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Last Wednesday I continued my try-new-crafts odyssey with an hour long introduction to screenprinting class, hosted by in.cub8r in the Valley.

I didn’t mention the workshop space last week – it’s a currently vacant shop on Brunswick St, just 2 doors up from the in.cub8r shop. It’s a very groovy space – perfect for crafting… and it’s a shame that it’s only temporarily available, I would love to go to more of these sorts of classes! The key about these is that they’re run at lunchtime, which is fabulous for me as it means I can get in and out of the city during the day. I don’t particularly like having to traipse around the city late on a weeknight, as it takes me so long to get home.

So! Screen printing. Honestly, I never realised just how easy it can be.

The workshop was run by Donna (the lady in the green) from Kiss My Patootie. She made it super-simple by having everything ready to go – the ready-made screens, the tote bags, and all the materials. It was a great, informal hour of playing around, all of us trying different designs.

The following is a bit of a crash course in screen printing – the pictures are a bit of a mash-up of the day, but you’ll get the idea.

First, you need to begin by taping off around the design you want to print. This is to stop the ink leaking out the sides and ruining your bag/tshirt etc.

We used a simple water-based ink on cotton, just in black. Of course, there are a lot of different types of ink, but this is as basic as it gets.

The next step is to take a spoonful of ink and spread it out along the ‘top’ of the design – whichever end you’re going to be pulling the ink from.

Then it’s time to pull out the squeegee! You do 2 passes – the first is a light pass to flood the screen, the second is a much firmer pass to make sure the ink transfers through onto your tote.

It helps to have someone holding down the frame, as you have to be pretty forceful with the second pass. Then, you need to carefully lift the screen off, straight up without smudging the ink.

And voila!

The ink needs to dry, and you need to set it, as it’s water-based. Donna said you could run it through a hot dryer for 1/2 an hour or so.

In honour of my bud Amanda (who has her FIRST EVER roller derby bout this weekend – woot woot, go girl!), I decided to make a roller disco tote for her (and one for me, too, ’cause it’s so damn cute).

Fun times!


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