Hand-printed textiles

red bird hand print t towelHi everyone, I have been away from Beetroot Press for a few weeks, I thought I would share some photos showing how I screen printed the Garden Birds design, by hand, onto tea-towels.  Silk-screen printing is a traditional hand-printing technique which used to use silk to stencil the design onto fabric, we now use a polyester mesh instead of silk.  The fabric you are printing onto has to be made from natural fibres for the ink to bond to the fibres, and these tea-towels are 100% organic cotton.  I give them a quick iron before pinning them down to the print table.

screen printing techniques at beetroot press

The silk-screen is clamped to the table so it holds it’s position while printing multiple t-towels.  Once the screen is in the correct position, on top of the fabric, I add the ink to the top of the screen.  The screen works as a stencil, ink coming through where there are spaces in the design.

hand printed textiles beetroot press

The ink must be evenly distributed across the top.  I use a rubber squeegee which fits the screen, to pull the ink from the top of the screen…

how to print fabrics beetrootpress

…to the bottom.  I do this a couple of times at least to ensure the ink goes evenly through the screen onto the fabric underneath.  Usually the prints can differ slightly from one to the next depending on how hard you press, how much ink is on the squeegee blade or whether it’s a good or a bad day!  I quite like the fact they are all slightly different because it makes each one individual, sometimes they can go really wrong but even these can have a charm of their own, giving a more antiqued faded look, blurred or quirky slant.

creating your own textiles beetrootpress

I lift the screen, keeping fingers crossed it has printed ok, and give a big smile if it looks good.

silk screen printing techniques at beetrootpress

Next I take out the pins from around the edges of the tea-towel and hang it up to dry (without using my mucky fingers).   And on with the next one….Tra la la

hand printing fabrics beetroot press

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