Printing Love Bears

Bear Screen Print

It is almost a year since I stitched a little hoop embroidery bear as a Valentine’s gift for my husband. This little bear has received a lot of love on social media and at the textile shows so by popular demand I have finally started to create a hoop embroidery kit.

One aspect of a new kit is new packaging and I really wanted to create a bag that would be both appealing and prove useful once the hoop embroidery was finished. I found some soft, white cotton, drawstring bags and plumped for screen printing the design on the front. I am the proud owner of a screen printing jig, emulsions and frames but I have to admit I have not yet plucked up the courage to use them! And I have chickened out yet again, choosing the option of a custom made Thermofax screen. These screens are made using 3M’s photocopying technology from the 1950s. A pure black and white image is exposed to Riso film, a heat sensitive plastic on a polyester mesh, to rapidly create a ‘silkscreen’ without the need for the photosensitive chemicals. The only possible downside is that the technology is not suitable for creating large solid print areas. However, with some clever use of hatching and textured lines it is possible to create areas of light and shade within an image.

Once I had drawn my bear on the computer I simply sent the image as a JPEG file to and within 24 hours, and at very reasonable cost, I had my screen. I have to admit it took another day to finally test the screen but what a revelation, with some beautifully coloured textile paints from I managed to get a perfect image first on paper and then on the cotton bags. It was quite interesting that the image was stronger on paper, possibly because it absorbed the paint more efficiently but two passes with the squeegee seemed to transfer well to the cotton.

Now to create a second screen with a less detailed bear to print on the linen for stitching, write some instructions and fingers crossed this little bear will be able to make his first outing at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia, 1st to 4th March 2018.


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