Screen Printing with Dye and a Silhouette, at

How to Make Great Screens for your Fiber Reactive Dye Printing – Part 2!

So somehow it’s been a month since part 1 of this post.  I’ll blame it on the quilt I needed to complete for my niece’s wedding. Which turned out great.  I’ll post about that soon.  But back to screen printing with dye.

Here is where we left off, with the screen complete and ready to use.

Screen Printing with Dye and a Silhouette, at

The next step is to prepare the 100% cotton t-shirt for dyeing.  This is an old shirt I just grabbed from my drawer.  It’s purple, and the dye I plan to use is black, so I think it will show well.  Always remember that dyes are additive, meaning that if you take a yellow shirt and add blue dye, you are going to get a green image.

Screen Printing with Dye and a Silhouette, at

How to Make Great Screens for your Fiber Reactive Dye Printing – Experiment #1

I’ve been on a voyage of experimentation, trying to understand how I can make a very detailed but easy to make screen for dye printing on fabric. We wanted a lot of flexibility with the screens, and we wanted them to be reusable and easily washed out. The method needed to work with very detailed designs as well as those with fewer precise cuts. I didn’t want to get into photo-resist screenprinting.  Having a good space for exposing a screen and washing out the resist was a problem. Here’s a peek at experiment 1:

Screen Printing with Dye and a Silhouette, at

The method we’ve been testing gets us 80% off the way to where we want to go. There is some fine tuning that we hope to present soon, but here’s what we have so far.  This is printing with fiber reactive thickened dye on cotton, but I’m sure this is all applicable to using inks or even some paints.  Thickened dye is just what we do.

Snow Dyeing, at

Snow Dyeing from the Spring

I did some snow dyeing earlier in the spring.  I always love the way these turn out.  I actually did two sessions, but I tried to capture my method, so some of these pics are from one session, and some are from the other.

I start off by soaking my pre-washed cotton fabric in a soda ash solution.  For simplicity’s sake, I mix up 1 Cup of sodium carbonate powder (soda ash) in 1 Gallon of warm water.  Some recipes are a little different, but this seems to work just fine and it’s easy.  Soak your fabric for 10-15 minutes in the soda ash. This soda ash solution will keep forever, so the leftovers can just be poured back into your container.

Snow Dyeing, at Craftalife.comHere’s my setup.  I have a larger plastic bin, and a plastic-coated mesh basket.  In between them, I have some small plastic contains, to lift the mesh bin off the bottom.  You want to avoid having your fabric (in the mesh bin) sitting later in the melted snow and dye, or your colors can get muddy. Don’t use metal containers, as they can react with the dyes, and the dye will just rinse off the plastic later.  But the containers must never be used for food again.