10 reasons Screen Printing is great!

hello, Here are my top 10 reasons why I think Screen Printing is the Best:

1) Every print we do is Hand pulled, So every print is different and unique.

2) Screen Prints (especially on paper) have a quality like no other printing process. The Ink sits crisply on the surface which gives it a lovely tactile finish.

3) Its so exciting seeing designs come in, that push the boundaries of Screen Printing in a new way. I personally love seeing a good colour overlap. This is a clever way to create more colours in a design without spending on extra screens.

4) Personally I have gained confidence from screen printing. Things going wrong and making mistakes is inevitable, and once you come to terms with that you can have so much fun experimenting, without putting any pressure on yourself to get it right the first time.

5) Its fun to get messy! I get to wear dungarees covered in brightly coloured ink everyday, Whats not to love about that?

6) Its a great workout. Forget the gym, become a Screen Printer and you will soon have toned arms and washboard abs. Me and pete can pull up to 350 prints each in a day of flat out printing!

7) Sometimes a Print job can be a real puzzle, but by putting our heads together and working as a team, we always manage to find a way.

8) You get out what you put in. If you are meticulous during the whole Prep phase, and really take your time and care about every element, Then the end result is always so much better. I can spend a few hours mixing an ink to get it the exact shade of blue for example, but it’s always worth the time when it ends up looking ‘just right’.

9) Bringing someones Idea to life is very rewarding. Its always amazing to see a flat computer image leave the studio as garment, bag, packaging or art print, and its even better when the client/designer sends back happy feedback about how pleased they are with the results.

10) When you see someone in the street wearing a shirt you have printed or see an art print in a shop, you get a little buzz knowing its your hands that created it. Even though its not your design, you cant help but feel a little proud!

Whats are your favourite things about Screen Printing?

Nat x

So…Why Screen Printing?

Hi, my name is Nat, i’ve been screen printing for nearly 9 years now, 3 of which have been here at I Dress Myself LTD.
A few weeks ago, Hannah asked me what makes me so passionate about Screen Printing, and after chatting it over we decided I should write it down for our blog, So here goes! I will start at the very beginning, as that’s a very good place to start.

IMG_7865

Screen Printing wasn’t really Love at first print for me, Its been more of a slow growing love affair, and I may be wrong but I imagine that could be the case for many other screen printers out there too…would you agree fellow printers?

I had always wanted to be an Interior Designer, for as long as I could remember. And during An Art foundation Course, I found Joy in Graphic Design, Illustration and in particular composing repeating patterns that I envisioned to go into interior spaces.
It was on the Art Foundation course, that I first tried my hand at Screen Printing. I would hire numerous books from the College library filled with images of Screen Printed wallpapers and fabrics, and I would marvel at them, so excited that I could have a go at this process myself.
But then when it came to it, there seemed to be a lot of ‘faff’ involved (I was a lot less patient back then), and the process seemed very limiting. The majority of the process was preparation for the print run; Coating up screens, letting them dry, exposing the image onto the screen, Washing the image out, letting it dry (again), mixing the inks, setting up the screen on the printing table. Then finally…I was actually getting to pull the print! But something would go wrong. Each print would have some imperfection in it, or it hadn’t lined up properly, or the colour wasn’t quite right. So I would get frustrated, wash the ink of my screen, put it in the drying rack, and not bother picking it up again.

Although I found the process of screen printing frustrating, I decided to do a degree in Printed Textiles. The course was the best fit for allowing me to create images and illustrations that could be put into repeat and applied to fabrics and papers for interiors. At University I learned a lot about the process, and in much more detail. I Started to understand the limitations and see ways of using them as an advantage. I was also introduced to fabric dying techniques, flocking, foiling and puff inks, all which were fun to explore within my work.
Although me and Screen Printing were becoming friends at this point, I still found the process fairly challenging, with the pressure of grades, deadlines and money constraints, I was worried about wasting time, fabric and ink, an my fear of making a mistake was at an all time high.

After I graduated I took a break from Screen Printing for a short while, working in a fabric shop in my home town of Frome, thinking it would feed my need for pattern, print and textiles. But sure enough, it wasn’t enough and I wanted more. Whilst walking around the Frome Independent Market (check it out…its more than a market!http://www.thefromeindependent.org.uk) I came across I Dress Myself LTD Eco-friendly screen printers, selling some beautiful screen prints. I couldn’t believe that a screen printing company was in my local town, right under my nose!
Ive gained a vast amount of knowledge and skills here, and training to use the Eco-friendly inks was like learning to screen print all over again.

Over the years, I have come to realize that its the things that I initially disliked about Screen Printing, that are in fact what makes it such a special process. And if you stick at it, something will click into place. One particular memory stands out for me; a few months into my employment here, I was having rather a frustrating morning. I was making a screen for Pete to use on that days print job, and it was the 3rd or 4th time I was making the screen. It was a detailed design and some of the fine lines weren’t washing out of the screen properly and we tried various things to get the screen right, but still no luck. I groaned loudly as yet another screen wasn’t quite right, and Pete called across to me “ahhhh…the sweet sound of screen printing”. Pete had been printing for about 7 Years at this point and was still coming across obstacles on a regular basis. It was at this point I realized I should probably get used to the fact that things go wrong on a daily basis with printing, but that its OK, its all part of the journey.

banaji

If you have taken the time to read this, thank you very much.

Happy Printing!

Vegan T-shirt printing

We get asked a lot about whether our inks are vegan but it’s important to look a bit further to uncover the truth. Our inks ARE vegan, btw. Permaset inks have no animal-derived ingredients and aren’t tested on animals. More importantly though, they’re eco-friendly. They don’t contain harmful ingredients like plastisol inks and discharge inks. In fact, they don’t contain harmful solvents like other water based inks do. It means that they’re kinder to the humans that use the inks (us), the humans and animals that come into contact with the inks (you) and don’t cause problems during disposal (which affects everyone). Plastisol inks, in particular, require lots of harmful solvents to clean down the screens and these all go down the drain, causing harm to aquatic life. We use good old water to wash the ink from our screens.

The hidden thing in screen printing that is often NOT vegan is the emulsion used on the screens to create the stencil itself. Many emulsions contain gelatin. We are happy to say that ours does not.

We (almost) exclusively use organic cotton T-shirts. Cotton crops can be sprayed with higher concentrations of pesticides, compared to food crops, because the end-user isn’t going to eat it. Pesticides used on cotton crops are thought to cause the deaths of 20,000 people in the third world every year. It is a serious problem for cotton workers and for any living creatures living near to the cotton fields, particularly as water sources can become contaminated. We charge comparatively less for all of our organic cotton, recycled and bamboo garments to encourage our customers to choose the eco-friendly option.

All the garment fabrics are dyed with GOTS approved chemicals, using low-water and controlled waste discharge processes, certified to OekoTex 100 Class I standard and conforming to REACH. Organic certified fabrics are dyed in our zero-discharge dyehouse, where all the water is recycled in a closed-loop system.

The garments that we choose to source are all Fairwear accredited and adhere to the following criteria: No use of child labour, no use of forced labour, safe and healthy working conditions, legal labour contracts, payment of living wage, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, no discrimination against employees and no excessive hours of work.

Some people describe veganism as trying to live your life without causing pain or suffering to fellow beings, human or animal. Opting for T-shirt printing with eco-friendly inks and organic cotton helps to do just that.

How to specify your ink colour

We’ve got metallic inks, glow colours (neon) and can use extender to thin the ink out for a slightly transparent look. We can pretty much mix whatever you want and like to experiment.

We’ve got three different types of inks – all made by Colormaker and all eco-friendly. Permaprint inks are for paper printing. Permatone Aqua is for printing onto white or light coloured fabrics and Supercover is for printing onto dark or coloured fabrics. Two coats of Supercover ink is completely opaque but feels slightly stiff to the touch (not rubbery like plastisol inks though). One coat of Supercover ink is almost completely opaque but feels softer to the touch. Permatone Aqua inks are so soft that, after a wash, you can barely feel them at all.

So how are you going to tell us what colour you’d like? A lot of our customers specify a Pantone Matching System reference, which is great for us and we can match the colour very closely. The downside is that you have the reference book to look up your colour in, in the first place. Other people send their artwork over and ask us to match it to the computer screen. There are differences between computer screens and so the colour might look different to us (on our screen) compared to how it looks to you (on yours). However, it’s pretty accurate. Some people sneak into their local DIY store and find a paint swatch that they like and post it through. This works too!

What colour will you choose?

Super seascape screen print

Matt Mitchell designed these one-colour screen print beauties and we printed them at IDM HQ this week.  Sometimes that black and white combo can really capture the drama.  They were screen printed by hand onto natural white recycled paper Woodland Wove at 280gsm using eco-friendly water based Permaprint inks.

Glow inks and pastels

Tomi Lahdesmaki’s T-shirt design has a mix of fluorescent glow inks and muted pastel colours.  We mixed Supercover glow red and glow orange to get the colour right and it really pops.  Mixing the inks together reminded us of those Fruit Salad sweets.  LOVE these T-shirts.  Really fresh and fun.  You can see more of Tomi’s work here