Sunday, 7 July 2019

Freezer paper mask for watercolour

Using my Cricut again, I cut a mask for a silhouette of a hummingbird

Then I ironed it onto my watercolour paper (Bee Paper 100% cotton 300gsm/ 140lb.) - it's a great paper for wet into wet, so great for the darkening sky I planned for this....

Then went and did wet into wet background
(really quickly - was going for test run, not for art!  Wanted to make as wet as possible to see how freezer paper stood up)

Dried with a hairdryer and started removing freezer paper once touch dry.
At first I thought it wasn't working, as it looked like it was also pulling up watercolour paper, until I realised that it was not, it was leaving behind some freezer paper.  
So I got out my Cricut hook tool, and this lifted paper whole.  For the initial bits where freezer paper was left behind I used my gummy eraser used for removing masking fluid

The end result....


I am on a roll.....

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Stencil Screen printing PLUS Cricut: Bamboo Sketch paper

This time I am trying out Hahnemühle Bamboo Sketch paper 105gsm / 50lbs.
I bought the image from Snarky Crafter Designs to screen print onto another t-shirt for my wonderful hubby - let's hope this is one he will wear and not a (dubious) charitable donation again

SVG cut by my trusty Cricut again - two seconds work!!  LOVE IT!!!

As I want the design to be white, I am trying out liquitex heavy body acrylic paint (mixed with textile medium) instead of the more fluid acrylic inks.  I have had great results with heavy bodied acrylic for lino on fabric, so we will see if it's the same with screen printing.  I am hoping for good coverage so that the shirt is less visible under the design.  This paint is opaque, so should work well - fingers crossed.

(I have of course prewashed the shirt, without fabric softener and without dryer sheets).

(the screen is stained from previous prints - this will not affect the print, unless you let the paint dry inside the mesh; then the holes will be closed with dried paint and these areas will not print.  A VERY good reason to wash up IMMEDIATELY after each print is done)

And a shirt he will actually wear. . .

Stencil Screen printing PLUS Cricut: Marker Paper

Paper used to make stencil:
Strathmore Marker 400 Series
Smooth Surface
Marker Paper
50.5lbs (190gsm)

T Shirt for The Hubby
He loves the movie The Crow, so a crow design was decided upon.

I made a second frame using a stripped canvas with screen printing mesh from Lawrence in Brighton UK.
Quite simple, just remove the canvas from the frame, take out all the staples as you need the screen to lay perfectly flat, stretch the mesh over the (now) bare frame, stapling it to the side that is not 100% flat.  Do one side, then opposite side, then again for other two sides with a single staple, then move back to first side, stretching as you staple and work around again until you have an evenly taught drum with no wrinkles.

The print came out absolutely perfectly, and I could have got many more prints from the one stencil, but I only had the t-shirt laid out, wanting a perfect print on this, which I got.

BUT . . . we live with three cats, and I was silly enough to not only leave the wet print on my work table, but also, I did not replace the kitty cushion under the window for the evening breeze.  So, of course, the fluffiest kitty - looking for a breeze on a hot night - walked over the wet shirt, adding smudged paw prints to both the design on the shirt AS WELL AS the cream carpet!!!  Luckily our foam carpet cleaner sorted out the carpet as he had cleaned most of the ink off on the t shirt!  BUT, the design was ruined. . .  a big smudge in the center of what should have been blank space, and the edge of the square smudged.

I tried to rectify this with a second run of white, after washing out the smudge as best I could.  BUT the washing distorted the first screen, so the negative no longer fitted exactly into the positive, leaving gaps, no matter how much I tried to manipulate it.  Also, white over indigo isn't the best way to hide cat smudges.  We are left with a t shirt that mister FUSSY will NOT be wearing (I can be sure of that) so well, let's hope the donation bus passes it to a less fussy man who likes salmon t shirts with badly printed designs :)

I will certainly use this paper for stencils again, it works beautifully!
As for paper printing, I quickly ran a print on a piece of paper I had on the side, not very carefully, more to load the screen to prevent ink drying too quickly to wash off
The paper was actually what I had thought of trying for the next stencil, and then dismissed as I decided it was not smooth enough for a stencil.
I didn't have enough ink on the screen for a good print, so excuse that, but otherwise, it is the perfect paper for screen printing with fabric inks as it is mostly fabric itself!

Khadi Papers
Handmade paper from South India 150gsm
100% recycled cotton rag
I love the raw edges and the 'handmadeness' of it
Best paper I have printed on so far

I saved the shirt with a paint brush :)

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Stencil Screen printing PLUS Cricut: Tracing Paper

I have been playing around with my Cricut to create stencils for screen printing.  It is WAY faster than cutting the stencil out with a craft knife, and super accurate.

Stencil screen printing is such fun, with instant results and really beautiful, crisp images can be created.  Much as I love cutting lino for block printing,  I do find that screen printed images are generally my personal preference.  You can create really fine lines, the ink is beautifully even - looks professional, and the results are always as crisp as I had in my mind at the start.  Add in the Cricut's accuracy and fine cutting power, and this all increases!

I am slowly getting better with Ai (Adobe Illustrator) and it's getting faster to create the images I am after.

Today I was testing out different paper for stencil creation.  I have always wanted to do this with stencil screen printing, but the time to create each stencils was prohibitive.  Now, the Cricut creates my screens in minutes, allowing me to make the same one of various papers so it's a proper like with like comparison.

I tested tracing paper (Masters Touch Premium 93g/m2 45lb) for a fine lined zebra face.  There were two challenges... Firstly the design has many very fine strips, and secondly, I was printing onto a baby onesie that had very little space between the shoulder seams, meaning that the bulk of the seam lifted the screen from the fabric slightly on one side,  creating a void in the design.

The stencil bombed after a single print as the tracing paper doesn't stick to the screen with the ink, and the fine pieces of the stencil curled up as soon as the screen was lifted from the fabric, rendering it unusable for a second print.

But, saying all of that, I am rather happy with the print achieved:

As soon as the screen is dry I will go on to the next paper type and report my findings - I am too lazy to stretch another screen LOL

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Brand new Cricut Maker

I ordered my new Cricut online and delivery was for today.  I tracked the progress of the UPS delivery van as it neared my home, getting really excited, only for it to bypass me!
It eventually arrived right at dinner prep time   ...   Murphy you old bugger ;)

Anyway, it is out of the box, installed on my desk, with blades calibrated.

I tried out a quick (beginner) project before I hit the hay - it's back to bootcamp in the morning!

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Paper and fabric

I didn't get a shot of it framed, which I should have.
The background was done on a gathering machine used for smocking

New Straight Stitch only machine

I bought my Christmas pressie from Eugene myself this year
 It is a semi industrial, straight stitch only Brother machine that comes with a felting attachment.

 I have been thoroughly enjoying using this machine.  It is strong enough to go through MANY layers without a hitch, as well as being completely unfussy about thread - it takes 'fairy wing' thread without batting an eye.  'Fairy wing' thread is this horrid (to work with) plastic, lumpy thread that snaps, unravels and generally misbehaves, but it gives the lovely iridescent effect seen on dragonfly wings or soap bubbles.  Most machines HATE this thread and you do too once you've rethreaded for the 50th time!  Not so with my new baby, she sews with it as though it's Aurifil.

I felted and then did FME over the felting to create this Christmas gift...

It is yet to be framed & actually gifted - a bit behind on delivering Xmas gifts ;)

Watercolour Classes with Marilee

Since moving to the USA exactly a year ago, I have been taking watercolour classes at Irvine Fine Arts Center with Marilee Nielsen.  She is a fantastic teacher, and has really got me so much more confident in this medium.

Here are some of the pieces we either did in class, or I tried at home as a result of the class...

And then with a bit of photo tomfoolery...

And the piece I am most proud of, enough to have it framed...

Had the framing done through Aaron Brothers at Michaels, and am thrilled with the job they did.  Also discovered in the process that framing in the US is more expensive than in the UK!!!!