Life of Johanna / Printing

Ramblings and screen printing failures

A bit quiet here for the last few weeks. Sometimes time seems to pass so very fast. Partly my blog silence is due to a big flux of Etsy orders which has kept me really busy and partly because I have not felt particularly up lately due to some circumstances. And being somewhat down pretty much kills my inspiration unfortunately.

Well, this too shall pass I hope, and I do have several things that I have planned to blog about. Like my screen printing disaster weekend – to keep with the theme of doom and gloom!

One thing I really hate is when I make some progress and then suddenly seem to take a step backwards. That was roughly what happened when I took a two day screen printing class a couple a weeks ago. After semi successfully printing at home with makeshift equipment I expected to do really well in a more pro environment. However everything just kept going wrong for me, I did several beginner mistakes, like not taping the holes in the screen which ended up staining the fabrics. I also picked a red colour that kept bleeding and worse I didn’t trust my instincts on some parts of the process. On a good day I can think of this experience as “one step back, two step forward” kind of process. But with some other straining things going on in my life I just left the class feeling very disheartened.

What I can show you is some photos on how the screen printing with photo emulsion works.

 First you print or photocopy the design on transparent film.
Next step is to burn the frame. Which basically means that you apply the print to a frame that is covered with green photo emulsion. You use lights for this process and after a few minutes you rinse the frame in water which makes the areas with the print dissolve, hence creating a stencil. 
Then you place the frame on the fabric and use a kind of spatula to apply the colour.

I thought I had this brilliant idea to make the leaf print in black and red, but every run I did ended up with some really bad looking leaves and colour stains.

This is how I wished that everything would look like. I think there is some potential, but I wonder if I have the patience to try again. 


  • Karen
    December 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Actually what you tried is somewhat complicated for a new printer. I am impressed.

    I too, have definitely experienced a steep learning curve in trying to get my end results to look like what I have envisioned in my head.

    Hand printing will have some imperfections. The other mistakes (like not taping holes in your screen) are things that you will learn from.

    Try it again.

  • Handmade
    December 8, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    I think your print looks great – don't be disheartened – great design!

  • Johanna
    December 9, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Karen: This is so very encouraging to hear. I will really try to take your wise words to heart!

    Handmade: Thank you. My boyfriend designed the print for me a few years back and I'm very fond of it.

  • Lisette M
    December 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    The design is just beautiful! The best of luck perfecting the process.

  • sdBev
    December 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Johanna This is a process that I'm very interested in. I've bought some supplies but lack the courage to try them out. Please keep posting your experience

  • luckylibbet
    December 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Looks great to me! You must be a real perfectionist.


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