Jun 4, 2010

Lily Compass I: Creating the Screen

The Day has finally arrived to make this screen!  Here's the "Lily-To" Tutorial
(click on the pictures for larger images that you can "zoom" into)
  1. Gather Supplies
  2. Prepare your "dark room".  I use my guest bathroom because it doesn't have the traffic the other baths have and its so easy to get in and out.  Also, it conveniently has a sink and shower for rinsing the screen.
    1. Strategically place lamp with a red bulb to light your room.
    2. Create a work surface for the frame to sit on (Mine is a piece of foam core on top of the toilet)
    3. Gather supplies
  3. Cut out Chiffon with an extra two inches larger than your frame.  Example if you have a 5x5 Frame, then you will need a 7x7 frame.
  4. Assemble Frame and Chiffon to make screen.  The Chiffon needs to be as tight as possible in the frame (drum tight).
  5. Lightly scrub screen with a 50/50 solution of bleach and water with a soft bristled brush.  This will wash away any chemicals and prepare the fabric to accept the emulsion.  Thoroughly rinse with water. 
  6. Turn on the red bulb light, shut door, turn off regular lighting.
  7. With dry hands, take out one piece of the emulsion paper and cut to size to fit in your screen.  I'm fortunate that I have a cutter in the house - these can come in handy for quick work but not necessary.   NOTE:  I tried to the whole mixing of sensitizer and photo emulsion dance to really, really poor results.  Perhaps if I tried it a third time I'd get the hang of it... naw, the emulsion paper is SO much better!
  8. With the screen still wet (front and back - not dripping but close), lay the emulsion paper onto the screen with the "glossy" side up and mat side down.  The emulsion sheet needs to be put on the screen so that it sits inside of the frame.  Careful, you really only get one chance at laying it down (I tried to reposition and had to start over).  
  9. Run the squeegee back and forth a couple of times over the glossy part of the sheet.  Check the back of the fabric to make sure that there appears to be an even wet-ness to it.  If not, dribble a little bit of water and lightly run your squeegee across it.  
  10. Push your tack or push pins into the corners of the frame so that the fabric will have room to dry from under neath.
  11. Let the screen dry THOROUGHLY.  I put my screen in the bathtub with a fan blowing on it.  I tried to burn the screen after 3 or 4 hours but found that it was just not enough time.  I recommend leaving it overnight or 8 - 10 hours. 
  12. Post a sign on your door warning folks not to enter.
  13. Print Design onto Clear, Resin.  If you are using an InkJet printer then you will need two copies that are taped together.  This was another lesson hard learned.  Also, you want to make sure that the lines are thick enough.  My design is the thinnest that I recommend (yes, learned that one, too.)
  14. Let Dry at least an hour before touching.
  15. Back in your "dark" room with your design in tow.
  16. Remove the plastic sheet from the emulsified screen (careful not to turn on your light, use the red bulb).  The trick is to get this started in a corner - I used my craft scissors to get the corner started then pulled it off the rest of the way.  If the plastic sheet does not come off cleanly then it was not dry enough.  Should the emulsion pull away from the fabric then you can take a 50/50 mix of bleach and water and scrub the emulsion sheet off (takes a bunch of scrubbing so you may decide the chiffon is cheap enough to discard).
  17. Now you are ready for the burning process.  Put down your black fabric or craft paper (I used the paper) so that nothing white shows from under the screen.
  18. Position your light above the screen.  I have found that a 100 w light bulb simply burns way too fast for me.  Have several attempts I found that an ordinary Ott light works beautifully, with the 100 watt for the last 10 minutes of burning.  
  19. Place your design resin over the emulsion.  I use two pieces of tape to hold it in place.  The tape can go onto the frame or resin itself as long as you don't mind a bit of resin tearing off.
  20. Almost all of the literature I've ready recommends placing a piece of glass or plexiglass over the design but I found that it burned just fine without (the plexiglass that came in my kit was too big for my small frame so I moved on without it).
  21. Once the frame is ready, position under Ott light and turn on.  Start your Timer...
  22. My frame burned in exactly 1 hour.  I set my timer for 30 minutes and checked it every 10 minutes thereafter.  At 50 minutes it was close so I turn on the 100 watt bulb over the Ott light for the last 10 minutes of burning.  To "check" on your progress, simply flip up the resin to see if the light green lines of your design are quiet bright.  The tape will keep your design in place.
  23. Once satisfied, go over to your sink and rinse.  Caution - I've ready in many places that you can use a very soft nail brush but I do not recommend it. Actually, I recommend using your fingers as sparingly as possible.  Patience is a virtue when rinsing out your screen.  Wash from the front, then the back, then the front.  If the screen is not over-burned then the design will wash out pretty easy but it will take about 10 minutes.  If at 15 minutes you are still washing then it is over-burned or something happened to the emulsion.  I have used these sheets many times and had this happen only once when I reused a screen too many times.
  24. Let it dry.  I put it back in the tub with the fan for about 6 hours, minimum.
TADA!  Give yourself a happy - you've just completed your first screen.  I hope you enjoyed the process.  My compass screen has now made well over a dozen prints and going strong. 

Up Monday - printing on silk fabric, 18 ct mono, and even weave fabric.
Next Friday -- Embroidery!  Design and Color
Following Monday -- Embroidery: First stitches

Christa Lilystitch
 www.lilystitch.blogspot.com and www.lilystitch.com

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