Screen Printing

To ensure I get the most from my time at the college and to expand my skills wherever possible I took advantage of a screen printing induction that was being held in the print room. Surprisingly I was the only one that showed up but decided this was only a good thing, enabling me to ask as many questions and to take as many photos as I wanted.

Screen Stripping

The introduction talked us through how to strip a screen, making it ready to use for printing.

  • To begin with use the mask, gloves and apron provided as the chemicals used may be harmful to your skin.
  • Next use the small bucket provided along with a sponge to gather the screen stripping solution and use it to wipe down the screen.

  • You should be able to see the emulsion breaking down almost instantly and after 3/4 mins it will be complete.
  • Make sure the blue light on the wall is off before turning on the switch of the power hose.


  •  Use the power hose to wash down the screen

And now your screen is reclaimed and after being left to dry is ready to have your chosen image that you want to print transferred onto it.

Applying Your Image

I chose to use an image of my company logo which I wanted to screen print onto some canvas bags as well as boxes used to sell my products in. The logo itself, which I created through photoshop, is quite simple which I thought was a good place to start whilst I’m still getting used to screen printing.

So I went to the print room with two versions of my image, one large one small, printed off onto some plain paper. The first step was to photocopy the images onto acetate.


Once they were on the acetate it was time to transfer it onto my screen which had already been coated in the chemical solution, needed to burn the image, by the technician. I placed the screen with the acetate laid on top on the self contained exposure unit. It is important to make sure the side of the screen that would face the material intended for printing is facing downwards whilst being exposed.


Then I closed the lid and used the clips to lock it…


And pressed the ‘vacuum’ button to start the process…

You can then see it creates a vacuum around the screen…

And then you just need to wait for the counter to count down to 50.

Once the screen has been exposed it’s important to take it directly to the sink to be rinsed so it’s best to leave it in the exposure unit until the sinks are free to be used.

So when at the sink it needs to be washed down to reveal the image…

Then once it’s nice and dry it’s ready to be used.

Using the Screen to Print

I was really nervous about printing with my screen as I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, especially getting the image central, luckily with a little bit of measuring I managed to line everything up.


Then I used the squeegee to apply the dye, holding it at an angle as I firmly pulled it towards me and over my screen.



There were some casualties along the way, the longer I was printing for the more dye got everywhere which resulted in one or two smudges but overall it was really successful. I did manage to get into a routine though which meant I achieved a lot (20 bags and 15 boxes) within my allocated time slot.


I feel far more confident now and am eager to try more complicated designs and to experiment with different colours.


Creating Samples and Idea Deveolpment

Samples and idea development

Our next project that followed on from this was to create a range of samples, using only paper and inspired by any number of words taken from a selection we were given. We were paired up for this task and were each given a role of Design director or Assistant. I was paired with Byron and given the role of Design Director which involved me having creative control as well as the responsibility to talk through our ideas and concept to the group.

I knew that working with Byron would be a challenge, but one I was keen to take on, so we discussed the idea of having as much variety in our samples as possible whilst focusing primarily on the words ‘grid’, ‘boundaries’,

These are the majority of the samples I created. I attempted a box pleat with definite, sturdy looking folds which was a contrast to my fan like sample that showed curved, waves. They were both inspired by the word ‘contour’, demonstrating how much variety you can get from the same starting point.

These samples are mainly Byron’s, my favourite of which was his experimentation with ‘boundaries’ which involved him putting the paper in his mouth to scrunch it. Although his method seemed doubtful at the time (and still needs modifying) he managed to create an amazing texture and depth. It reminds me of scrunched taffeta, pictured bellow.

Here you can see I used a map to create a woven grid like sample. I love how the image which was once made using precision and purpose is taken apart and the reconstructed in completely nonsensical and random fashion. (As well as the fact that it would make a great coaster.)

The samples that where chosen by Sarah (our client in this scenario) where the scrunched up paper by Byron (on the provision he used his hands and not his mouth) and the curly paper samples of mine shown bellow.

Garment Construction

The final stage of the project was to recreate our samples on a larger scale and then use them to create a dress by pinning them to a manikin. Again I was absent and so I missed the opportunity to finish this with Byron but I continued it in my own time at home. I began by using large petal shaped pieces of scrunched paper to construct a skirt. As you can see I layered them up to create body and volume, using extra bits of paper in between to extenuate it further.

For the bodice I took another piece of scrunched paper and marked out the bust point and added two darts using pins, giving it the shape needed to fit to the mannequin. When I attached it the top corners folded down naturally which I felt worked really well and so I decided to leave it like that. I had originally decided to use the swirls as a way to add detail to the bodice but was satisfied with the more simplistic yet stylish (despite being made from paper) look the dress had taken on, so I opted to leave the bodice plain.

I had only used one technique instead of two so I decided to incorporate the swirls subtly by using a pencil to curl up the edges of the ‘petals.’ The idea derived from an ornamental bowl that I spotted on my worktop and embraced the petal/flower element of the dress.

Originally I had purposefully curled the edges inwards but prefer this more dainty version.

Both the scrunched paper and curled edges were aspects of the garment that I wouldn’t have used if it wasn’t for my collaboration with Byron and the direction given by Sarah and yet are key components in it’s creation. This is a great example of how we need to use outside influences to develop our work and to enhance our ideas.

paper dress finished

Sewing Machine Introduction

Introduction to the sewing machines

I was not in the morning session where we were inducted to the sewing machines and advised on the health and safety aspects of using them, fortunately as I have attended the college previously this is something I am already aware of and am confident when using a sewing machine. However here is the handout of the health and safety guidelines:

During the morning session the group had been experimenting with the various settings on the machines and getting to grips with them by sewing onto paper. As I wasn’t in I attempted this at home on my own machine but ended up opting for scrap fabric as the paper was ripping and clogging up my machine.

It was a great opportunity to experiment with all the settings that I don’t often get time to use, such as more intricate patterns. I also enjoyed the fact that I was sewing with no purpose or direction. As someone who is constantly thinking ahead to the completed project, which is something we are discouraged from doing, it was good to just see how it developed.

I began with an orange thread and tried out a few different types of stitching, finding that with more complicated stitches the faster I went the poorer the quality was. I then layered it with a mint green, but in the picture it looks white and then finished it with a ‘x’ border using a combination of orange and green in the bobbin.

In this close up you can see the detail better, in particular the wavy line that gets thicker and thinner which is my favourite. This task reminded me of the map work we had been doing as the stitching was going in different directions, crossing over in places. It’s familiar to lot’s of little journeys differentiated by each type of stitch.