Help! I am trying to put together a Rita Skeeter Halloween costume and have been searching Ebay like crazy for a green satin suit to vamp up. I have found a lime green suit but it's not shiny, and have found a satin suit but it's white (with some embroidery). I am thinking of trying to dye the white satin and pick out the embroidery but it seems to me that satin may not take dye. Does anyone know if this can be done? Your help is much appreciated.
When I was in art school we used a spray bottle with half water, half bleach and then another bottle with an all-purpose cleaner (we used Greased Lightning, but sometimes at home I use whatever I have). You spray the living daylights out of both sides of your WET screen and then "harp" it, with a scrub brush (ours had nylon bristles) on both sides. My screen is huge, but it may be a little awkward to "harp" it with a smaller screen. I imagine that scrubbing really well on both sides would do. Then you let it sit for 5 minutes or so, and rinse with as high pressure as you can find. My shower works ok--high pressure makes your job easier.
Repeat this process as many times as you have to. Usually It takes me 3 or 4 times with a very large screen. This will not remove the ghost image, but that won't affect your printing anyway.
I am not sure if it matters when you cut the paper. I have always seen things trimmed or whatever after printing when people use registration pins and such. The shape of the paper does not matter, but flatness generally does. Don't fold the paper first is what I mean. When I used to do prints on paper, I never needed to hold it down with anything. It might stick to the underside of your screen when you do a pass, but just pull it off if it does. I suppose you could tape down your paper with some kind of easy remove tape (so as not to damage the paper), but that would slow you down considerably. Also, taping down the paper could screw up your registration once you have the paper placed where you want it. In school, our department had no money so we didn't have regisration pins and just used a clear mylar overlay taped to the table. You tape it down one side, do your first pass on it, and then you can position your paper exactly where you need to as long as your screen is hinged into the table. When you're done with your first run is done, wipe the mylar clean and repeat for the next color.
"As for stretching the screen, it's easy enough. And unlike stretching actual canvas, tightness isn't a factor."
The tighter your screen, the better your lift (which results in less ink spooges)! In my very first screenprinting class, the first thing we all did was make huge screens. Soak the screen in water a bit before you stretch it (like 15 minutes), then stretch like a canvas. When it dries it should be pretty taut. It also helps to varnish your wood after, along with about a half inch of the border of the screen to make the sceen last if you will be reclaiming it.
If you have someone that can help you make your own frame from wood (Home Depot will do six cuts for free!) using simple lap joints, you can make a huge one! My first screen (which I still have) was 4ft.x4ft. This means if you're doing multiple colors, you can have them all exposed on one screen!
I know you posted this a couple of months ago, but I wanted to respond to your registration issue. Just tape down some clear acetate (or mylar, or other see through and reasonably rigid material) down one side, do your first print on it, flip it up (make sure your taped side is secure and stationary), put down your shirt, flip the acetate back down and adjust your shirt to lie where you want the print. Repeat for each color. Perfecto! I love the shirt by the way.
Emo kids always have the best t-shirts and if they look DIY, they're even better. Try hand making a cardboard stencil of her favorite band(s) and spray paint the hell out of it onto a t-shirt. This is cheap and you can make multiples, because t-shirts come in packs. I once did this for my boyfriend but with bleach. He's not very emo, bit it's another idea. I also did boxers this way that said ridiculous things like "I love jess" and whatnot. Anyway, just an idea.
I don't know how much money you are looking to spend but the best ever gift might be a Needlemaster. It's a kit of circular needles with a range of needle sizes and different size cords that make up endless combinations of circular needle sizes. These run about $99 but I got mine on Ebay for $40. Much cheaper than buying multiple circular needles.
As far as smaller knick knacks, I always lose my tapestry needles too so those are good. You can never have too many stitch holders, and in various sizes. Stitch markers are good, and I liked the suggestion about tiny scissors. Maybe she likes bamboo needles? A friend of mine gave me a bunch for my last birthday and I LOVE them! I always find measuring tape extremely helpful, too. You gotta measure how far along you are sometimes.
I have pieced together the rear pockets from multiple pairs of jeans and used the waistbands as back and neck straps. I have recently become obsessed with making shirts to show off the tat in progress!