Monday, December 30, 2013
Screen Printing Snowflakes
Day one we talk about folding and cutting snowflakes. I generally do this project with 4th graders who I can give a more grown up pair of scissors to. The scissors intended for younger students are awfully difficult to use for multiple layer cutting that is created with the fold. I have students fold a rectangle in half and then using the center point of the longest edge as the guide, the paper is folder into 3rd and becomes a cone shape. The top edges are removed to give the cone three straight edges. From this point students cut away shapes with the focus on paper falling out of the piece. This avoids the disappointment when only a slit is cut and the snowflake isn't a snowflake. Since day one is learning to cut the snowflake. Many snowflakes are cut. All go home but one that the student chooses for printing the following class.
Day two and this is the WoW day or maybe they are both WoW days. At any rate. I have pre-stretched inexpensive cotton fabric on 10" embroidery hoops. I like the plastic ones best because cleanup is easier and you don't have to worry about warping. You will get warping from the wooden ones. Students write their names on the back of 2-3 pieces of dark blue paper and proceed to the printing area. Here they place the paper on the table with their name not visible; then the cut snowflake is placed on the paper where they would like to see it printed. Location, location, location. White acrylic paint is on the table and either printing brayers or old credit cards. You might also need a few old brushes. Lay the hoop centered on the top of the snowflake with the concave area facing upward. You paint will go inside the hoop on top of the cloth. Use a brayer or credit card to spread the paint around inside the hoop. Lift the hoop and you will have a beautifully printed snowflake. I have students turn the hoop over on the table, convex, while waiting to print a second time to keep from transferring the paint and to keep from damaging their paper snowflake which is now adhered to the cloth by the paint. You can continue to print until you run out of time by adding more paint and squeezing it through the cloth. To clean-up I just run the hoops under warm water and scrub from the inside with a kitchen brush. The snowflakes fall out and head to the trash, clean hoops are dried and put away for the next class. Before using again, I always tighten the cloth inside the hoop to make sure it is taunt.