Screen printing with newspaper stencils

My class on screen printing has been running for 2 weeks now. There was quite a bit of preparation to do so I only started any printing this weekend. The first experiments were with newspaper stencils. These are quick and easy to make and great for a motif that you don’t want to repeat too often. I was amazed that the paper sticks quite firmly to the frame. I stuck it to the frame with a few dabs of glue stick – as suggested by someone on the course. It works a treat for a temporary fix to get started. Then the printing ink fixes it firmly to the frame. So firmly that I ended up using a nail brush to scrub it off.

The first stencil was made by tearing shapes out of newspaper.

These are my very first ever screenprints using Jacquard Professional screen printing ink. I didn’t get on well with this ink to begin with – it is quite thick and I found it hard to get a good print, as you can see.

My next attempt was with another newspaper stencil. I just draw some shapes on the paper, inspired by the pattern on the T-shirt I was wearing at the time and cut them out with a craft knife.

These were printed using Setacolor opaque fabric paint. This is runnier and was easier to use for my baby steps. I got 6 good prints and could have gone on with more. I was amazed at how robust the newspaper stencils are.

And here is a larger image of my favourite print, in fact the first one I made before the paint started mixing.

Newspaper stencils are great for a quick one off print. They are amazingly robust. I could have got even more prints from the stencil, but I wanted to move on the next method.

The first stencils produce a positive image. In other words you print the image that you design and the background remains as is. We were supposed to do some negative printing with found objects. I didn’t have any found object that was thin enough, so I made another newspaper stencil. I reused a design that I had created for an activity on my C&G course. Here is the stencil:

And here are the prints I made using a mixture of yellow Jacquard screen printing ink and the mixed up remains of the Setacolor paint from the previous prints – a bluey purple diluted down with some white Setacolor paint. Here you can see my problem that I don’t get such good printing out to the edges of the frame. I have a squeegee that fits exactly into the frame across the narrower edge and I don’t get enough pressure on the edges. Still it produces some quite interesting effects. Uses a large amount of ink though.

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