Tag Archives: block-out

more experiments

My friendly local screenprinter, Gareth at I Love Screen Printing, tells me that there is hope for my buggered-up screen. There is some special stripper I can buy, apparently, but that will have to wait til next week: my days go pear-shaped quite often, plus I’ve already moved on to the next experiment:

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I traced the design onto the screen with a soft pencil, then went over the lines with powder paint (mixed with water, obvo!) and let it dry. In this **%#@ hot weather we’re having here, it took all of 5 minutes :(

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Then I carefully painted over the rest of the screen with the dreaded blue block-out  (this was after Gareth had told me about the stuff that will save my screens).

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Left it to dry overnight, then washed the whole thing. The idea is that the powder paint will wash away, leaving a beautiful clear design.  hmmmm, well, that only sort of happened.

The dried block-out bits were all soft and wrinkly round the edges, and tried very hard to peel themselves off the screen as I worked on it with a sponge. I tried digging at them with a toothpick then an earbud and eventually a scalpel, but there was no disguising that this was another balls-up.  What did not help the situation one bit was that Jessy’s cat litter tray is also in the bathroom where I was faffing around with the screen, and she snuck up behind me and laid the stinkiest foulest dropping of her entire life.  Eventually, I left the screen standing next to the bath and went to bed, disgusted and cursing.

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Next morning, however, the blue stuff had dried hard and crisp.  Yo! There was only one thing to do – I grabbed some sandpaper (always useful to have a couple of squares lying around), and actually sandpapered my screen! The professionals would have laughed themselves silly, I’m sure, and it certainly isn’t ideal, but I was determined to get something out of all this effort !!

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So, it’s not quite what I had in mind, but I quite like the rough textured look (!). At least, that’s what I tell myself. Market Rabbit is just in that pic for added interest, by the way.

Anyhow, it’s possible that I will soon stop with the block-out experiments and switch to using emulsion, like normal people.  Doreen gave me some screenprinting mesh that she’d found in the back of her cupboard, and Rob is very keen to help me make some wooden frames for the screens. Aren’t you, dear?

 

not so clever after all

After the success of the first experiment, I moved on to the second one with all the forethought of a pig jumping off a cliff.  I painted my design onto the screen with modge podge (thinking it would easily peel off when dry).

modge podge

Then I filled the screen with block-out, a really good thick layer, and let it dry outside overnight.

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First mistake.  I’d laid such a thick layer of filler that the excess seeped through to the other side of the screen and dried in big fat pimples.

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That alone would have made it unusable. But wait, there’s more – thinking I could at least salvage one aspect of the experiment,  I tried to peel off the dried modge podge. Second mistake. Dried modge podge on a screen mesh does not peel off no matter how hard you try.

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Okay, bloody bugger, but still not the end of the world. I could wash all the stuff off and try something else, because modge podge and block-out are water soluble, right? Wrong. I’ve soaked it in the bath for hours, scrubbed it with Vim and acetone and washing soda, cursed at it, kicked it a couple of times for luck, but nothing. Unless I can find some kind of special chemical remover, this is now a permanently stuffed-up screen.

So, what can I take away from this fail?  Don’t experiment with a brand-new screen; test out a theory on a scrap of mesh first. Like when you think it might be a good idea to use Nair on your upper lip instead of just your legs?- test it first on your inside wrist. If the skin revolts within two seconds, you’ll know you just saved your face from disaster.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing :-)