Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Screen Printing with Stencils, Part Two

Last week I showed you some of the screen printing stencils I created with interfacing and acrylic paint. Today I have photos of stencils I created using resists. I use resists on silkscreens quite often. It is a great way to do deconstructed or breakdown printing, because as you apply the wet medium, the resist breaks down, changing the pattern as you work.  That can be a disadvantage, however, if you want a particular design and don't want the breakdown to occur. That's where the stencils come in.  I thought it would be a good way to create a design that can be used indefinitely. The resist is applied to the stencil. When it dries, paint is applied over the open areas. Then the resist is washed off, leaving behind a pattern.

A little warning: the process is not for the faint of heart. Depending on which resists you use, it can be difficult to wash the resist out of the interfacing. I found flour paste and mashed potatoes particularly difficult to remove. It is also more time consuming than just applying paint to the interfacing. Depending on which resist you use, it can take 2 or three days to complete a stencil. Not good for those who want instant gratification.

If you want to try this yourself, two things to keep in mind.  First, the thickness of the interfacing does matter.  I prefer medium weight. Very thin interfacing becomes fragile when wet and tears easily.  Heavy weight interfacing absorbs so much dye or paint that it is hard to get a good print. Second, you may need to use several coats of paint to completely block the interfacing. 

The first stencil was created by applying flour paste resist with a spring whisk. The areas which had the flour paste become the open areas that the paint or dye goes through.

Flour paste resist

For this stencil, flour paste was applied to the entire piece of interfacing. Then a wire whisk was pressed into the flour to remove some of the paste.

The last flour paste sample I created is shown below. I applied flour paste to the entire piece of interfacing, then used a window chamois to remove some of the flour paste. The three stencils form a nice suite, don't you think?

Soy wax is a bit easier to wash out than flour paste. The stencil below was created by stamping the wax on the interfacing with a square sponge.

It is a bit difficult to see the above design in the sample, since it was created with several layers of stencil screen prints.

This stencil is one of my favorites, although it took forever to get all the mashed potatoes washed out. I applied instant mashed potatoes over the entire piece of interfacing. When it dried, the potatoes cracked into large chunks.

Have you tried  interfacing screen printing stencils? What were your results?


  1. These are great Lisa, I love the textures you were able to create. Another great example of how combining a couple of different techniques makes a really interesting complexity.

  2. we really enjoyed your article, thanks for sharing and more power!


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