Workshop time (well, almost)

Can you believe it? Fall is here, and before you know it, so will the holidaze!

I am NOT ready for this. This is NOT ok! Wasn’t it just blazing hot 2 days ago?

Alas, ready or not, here it comes!

As an introvert, I tend to be in my head a lot. Lucky for me, I am, married to an extrovert. Left to me, I’d probably never get around to actually inviting folks over, even though I love company. I’m just much better at asking a friend to meet for coffee, or Pecha Kucha.

Around here, we’ve been doing a bit of entertaining after a long hiatus. The Mr. had a horrible work schedule for a while which didn’t allow for weekend entertaining. I am happy to report that his schedule changed, and we are back in the swing of things. I love having folks over just to hang, talk, chill, and, ahem, drink! In this day and age, as we develop more and more ways to be in touch, true connection just seems to be getting more and more difficult. It is still so desperately needed.

I am so happy that we have managed to create warm oasis of good food, good company, and good atmosphere in our little corner of the world. (Personally I think it’s all the printed fabrics, and the warm ambiance of my old-timey christmas lights that we keep up year ’round).

 

I am planning some very awesome workshops for the near future, so look out for the emails! I have pinned down some dates, just waiting to confirm a location, and we will be good to go!

In the meantime, be well, do good work, and keep in touch, my friends!

Textile Printing with Latex House Paint

So, at loooong last, my continuation of the series. Thank you for your patience.

On the previous post I talked about how I modify and extend the paint with any of the following:

  1. Shaving Cream. The cheaper the better.
  2. Clear, non-flaking hair gel. The cheaper the better.
  3. Unscented Lotion (yes, lotion) The cheaper (think dollar store) the better.
  4. Mineral Oil
  5. Permaset Aqua Print Paste

In this post will detail my process with Barbasol Shaving Cream.

barbasol

Barbasol Shaving Cream is where it all began. Yes, Barbasol, the cheap stuff. I use Barbasol original, though I’ve used the one with aloe with no problems.

I was looking for a way to thicken the paint enough to pull through the screen. I had seen a blurb somewhere on the internets that mentioned mixing barbasol with paint. I thought, ‘hmmm, that’s a great idea. That will thicken it enough. Let’s try it.” So I did, and guess what, it worked!

And then something amazing happened. Upon drying, the fabric was super soft, like the paint became part of the fabric.

I was amazed! Elated! It’s a new day in printing! There was none of that stiff feeling of latex on fabric. This was the holy grail for me, as even some fabric/textile paints leave that heavy stiff hand.

Then it was time to see if it would hold up to washing. It did. Beautifully. I have fabrics that I printed years ago with this method that I have washed over and over. The colors still hold up.

1 paint + approx 4 parts part shaving cream

My formula: 1 part paint to 4 parts shaving cream. I usually eyeball my measurement because shaving cream is so fluffy and unpredictable.

Mix together, and voila! you can print with it.

pure color on left, mixed with shaving cream on right.

pure color on left, mixed with shaving cream on right.

Mix to combine the mixture until you don’t see any more streaks of pure white, or pure color. Notice that the shaving cream turns the paint color juuuust a little bit pastel. Not to worry, this will correct itself later.

No need for textile medium.

Note: If you are doing a long print run, I suggest adding a retarder. I add .5 parts glycerin. This will slow down the drying of the paint on your screens.

There is also no need for heat setting, though I still do this so that I can be extra-super-duper-sure that my print will not fade.

Once your paint + shaving cream concoction is ready, it’s time to print:

modified latex paint on the screen

modified latex paint on the screen

So here is my print. Notice how the paint is still a little bit foamy and pastel?

shaving cream + latex paint screen printed on canvas fabric

shaving cream + latex paint screen printed on canvas fabric, still wet.

Magically, after it dries (with the help of my heat gun), it goes back to its original color.

after the latex + shaving cream print dries, the color is once again vibrant.

after the latex + shaving cream print dries, the color is once again vibrant.

On the Block

Here is how the paint concoction performs with block printing:

Paint + Shaving Cream rolled out on a foam roller

Paint + Shaving Cream rolled out on a foam roller

 

the block printed on canvas fabric

the block printed on canvas fabric

Here is the same fabric printed with a rubber block, with the same paint. Notice that it does not have as much coverage as pulling through a screen. That is the nature of block printing. It’s also something I really enjoy about block printing. Not every print is perfect.

Here again, block printing on the bottom, screen printing on the top:

Screen printed on top, block printed on the bottom

Screen printed on top, block printed on the bottom

Here is the same piece of fabric after washing:

Color stays true after wash

Color stays true after wash

Notice that the color has stayed just as vibrant after the wash! Here is a caveat: Like any other textile paint/ink, the color stays true after washing only if I PREWASH the fabric. If you print on brand new un-washed fabric that has sizing, some of the color will fade. I also usually let the print cure for about a week before washing.

As with most things in life, if there are upsides there will be downsides. This is no different.

The Downsides (just 2):

  1. The foamy-ness of shaving cream can be a bother. I tend to mix just what I need when I need it because the leftover paint does not keep well over a few days. Most of the air deflates and you are left with an ugly semi-frothy mess. This is not enough of a bother to abandon the process.
  2. Screen Haze during long print runs. The paint can be hard to wash off if you are printing for a long time. Buuuuut, like I mentioned earlier, I found a solution to this as well. I add .5 parts glycerin to my mixture. Glycerin is a humectant used in body products. It draws moisture from the air to keep your skin feeling soft. In this case it draws moisture from the air to keep the paint wet.  Use it as a retarder, it keeps the paint from drying onto your screens too quickly.

FAQs?

Q: Does the paint finish matter?

A: It does not matter what finish the paint is. I usually just get the sample pots, which tend to be the satin finish.

This is all I can think of for now, but please, definitely post your questions in the comment section, and I will answer them and add to the FAQs.

In my opinion, shaving cream is the most effective method of extending and modifying latex paint to print textiles. You do not need ‘textile medium’ to make the fabric wash-fast and it leaves the fabric with a soft ‘hand’.

But of course, I am never satisfied, and I’m a chemist/engineer at heart.  I set out to find out what else I can use in case, say there’s suddenly a worldwide shortage of Barbasol. Tune in next time to see what else I’ve tried….

pinterestimage

Screen printing fabric with latex house paint

A note about my experience on screenprinting fabric with latex house paint…

 screenprinting fabric with latex house paint

100% cotton fabric screen printed and stamped with latex house paint.

I have been screen printing fabric with latex house paint for at least 3 years now. I have successfully printed a lot of things: napkins, pillow covers, curtains, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. I have exclusively printed on cotton, linen, and ramie, so I can not speak for synthetic fabrics.

I hesitated sharing this information because

1.) I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing before putting it out there, and
2.) I was not sure how it would be received. In the end, I figured, if it can help someone else, it’s worth the risk of an internet backlash (ha-ha!)

I mostly print on things that will not get a lot of washing, but I have successfully machine washed, and hand-scrubbed fabrics that I printed. I have found that it is best to wait at least a week or so, to let the paint cure, before attempting any washing. 

modified latex house paint on a screen. screenprinting fabric with latex house paint

modified latex house paint on a screen.

So obviously, you can not just glop on some house paint onto your screen and expect a good print. If that was the case, everyone would be doing this already. There are a few reasons this would not work out.

  1. Latex paint, used in its pure form, is too runny to be pulled through the screen.
  2. Latex paint, used in its pure form, dries REALLY fast, and will gunk up your screen.
  3. Latex paint, used in its pure form will leave a nasty haze on your screen, because it dries so quickly.
  4. Latex paint, used in its pure form dries stiff on fabric, leaving a not very pleasant ‘hand.’ Because of this, it also tends to crack over time and washings.
  5. Latex paint, used in its pure form, *may not be* wash-fast. This is debatable.

I call these ‘challenges to overcome’.

In order to make latex house paint suitable for printing, it needs to be ‘modified’ and ‘extended.’

Modifying & Extending the Paint:

Extending the paint simply means diluting it. This means that you are not using the paint at full strength.

You will be diluting the paint with a thickener. Wait, what? Yes, you are thinning with a thickener. It will make complete sense, I promise.

Latex house paint is highly pigmented and can stand to be thinned. Strangely, the color is not noticeably lightened in this process.

Extending the latex house paint solves challenges #1-4. Extending the paint will:

  1. Thicken, duh. Now you can pull it thru the screen.
  2. The extender used will slow down the drying process.
  3. Because it will now dry slower, there’s less likelihood of it drying on your screen, leaving the haze of color, and possibly blocking the holes on your screen.
  4. Because the paint has now been extended, it will dry on the fabric with a much softer hand, and the paint will not crack on your fabric with repeated washings.

Modifying the paint just means that you will add textile medium. This solves challenge #5.  to make the paint wash-fast.

Now, I’m of 2 minds regarding washability. I believe that latex paint is washable on fabric.

Think about the last time you got paint on your clothes while painting. How hard was it to get that paint out? Extremely.

I add textile medium for extra protection. I do not really believe that latex house paint needs textile medium to be wash-fast.

On the other hand, I’m nervous to leave it out.

 screenprinting fabric with latex house paint

latex house paint that has been prepped for printing.

So you want to know what I use to extend my paint, huh? 

I have tried a variety of products to make my paint screen-able. Here are the ones that I have tried.

  1. Shaving Cream. The cheaper the better.
  2. Clear, non-flaking hair gel. The cheaper the better.
  3. Unscented Lotion (yes, lotion) The cheaper (think dollar store) the better.
  4. Mineral Oil
  5. Permaset Aqua Print Paste

So there ya have it.

In the next post, we will dive into more detail about each of these materials. If you have not, subscribe here so that you don’t miss it..

 

Textile Printing with Latex house paint

IMG_4956

yup. latex house paint.

Say what now?

Yes, you heard right. I use latex house paint in my screenprinting and block printing adventures.

IMG_4942

these were printed with my modified latex house paint.

Why, you ask? Why not?

But…but…fabric paint is a thing already…why not use that?

For starters, Yes, fabric paint/ink is available, and I have a nice collection of those too.

More often than not, though, I want a color that is not available the selection of fabric paint/ink.

So I should mix my own, right? After all, I see color very, very well (I have been tested).

I detest mixing my own colors. I find mixing my own colors tedious. I would rather just choose a color that appeals to me.

Latex paint is widely available in a wide variety of delicious colors. Being a color lover, this was the number one draw for me.  I love being able to go into the paint store and pick out a swatch and have that exact color mixed for me, every single time.

I hate being restricted to the craft store/art store color palette. Yes, I know I can go online, and I do (duh). The selection is not much better there.

Plus I’m impatient. When I want it, I want it.

Aaaand, there’s nothing like being able to see the color selection in person before making a selection.

Latex paint is very inexpensive, especially with my techniques…(hello, samples!)

flat lay of printed fabrics and latex house paint.

yes, print with latex house paint

Lastly, I’m kind of a rebel. I love pushing limits. I love doing what others are not. I start out doing things the way they are ‘supposed’ to be done, then quickly look for a different way to do it.

I understand that ‘professional’ screenprinters would be horrified at the thought of screen-printing with house paint. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you if you are ready to try something new, break the rules, and open up a whole new realm of possibilities!

So how, exactly do you print textiles with latex house paint? Well, besides just using it right out of the can.

I have a few techniques that I will cover in my next few posts to find out.

I will be covering the following topics and more:

How to thicken latex paint for screenprinting: Latex paint in its pure form is not thick enough to pull across a screen for printing.

How to prevent the dreaded stiff feel of latex paint on fabric: my latex paint printed fabrics have a soft hand.

How to make the fabric wash-fast: Yes, the paint will not wash out.

I will also cover what has worked, and what has not for me.

So, if you are ready to be experimental, join me!

Subscribe to my posts so that you do not miss a single installment.

How to: Textile Printing with Latex house paint

How to: Textile Printing with Latex house paint

 

DIY Printing Stamp with Craft Foam Shapes

In honor of Valentine’s Day I’ve whipped up a quick little printing project using craft foam shapes.  These are perfect for making your own printing stamps that you can use to stamp paper, fabric or anything else you can think of!

foam_piclab

The craft foam shapes are great because most of the cutting work is done for you. They also come with adhesive already on the back, making your stamps ready to attach to your stamping block. You can use the shapes as is, arranging them into your own design:

IMG_1428

Or further customize the stamps by cutting some intricate shapes into the stamps for a more organic look.

IMG_1430

Once your shapes are cut to your liking and arrange them in your desired pattern.  Peel of the adhesive backing and stick to on a piece of glass, acrylic block or wood block, and Voila! You’ve got a custom stamp. You can use this stamp with an inkpad on paper, or with fabric paint on fabric.

IMG_1443

Now print with abandon on your paper, fabric or other substrate. So, raid your kids craft stash and go forth and make something pretty!