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Crow Pillows: Screen Printing

crow pillow print

If you didn’t already know… my husband and I have a small screen printing company called Phantom Chicken.  Because our studio is in our basement, I’m a lucky girl when it comes to customized printing in my sewing projects!  My latest project is a Crow Pillow.

shooting crow screen

Here is the screen with the crow film on it, ready to shoot.  Screen printing is a process that uses light to create a stencil.  Here’s how it works:

  • First we create a design.  It has to be black and white to create a clean stencil.  This design was from a photo that a friend had taken.
  • We send this design file to a camera shop and have film positive’s made.
  • A coated screen is made by taking a clean screen and evenly spreading a photo-sensitive emulsion over it in a dark room.
  • Once we have the film and a coated screen, we put the film on the screen and shine a high-pressure sodium light on it for about 10 minutes.  This “sets” the emulsion hard on the screen while leaving whatever is opaqued under the film very soft.
  • Then the screen is rinsed with water and voíla: a hole or stencil is made in the screen.
washing crow screen

shot crow screen
  • At this point, the screen is ready to set up on press.
  • When the screen is on press, we pick an ink color and put it on the screen and then pull the ink through using a squeegee.  The squeegee pushes the ink through the hole in the screen and onto your fabric (or t-shirt).
ink on screen

printed crows

Color Matching

One pillow set I want to sew is using some patterned fabrics that were part of a design line. I mixed some special greyish-blue ink to match the darkest blue stripe in the fabric.

mixing ink on the spot

I’m pretty happy with the color match…

ink color matching

Since I had a screen all set up, I decided to print more than just one set of birds. So I changed the ink color to Navy and printed this guy on a light blue starry fabric. It will be used in the pillow I’m making for the friend who took the photo.

screen printed crow

Then I changed the ink one more time to Black and printed a few on some other scraps of fabric I have laying around. Not sure how these will be used yet, but I really like the image so I’m sure I’ll be using them soon.  I’m even thinking of making a quilted bag instead of always making pillows.

multiple crow prints

So now I have some images on fabric to work with… YAY!

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