I was extremely fortunate recently to get the opportunity to play with Tulip’s Screenit screen printing system. I love screen printing and the ability to create and print my own designs is just fabulous! I decided to start out with a vintage Union Jack design. I love all things British — I even get their humour and I am currently mourning the hiatus of Downton Abbey.
To make a custom screen print, you start with an image. You can use anything, but make sure your design is black and the lines are at least an 1/8th inch thick. You can print it onto regular paper from your computer, like I did, or you can draw it freehand with a black marker.
The ScreenIt kit comes with everything you need, including the custom screen-making film. Before taking my film out of its protective sleeve, I had to create the right light environment in my craft room. I put the yellow bulb that came in the kit into a lamp I stole from McGeeky’s nightstand, then I locked the door to my craft room so that nobody would open it and add white light. I placed my printed design face side down on the film and then placed the kit’s exposure light and fan on top of it. It’s important you don’t expose the film for more than 15 minutes. It would have been nice if the machine had an automatic shut-off, but it doesn’t, so I used my iPhone timer.
After the exposure process is finished, you need to use a soft sponge to scrub the screen to reveal your pattern. And… this is where I realized I had done something horribly wrong. I kept scrubbing and parts of it were coming off perfectly and looking great. But, for some reason, half of it wasn’t working right. Then, all of a sudden, my film split into two pieces. What? I realized that I had used two screens instead of just one! They were so thin and stuck together when I took them out of the box, that I thought it was just one piece. I had ruined one of my screens completely and half ruined the other one. I tossed it aside, disgusted with the result, and went to work on a different project entirely.
I came back later to clean up the mess and realized that since I was going for a worn look anyway, maybe this messed up screen would actually work. I decided to try it! I placed the screen on top of my shirt with the foam pad in the middle of the shirt.
To apply the fabric paint to the shirt, I just spread a bead of it across the top of the screen and pulled it down with the scraper that comes with the kit.
I’m surprised to say that I love how it turned out! I thought I had ruined the project, but the result was really worn and vintage looking, which is exactly what I was going for. Oh, and if anyone is wondering, I got the shirt at Target this weekend.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the ScreenIt system. It made screen printing — something that usually seems so intimidating and difficult — easy to do with just a few supplies. And the fact that I could so easily create my own custom designs was amazing. The screen I created can be washed and reused plenty of times, so I could put Union Jacks on everything I own if I wanted. Okay, maybe I don’t love British stuff quite that much!