Sunday, August 24, 2008

PhotoEZ observations

I am downstairs with my kids watching Nim's Island right now. I wanted to write this down before I forgot what I wanted to write about. I got the PhotoEZ a couple of days ago, but it was cloudy yesterday. I could not do the stencil without direct sunlight. I wanted to do it on Friday but we spent the day at LegoLand. I will blog about that later. I am still sending picts from my iPhone to my computer.

I made 3 screens today. It said on the website to use 84 brightness paper. It also said that the 88 brightness paper from WalMart would work. Guess where I was yesterday? Yes, I stopped off at WalMart to get my son some Legos. The LegoLand only had a limited selection and they were outrageously priced. Back to PhotoEZ. If you don't know what it is, it is a simple of way of making silkscreen type stencils. You can do the same with a thermofax machine (tattoo artists use the same printer). They are expensive though - about $1000 or more even for the refurbished ones.

The cost is not in the kit itself. The cost is in the stencil sheets itself. I got the starter kit (not the hires one though. HIRES mean high resolution. You only need that for very detailed screens). The standard kit will work fine. Buy some extra papers while you are at it to save yourself shipping costs. The 2" squeegee (sp?) works fine. It gave me a lot of control when I was applying the fabric paint. While you are at it, you can also buy their plastic canvas. You may have seen it in the craft stores. It is a plastic grid for embroidery, cross-stitch, or something like that. The plastic grid does not come with the kit.

The first one I did was using a sheet of the 88 brightness copy paper from WalMart. I juiced up my black StazOn pad and stamped images randomly on the paper. Make sure it is nice and black. The second screen was done with die cuts that I had gotten at the Scrapbooking Expo. I bought the die cuts specifically for making stencils. You need to make sure the die cuts are rather thick (but not too thick). If the die cut is really thin, then color with a black marker like a Sharpie before making your screen. The 3rd screen was done using some number stamps and some text stamps. I will use larger, broader text stamps next time because some of the fine lines in the text clogged up after the first couple of go-arounds.

Give yourself about a 1/2" margin all the way around the edges. You need the margin to clip down your stencil to the fabric when you are applying the paint. You don't want to go over the stencil and get random paint on your fabric unless that is your intent. The clip gets in the way. I did some of my stencils to the edge and that was kinda a waste.

Fine lines on the stencil will get clogged with paint after the first couple times you use the stencil unless you wash the stencil out after each piece of fabric. I colored several until I cleaned it. The fine lines were lost but the more broad lines and larger areas were fine. Make sure your lines are more broad and dark so your stencil comes out.

I used Jacquard Textile paints and Lumiere metallic paints. I found the easiest way to get the paint onto the stencil is to pour a little onto a paper plate. I picked up a bit of paint with the squeegee and scraped it onto the stencil with the fabric underneath it. I actually squeegee'd a few different colors on top of each other. My painting surface was my dining room table. I put a plastic tarp on the floor so my fabric could dry. I used some light colored batiks, silk scraps, and some dyed muslin with my stencils. I laid the fabric out flat on a large piece of particle board. I put the stencil on top. Two corners of the stencil touched an edge. I used clips to make sure they pretty much stayed in place when I was squeegee-ing. When I was done applying the layers of fabric paint, I took the clips off and lifted the stencil off. I was able to put on 2-3 stencils on a piece of fabric at once. I put the stenciled fabric on the tarp to dry. Will iron later to heat set it. I did not bother to clean the stencils until I was all done.

I cannot believe how easy it was to do this. I put the kit out on my back deck for 5-6 minutes in the morning. When it was around noon, I did it for about 5 minutes. I soaked it in water with the shiny side down for 15 minutes. I gently rubbed the ghost areas to get rid of the excess emulsion. I let it soak some more and gently rubbed the excess green stuff off until it looked clean. Just look through it in the window or bright light. Do the same when you are cleaning it. I checked it in the sunlight to make sure there was no excess paint left on the exposed areas of the screen. I laid it on paper towels to dry after I cleaned the paint off.

The instructions are easy to follow. Just make sure you actually follow the directions on how to put the layers together to expose the screen. The exposure time and how to clean the stencil instructions should also be followed. I did use the plastic grid to clean the stencil. When you are letting the stencil dry in the sun, put a piece of paper towel between the plastic grid and stencil so the stencil does not get grid lines on it. Everything you need to make your own silkscreen included in the kit except for artwork, paint, and the plastic canvas (grid).

I LOVE the results. I cannot believe how easy it was. I will do more experimenting and will make some smaller stencils so I can layer images and colors. This is definitely a product to get if you want to silkscreen on fabric. I will be making some groovin' backgrounds with fabric. Yeah, I guess I could do this with paper as well. Will post picts of my screens and silkscreened fabric when I get upstairs. Thank, Pokey, for being the impetus for this very fun new thing. I could stand there all day and silkscreen fabric. I could experiment all day and still not do exhaust all the possibilities in swirling in my mind.

This is where I got it from:


James said...

Hi Crazy! You can call me Crazy Airplane Builder. I want to silkscreen labels om my metal instrument panel - like Arial 10. Did you try anything this small? Did it work? Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

Do you thinnk you could use photo ez for tattoo stencils?

Elizabeth said...

can you use photo ez for tattoo stencils?