Assignment 2 – Screenprinting with paper & powder resists

Paper & powder resist techniques using printing inks.

I tried a range of samples on different fabrics and have detailed each below with progress photos.  Most pictures were taken whilst the fabrics were still on the work surface, hence the slightly skewed shapes.

Print 1

Print1bcPlain white cotton fabric.  Paper strips – from the shredder – as a resist on the screen.  From top left: 1. first yellow print – 2. second yellow print – 3. new arrangement of shredded paper overprinting the first layer in pink – 4. the same as 3 but with an additional red print over the previous two layers.

At this stage I hadn’t learned how to reposition the screen for further print layers very well.  I understand this is called the registration.

Print 2

Print 2acPlain white cotton fabric.  Left: Mid blue ink with white to lighten.  Although all the inks were bought at the same time the white has thickened a lot and it was difficult to mix.  On each sample it was very hard to print a solid colour as the white had a drying effect on the blue it was mixed with so it dragged and left tiny, tiny flecks of paint at the front edge.  The more I tried the worse it got so I cut my losses and stopped.  Right:  Cut photocopy paper stencils (positive image) used as a resist when applying a second layer of colour.

Print 2efLeft: the negative image of the previous stencil, i.e. the remainder of the paper once the image has been removed, was taped to the base of the screen to add the purple layer.    This was repositioned to create the partial prints on the edge of the piece.  To soften this surface image, to integrate them into the background more, I pressed a textured paper hand towel over the surface which lightened the print and gave the purple images a less solid appearance with ‘bobbles’.  It can just be seen in the photo.  This negative image was created using a type of plastic paper, similar to freezer paper, which can be washed and reused as opposed to the paper cutouts above which had to be discarded.  Right:  only two printed layers but with the addition of purple as my first trial in colour mixing.  Here I’m starting to get the hang of the quantity of paint and the pull position as I’ve achieved a much crisper image and the registration is quite accurate.

Purple was created with mid blue and brilliant pink.

Print 3

Print3aCalico.  A solid yellow base was printed.  Powder was shaken on to paper, the screen placed on top and an orange print was taken.  The powder adhered to the screen forming a resist and this was then printed over the yellow.  I did not add more paint for the second fabric print so as to see the orange fading out with more of the under layer showing.  It was a good experiment to see how far paint goes and what effects can be produced.  You can see the whole effect is lighter than the sample on the left.

Orange was created with bright yellow and brilliant pink.


Commercial punches were used to create paper flower shapes.  These were used as a resist when painting the green layer.  The green was thinned using Extender so some aspects of the orange/yellow would come through.

Green was created with golden yellow, a smidge of black and mid blue.

Print3cA Contact (sticky back plastic) template was stuck to the underside of the screen and further paper flowers were used as resists for this final deep green layer.

Print3dRight:  close up showing all layers and how the Extender has allowed the two undercoats to show through the lighter green.

The dark green was created with golden yellow and black.

The registration of the piece is quite good considering there are four layers and I’m happy with the overall result.

Print 4

Print4bcReverse side of white cotton fabric with a white on white embossed flower design.  I started here with golden yellow and red in alternating bead puddles at the head of the screen which was turned portrait orientation.

For the first pull I didn’t get the squeegee neatly across the screen and didn’t have an even pressure, as you can see on the left.

The second pull was more successful.  The print has a more uniform solidity (the first attempt has more paint in some areas than others) and the blending is quite lovely.

Print4deMasking tape was torn and attached in strips to the screen as a resist.

The first sample to the right is of the more blended piece overlaid with brown.

The second sample (using the less blended base) has the same overlaid brown print then the screen was rotated 180 degrees and another brown layer was printed.

The brown was created with brilliant pink and mid blue, to give purple, then bright red was added which changed the colour to a gorgeous warm brown.

Print 5

Print5abThe aim was to create a ‘holey’ design on a reusable resist.  I free machined an old Tyvek envelope, taped it down and zapped it with the heat gun to create holes.  It stayed very flat due to the stitching.  The stitching was then removed and the stencil taped to the screen.

Print5cdBright red was mixed with Extender and a solid print was taken.  As the base fabric was a beige counted-threadwork canvas (very thick) the paint sat heavily on the surface so I took some kitchen hand towel, placed it over the top and pressed it into the paint.  This gave me an additional print and a slight patterning on the fabric paint surface whilst having pressed the paint into the fabric.


Print5fI tried printing the Tyvek resist several times, both on the painted background and also onto the plain fabric.  It didn’t work well. It looks like this type of stencil is too thick.  The picture, right, is my trial on paper and the build-up of paint can be clearly seen.  The patterning is wonderful and I can probably use this stencil in the future with a stencil brush.

So I’m still trying to work out a way to produce a re-usable resist with serendipitous random holes for screen printing.

Print 6

Lightweight silk was used as a base.  A solid black print was laid down.  Plastic paper (like freezer paper) feet shapes were cut by hand and a grey print applied over the black.

Print6bcA powder resist was applied and the deep purple was screenprinted over the surface.

This sample was done twice due to the difficulties of working on the silk.  As soon as the fabric paint hits the silk the fabric starts to stretch and distort.  This can clearly be seen in the left hand photo where it’s hard to appreciate just how many pins are holding the fabric in place.  I considered unpinning and repinning the fabric more tightly but then the image would be a different size and shape to the screen for further layering.  On the right you can see a small shadow around some of the feet where the screen slipped very slightly when printing – another problem with a silky slick surface fabric.

Even though I waited until it was completely dry before the final layer I can see where the powder resist has produced a very light coating over the grey and black prints.  I’m sure that this will come off once it is washed and I’ll get back the crisp black foot-prints.  However, my current problem is that although I have heat-set the paints as per the manufacturers instructions when I test a small area for durability the paints continue to bleed out.  I’m not sure where to go with that other than to continue to try to heat-set until it works.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Textiles 1: Exploring Ideas and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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