the lines of my stamped flowers to give them more depth.

What do you think?^_^

If you decide to try block printing make sure to have a lot of fun with it! And please share the outcome, I would love to see how you get on!

Happy printing!



Sunday, 21 April 2013

Screen Printing at Home- Tutorial

Hello and happy Sunday!^_^

Lately I have become fascinated and quite obsessed with fabric prints, to be more precise with printing by hand! I got my hands on these wonderful books (below) which provide very detailed tutorials and/ or are full of inspirations! 
If you are interested in hand printing and trying different techniques it's really worth getting PRINTING BY HAND by Lena Corwin. Each and every method is thoroughly explained here.
MASTERING THE ART OF FABRIC PRINTING AND DESIGN focuses mostly on digital printing and teaches how to design your own fabrics. Both VERY lovely books!

I’d done screen printing in the past at college and I missed not doing it so today I decided to prepare my own stencils and a screen frame and do some hand printing in the comfort of my own home!

Materials needed:

-old wooden frame,
- polyester mesh/ finely woven polyester lining fabric
-staple gun
-textile paint/ water based fabric screen printing ink
-self- healing mat
-Mylar paper
-freezer paper
-utility knife
- old plastic card
-masking tape
- cotton/ linen fabric

First I’ll be making my own screen frame!
I used an old wooden frame that I bought from a charity shop for £1.5 and then got a piece of finely woven polyester lining fabric (that was lying around in my studio and did a great job! You would usually use 12xx/ 120 polyester mesh which was quite expensive so am glad my lining worked!) Then I tightly stretched the fabric over the frame and stapled using staple gun (It’s one scary tool I have to say! Be extra careful when using it!)

And the screen frame is now ready!

 Next step is to make a stencil.  I’ve tried these two:

 Freezer paper stencil- you can directly draw the design on to the paper and then cut it out with a utility knife and iron to the right side of your fabric with its glossy side facing down using medium-high iron setting. When you are done printing just peel it off.
This one is much easier to cut and the final cut out design may look much neater but the downside is you can only use it once.

Mylar stencil-  first draw a design on a piece of paper, then place it underneath the Mylar and tape the sheets together with masking tape to a self- healing mat, cut the design out of both sheets at the same time. Now you would need to apply an adhesive (such as spray mount or dry mount) to hold a Mylar firmly in place. I didn’t have any adhesive. I taped the stencil in place which may cause some ink to bleed under it as it doesn’t lie firmly against the printing surface.
(Note: it did bleed a tiny bit so I will definitely need to get some adhesive for my next project!)
The good thing about Mylar is that it can be reused.

Now it’s time to print!

Apply ink to screen, drag it down the screen with your old plastic card and push it up the screen to make sure the paint has been applied evenly.

Mylar stencil after printing..

Remove the frame. (Wash the frame straightaway otherwise the mesh will be ruined when the ink dries!!)

I printed two different designs and then added final touches with a brush. Wait for the ink to dry before starting next print. 

When the ink has completely dried iron both sides of the fabric to fix the design. It can now be machine washed in 40 degrees.
Below is my first small sample, iron fixed and machine washed. All looked fine!

I really liked my final design so decided to make a small tea towel by neatly folding and pressing the edges then stitching. 

Oh! How much I've enjoyed it!!^_^
If you decided to follow my tutorial please share the designs, I would love to see them!


Monday, 1 April 2013

INSPIRATION: Cirque du Soleil

Hello! Good afternoon!

I've been experimenting with something new lately inspired by one of my many passions- acrobatics.
Amazingly daring, artistic shows of Cirque du Soleil have driven me to explore more about the art of circus and acrobatics.
I love the mixture of grace, beauty, strength and boldness with which each artist entertains the audience. How every performance keeps you on the edge of the seat, they never fail to bring out the strongest emotions in the onlookers.
Jumping dangerously in the air, diving from dizzying heights or walking the high wire, their strong yet graceful bodies that bend with such unbelievable flexibility. Beautiful and fluid movements of the dancers who communicate with a mixture of emotion and poetry along with their bright fantasy make up, vivid costumes and that surreal feel of their world all around that guarantees to suck you in completely!

I wanted to create something that expresses grace, beauty, strength, flexibility and boldness- all in one.
And here is the outcome of my first interpretations of the above words.

 First there was a mood board with inspiring pictures:

Then the dolls came out of that. Their bodies are stuffed with polyester stuffing and wire for the flexibility. 
Face have been hand painted. 

Available in from Etsy store

In two sizes, this one is much smaller:
Available from my Etsy store

And what do you think of my dolls? I am going to make them in a medium size too, and a lot more of bright colours, pink/ blue  hair maybe?