Tag Archives: textile design

DIY Aztec Print Tote

Earlier this week I worked on a quick and fun DIY project – a stenciled tote. I’ve been using the tote I made in the Lotta Jansdotter workshop, but it’s starting to wear out a bit, so I thought it was time to make myself a new one!

I decided to print a 4 color design, so I had to make 4 different stencils – one for each color. Along with your stencils and tote, you’ll need fabric paint and a stencil brush.

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Even though it was a more complex design with multiple stencils, the process was simple – I just started with the first stencil, let it dry, moved to the next and so on…

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And the finished product…photo13

I’m so excited to use it! I think it is going to be a fabulous spring tote!

Also exciting – this was the first project I did in my craft room in my apartment! I still have quite a bit to organize and I have some cabinets to hang, but its definitely functional!photo16Happy Wednesday, everyone!

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If you liked this post, you may want to check out my DIY Stenciled Napkins.
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DIY Stenciled Napkins

With apartment decorating on my mind, I did a fun and simple DIY project last weekend – stenciled napkins! I have been thinking about how I can bring my own personality into my new space and one of the things I came up with was my very own set of cotton napkins. I had bought a pack of four from Michaels a couple of weeks ago and hadn’t done anything with them yet. So last weekend, I decided to turn them into a “new apartment” project. I came up with four different designs, one for each napkin because I wanted to have a set of four individual pieces, and got to work stenciling.

Here is a tutorial just for you, so you can try stenciling your own! (Remember, this doesn’t only apply to napkins. You can stencil anything you want, from napkins to pillowcases to t-shirts!)

What you’ll need:

–        a design (keep in mind that this is a stencil, so fine lines can be tricky!)

–        transparency paper (this is what I used as a stencil)

–        permanent marker

–        x-acto knife/razor blade

–        scrap fabric

–        napkins

–        fabric ink

–        stencil brush

–        masking tape

–        hard surface and some cardboard or newspaper to keep things clean

Supplies1

1. Pre-wash and iron your napkins. You will also need some test fabric, so it’s helpful if you have this ironed and ready to go as well.

2. Create your design – either draw or print your design onto paper (the black areas in my design are what will be cut out and made into a stencil) *Note: if you’re confident enough and don’t feel the need to pre-draw a design, then just draw it directly onto the transparency and skip to Step 4!

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my 4 designs all on one sheet of paper

3. Place a sheet of transparency paper over your design and trace it with a permanent marker.

Step1 Step2 Step2b

as you can see, I did two designs on each sheet of transparency, just to save paper

as you can see, I traced two designs on each sheet of transparency, just to save paper

4. Once you have traced your design, cut out the shapes using an x-acto knife. (don’t forget, you’re going to cut out all of the areas that were black)

Step3

5. Now that you have your stencils made, you’re ready to print. I suggest doing some test runs on scrap fabric before you stencil on your actual napkins. Unforeseen accidents are always possible, but it’s easier to avoid them if you do some tests prints first.

Step4 Step4a Step4b

first test run of all four designs

first test run of all four designs

I didn’t like the way the blue looked, so I decided to try the circles in yellow. I like the yellow better!

I didn’t like the way the blue looked, so I decided to try the circles in yellow. I like the yellow better!

6. If you’re happy with the way your test prints turned out, then you’re ready to print on your napkins. Take your napkin and lay it flat on your table. Make sure it is smooth and tape the sides down with some masking tape so that it doesn’t shift.

Step5

7. Then line your stencil up along the bottom of the napkin, tape down the sides, dip your stencil brush into ink, and stipple the ink onto the fabric.

Step5a

my stencil was not as wide as my napkin, so once I stenciled the first half, I just lifted the stencil, being careful not to smudge anything, and moved it over so I could stencil the remaining section.

my stencil was not as wide as my napkin, so once I stenciled the first half, I just lifted the stencil, being careful not to smudge anything, and moved it over so I could stencil the remaining section.

I decided I wanted to have my designs on the bottom and top of my napkin, so once I finished one edge, I just moved the stencil to the opposite end and repeated the process.

I decided I wanted to have my designs on the bottom and top of my napkin, so once I finished one edge, I just moved the stencil to the opposite end and repeated the process.

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8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the remaining napkins with your other designs.

Green Magenta Purple

9. When all of your napkins are stenciled, let them dry thoroughly and then iron them to heat-set the ink. (*Fabric ink must always be heat-set)

Once they are ironed, they are ready to use however you please! You can place them around your table…

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Arrange them in a basket for display…

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Or even hang them over a towel bar on your refrigerator or in your bathroom – they are decorative, yet useful!

now you can see why I printed both ends

now you can see why I printed both ends

Here are a few more shots…

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I really love the way they look. I love the simple geometric designs and the colors I chose and I think they are going to be great for my new apartment!

I hope this post inspires you to go do a stencil project! If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to drop me a note 🙂

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If you liked this post, you may want to check out my DIY Heart T-Shirt and my DIY Pillowcase

My Week via Instagram

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I finally organized my craft books in the basement and took some time to catch up on my magazine reading.

I rocked my Toms leopard fur botas all week and they kept my feet so warm!

We had a gallery opening on Friday night at work, so I got to dress up all fancy in my metallic gold skirt with a bow.

I finally caved and bought myself a bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume. I think it was a good investment because I’ve been receiving many compliments!

And I spent the weekend in the city celebrating my best friends 25th birthday. We splurged and decided to get a hotel, which turned into the greatest decision ever because the front desk greeted us with free, warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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If you liked this post, you may want to check out last week’s instagram recap.

Elephant Tote

Last night, I photographed the elephant tote I printed on Sunday. I absolutely love the way it came out! I made this bag for a friend, but I think I’m going to have to print myself one because he makes me so happy!

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P.S. This is my 50th post! I’m feeling quite accomplished today! Thank you to all of my family, friends, readers and fellow bloggers who have supported me for the last two months. I’m so glad you’ve decided to join me on this journey!

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I’m in Love!…with Screen Printing

Sunday, I took a Screen Printing Intensive at 3rd Ward in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was a six-hour workshop, which allowed plenty of time for explanation and hands on experimentation. Although it is a very involved process, I have fallen in love with the medium!

After much indecisiveness, I finally settled on my elephant with a balloon drawing. I was unsure what type of screen printing we were going to be doing (there are 3 kinds, which I will explain after) so I wanted something simple just in case a more detailed illustration would be difficult to achieve. Here is an image of the file I went into class with:

ElephantBalloon_Black

With screen printing, what you see is what you get, which means that it is a positive process, not a negative process. So basically, the black elephant is what is going to be printed.

Let me give you a brief overview of the three most common screen printing techniques (as I learned in my book Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin)

1. Paper Stencil Method: With this method, you cut out a paper stencil and then tape it to your screen so that it looks like this:

Then when you pass ink over the screen, it will only go through the areas you cut out. Here is a more detailed guide: http://celestinacarmen.blogspot.com/2008/07/paper-stencil-screenprinting.html

2. Screen Filler & Drawing Fluid: In this method, you paint your design onto your screen with drawing fluid and a brush and then you cover the entire screen with screen filler, so your screen will look like this:

The screen filler fills the areas of the screen that do not have drawing fluid, so when you go to print your design, the ink will only pass through the areas that had drawing fluid. With this method you can get a more detailed print than the paper stencil technique. Here are more detailed step by step instructions: http://kate-7ws.blogspot.com/2012/01/screen-printing-made-easy.html

3. Photo Emulsion: The third technique is called Photo Emulsion and this is the one we learned in class. The first step is to coat your screen in photo emulsion. This should be done in very low light (in class we used a red light, kind of like in a dark room) because the photo emulsion is light sensitive. Once your screen is coated, you let it sit in the dark so that the emulsion will dry. While you are waiting for your screen to dry, you can prep your image. Your design needs to be completely black and should be printed or drawn on transparency paper.

My design printed on a transparency

My design printed on a transparency

When you have your image ready and your screen is dry, you can move to the next step, which is exposure. In a low light room (again, just the red light, which you can get at a dollar store), you position your transparency on top of your screen and set a halogen light over it (preferably 500 watts). Once your screen and design are positioned the way you want, you expose it to light. Exposure times vary depending on your wattage, size of screen, and distance of light. We used a 150 W bulb that was about 18” over our screens and exposed them for 25 minutes. Basically, what’s happening during this stage is the light is passing through the transparency onto the emulsion-covered screen, but the black area, which is your design, does not allow light to pass through it. So everywhere the light hits, the emulsion will harden. Once your screen has been exposed, you hose it down and, everywhere there was black, the emulsion will wash off the screen:

Back of the screen, which is the side that was exposed

Back of the screen, which is the side that was exposed

Front of screen, which is the side you pass ink through

Front of screen, which is the side you pass ink through

Now, when you go to print, the ink will pass through the areas that had black on them, and not pass through the areas where the emulsion hardened. Here is a tutorial with images for each step: http://www.lilblueboo.com/2009/12/screen-printing-101-photo-emulsion.html

This method is definitely the most involved and probably takes the longest, but what’s really great about it is that it allows you to get very detailed designs. As I said before, I chose a simple design because I had no idea what method we would be using. I’m really excited to try this again at home though, because it will allow me to create very different illustrations than what I’ve been able to do with stamping. I can even turn some of my photos into silk screens and print them!

There are so many different possibilities with screen printing and what’s awesome is once you have your screen set up with ink, you can just print, print, print! So even though it may take awhile to prep a screen, production is so quick and easy.

Here are some photos of what I printed:

Test print on paper

Test print on paper

Printed on canvas totes

Printed on canvas totes

Close up of the tote

Close up of the tote

Also printed on T-Shirts

Also printed on T-Shirts

Yay for a new t-shirt!

Yay for a new t-shirt!

I’m really pleased with the way everything turned out! I think I’ll buy some more t-shirts and totes and maybe turn this design into an Etsy project for the day when I finally open a shop !

Stay Curious! xo…Alane