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1  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: April 18, 2006 01:36:54 AM
these cat pillows look fabulous! you did a really good with the halftone because there is still so much details in the cat print. great job!

thank you!  that's so sweet of you to say.  i think the halftone option was probably the best bet to keep the illusion of shading. 
2  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: April 16, 2006 05:34:06 PM
Great product of creativity and feline-goodness! Are they for sale? Grin

yaw...i've sold a few upon request.  feel free to email me at audrey@constantstate.com or message me here if you're still interested.   Smiley
3  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: February 25, 2006 03:12:16 AM
I've seen a few people talk about how they've seen similar pillows in stores and online- here's just a few stores I literally stumbled upon that carry them:

$40 at Uncommon Goods

$84 Doe at Environment 337

Your cat is definitely the best!

wow...these pillows are everyone now!  i saw some similar ones a little after i made mine, but oh well.  what can you do, you know.  my photo rendering process is different from any of the ones i've seen tho.  and i would never charge that much if i mass produced them!

but thank you for the kind words.   Cheesy
4  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: zelda wind waker print on: February 14, 2006 02:54:18 PM
amazing print!  that looks like it took a lot of patience.  you should take advantage of it by reprinting it on every possible surface (walls, car, couch cushions, toilet seat, stove).

i love your icon by the way.   Grin miyazaki
5  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: February 12, 2006 05:44:27 PM
wow! impressive....was the silk screening part intimidating?http://


not the silkscreening in particular but the making of the screen from scratch since it was my first time.  that was kind of a pain in the ass. 
6  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: January 31, 2006 10:19:34 PM
first off. this is great, just fab.

secondly, i've been screen printing for 2 years, and i've always cut from the green sheet things. could you describe how you burned the image into a transparency with a lightbulb? thanks!

sure thing...

coating the screen
i start off with a screen that's at least an inch wider/longer on all sides of the image i want to print (i.e. if i have an image that's 7x9", my screen should be at least 8x10"). then i coat it with the photo emulsion* in a dimly lit area.  i use a plastic spoon to scoop the emulsion and pour a line of it on one end of the screen.  then i use a squeegee to coat one side of the screen.  i repeat this process until the screen is completely and evenly coated.  instead of repeating the process for the back of the screen, i just run my squeegee over the other side until the emulsion is even.  i've noticed that the amount of emulsion i apply to one side of the screen is usually enough for both sides. 

when enough emulsion has been applied to the screen, i usually place it in a closet and run a fan to dry the emulsion.  without the fan, the drying process takes hours.  with the fan, i usually let it run at least one hour just to make sure it's completely dry - if you attempt to burn your image onto a wet screen, the emulsion will wash out when you wash the "stencil" off. 

the image
as far as the image is concerned, i always create and render whatever design i have in mind in photoshop.  basically, the image has to be black and white.  not grayscale, but completely black.  there are several ways to achieve this result.  let me know if you want more details on this part of the process.  then the image needs to be printed onto a transparency.  the easiest way to take care of this part, unless you do a lot of printing yourself, is to print your image onto regular paper then take it to kinkos and ask them for two transparencies (you want to print the same image twice for darker results by way of layering).  then just make two photocopies of your image onto the transparencies.  tape them on top of each other - the darker the better, and since it's a transparency, there's always some opacity even with black ink.

for burning i use a 200 watt lightbulb inside of a brooder lamp that can handle up to 300 watts.  i'ved used a 200 watt lightbulb in a lamp for 150 watts, and that was fine.  you can find these lamps at home depot.  they come with a clamp, and i believe they're aluminum.  my burning process is rather make-shift and kind of amusing.  i clamp the lamp to a broomstick and prop the broom stick between two chairs to elevate from the ground.  then i place my screen with the dried emulsion on it on top of some books or shoe boxes so that there's about 15 inches of space between the screen and the lamp.  you can improvise this part as long as there's that 15 inch gap.  it's also very important to cut a piece of black paper or cardstock the size of the screen and place that underneath the screen between whatever the screen is resting on top of.  it's also important that the flat side of the screen is on top.  this is kind of hard to explain, but basically if you image that the screen is like a box with no lid, the bottom of the box should be facing upward.  hope that makes sense.  then you position your transparency with the image on top of the screen.  the transparency should be reversed so that it appears as the opposite of how you want it to actually look when it's printed.  basically, just flip the transparency over.  you want to put a piece of glass on top of the transparency, which is sitting on top of your screen.  the pressure of the glass will ensure consistency in the printing.  your lamp should be centered 15 inches above the screen and then turned on.  i usually let it burn for about 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the print.  i would say don't let it go for longer than 45 minutes to prevent over-burning.  the time factor actually makes a huge difference in the result. 

when you're done burning, turn the light off and then take off the glass and transparency.  you should see a difference between your "stencil" and the rest of the emulsion, which is actually the part that's been burned.  the stencil portion of your screen needs to be washed out immediately and not exposed to too much light.  i've read a lot of instructions that suggest washing the screen with a hose or something more powerful than your average faucet.  what i do is run the bath faucet and wash out as much of the stencil as i can.  then i use a toothbrush to scrub out what doesn't wash out, which is usually the finer details of the stencil.  i do this to both sides of the screen until the stencil portion of the screen is transparent - in terms of how the screen originally looked.  the difference will be obvious. 

if you want to print as soon as you've washed your screen, you should run the fan on the screen again until it's completely dry.  this takes no time at all - usually around 10 minutes or so.  i always tape off all four edges of my screen on both sides of the screen with masking tape b/c my emlusion isn't always applied perfectly evenly on those edges.  again, if you imagine that your screen is like a box without a lid, place the bottom of the box on top of whatever material you're going to be printing on.  if you print a lot, i would recommend creating a hinge-based mechanism for printing.  it helps with precision as well as stability.  i use a spoon to scoop the ink and apply a thick line of the ink on one edge of the screen, extending the length of the design.  then i use my squeegee to run the ink over the stencil, onto the material.  the way in which you use the squeegee makes a huge difference in consistency.  i think a 45 degree angle works best.  and then depending on what type of ink you're using, i would run it over the stencil at least a few times.  with some inks, usually light ink on dark material, i'll squeegee my screen 10+ times.  with dark inks on light material, i usually just have to squeegee it a few times.  i'm always stabilizing my screen with one hand while i squeegee with the other.  was this part redundant?  it's probably similar to what you're already experienced with.

*http://www.dickblick.com/zz433/04/ - the speedball diazo photo screen printing emulsion works fine, and instructions are provided in terms of mixing.

i hope all that made sense.  i know there are a lot of good resources already on this forum.  this site (http://www.barrysfarm.com/applying_a_photographic_emulsion_to_homemade_silk_screens.html) is rather helpful as well.  just keep in mind that his screens are homemade, which i don't recommend doing unless you print a lot and don't want to reuse screens, or if you're printing something that's larger than a screen you can purchase (i.e. my cat pillow).
7  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows on: January 05, 2006 04:48:39 PM
LOL, your cat looks EXACTLY like my sister's Monster-Kitty. Hobbes likes to sprawl just like that!

what an appropriate name for a monster kitty!  Cheesy
8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows on: January 05, 2006 04:04:16 PM
thank you for all the wonderful words! 

i did indeed silkscreen the pillows.  i was going to post a half-assed tutorial but then dediced i should take some pics while making one for a more detailed tutorial.  but in the meantime, i'll just type up something simple in the original post.
9  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / Re: cat pillows on: January 04, 2006 09:15:14 PM
that's so cute!  though for a minute there i thought you scanned your cat.

it looks like it, huh?  i just noticed that.  i think he was posing for me because that's the exact image i wanted for the pillow.
10  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / cat pillows - tutorial added, sort of! on: January 04, 2006 05:19:06 PM
my cat, eli, is kind of infamous around these parts (okay, just amongst my friends), so i thought i'd spread his love this holiday season by turning him into a pillow for gifts.

original photo

x-posted on craftgrrl

*****edit w/tutorial (eventually to be revised with photos hopefully)*****

the image
so i started out with getting my cat to pose for me and rendering the photo in photoshop to keep as much detail as possible but still be simple enough for silkscreening ( photo emulsion method).  to be more specific, i changed the image from rgb to light grey, grey, and black.  and then i replaced the light grey and grey with various degrees of just black color halftone (filter > pixelate > color halftone) to give the appearance of shading since it had to be completely black and white for the printing process.  

this is what the final image looked like except much larger of course.  

the screen
the image came out to about 22" x 10".  i ended up making my own screen based on the tutorial at barry's farm (http://www.barrysfarm.com/constructing_silk_screen_frames_at_home.html), which was so incredibly helpful.  i got the screen fabric at dickblick.com (their west la store is actually about 20 minutes away, but they're always short on silkscreening supplies) and the wood from home depot.  i made a screen that measured about 26" x 14" and after completing it, i wished i had just purchased one, but i couldn't find one big enough at the time, so it all worked out in the end!  

the actual process of silkscreening was pretty standard.  because my cat was so big, i chopped him up into three pieces and printed him onto three separate transparencies (the image, not my cat, but the idea is kind of amusing).  i used two lamps with 200 watt lightbulbs to burn the image and left them on for just under 45 minutes.  if i did this again with such a large image, i would probably leave them on for closer to 35 minutes and rotate them more during the process.  

i bought several yards of pink, green, and off-white fabric (i'll be more specific about this later - i can't remember exactly what kind of fabric) and several yards of brown velvety fabric for the back.  the color of the fabric ink is brown as i wanted it to match the back brown velvety fabric as much as possible.  before the printing process, i cut all of the front pillow fabric to size, which was about the size of the screen.  then i just printed them all at once and let them dry overnight.  i had to use a lot of ink since the image was so large!  i ended up using about 2.5 bottles of the smaller container of ink (will follow with specifics) for about 20 cats.  i guess it doesn't seem like that much, but i'm used to printing much smaller designs on t-shirts.  i ironed all the prints with just a manilla folder between the iron and the print the next day even though i doubt anyone will be washing these pillows.  it was mostly for my own reassurance.  

the sewing process was pretty straightforward.  i placed the printed side of the fabric against the velvety side of the back fabric and pinned it together with about an inch margin (i realized that if i sew too close to the actual print, my cat ends up looking like an upside down koi fish).  the more margin, the less of a of a billowy cat - if that makes sense.  i cut it out, sewed it, stuffed it, stitched it up, and ta-da!  a pillow was born.  

that was kind of long-winded.  i'll definitely clean it up when i add photos.  let me know if i didn't cover something or if you have any questions!  
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