Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy". A review of Lyric Kinard's new dvd!

Lyric's wonderful dvd...

I was excited when my friend, Lyric Kinard, invited me to review her new instructional dvd about using Thermofax screens because they are one of my favorite design tools when working on cloth (and paper!).  
Below is the intro to her dvd:
Learn how easy it is to create your own screen printed cloth! Thermofax Screen Printing is easy, fun, and well within your reach. Let fun-loving artist, Lyric Kinard, guide you through the basics of what, exactly, a thermofax screen is, and how it’s made. Then she helps you begin your own creative journey as she shows you how to find and design your own imagery and send it off to have a custom screen made for you. Learn all about the basic supplies you will need and then get printing! Lyric will explain the properties of textile paints, how to prepare, care for, and use your screens, and finally how to design and create your own beautiful cloth.

Her workshop is just over an hour and covers the following points, divided into the following chapters:
-Getting Started: what is a thermofax screen
-Finding Images: find and design your own
-How to Print: printing techniques and tools
-Designing: creating cloth with layered imagery

Personally, I appreciate having any instructional dvd divided into chapters like this as it is easier to refer back to specific information.  Thanks, Lyric!

The information is well organized.  I like that Lyric takes the time to explain how the thermofax screens are actually made and what images will make the best screens.  From experience, I know that the less grayscale the image has, the better.  Highly detailed images are possible as long as they are very black and white before the screen is created.

Lyric sent me one of her own screens, an ammonite, and I wanted to create a piece of cloth using her image and my own hand-drawn ammonite, an old favorite image I've been using for years.  Let's see how they look together!
First I selected a piece of fabric and pressed it.
This particular piece had been dyed with a shibori resist.  

I taped the edges of the thermofax screen Lyric sent.

Here is my old crusty one (I guess you can tell which it is..)
I wonder how these shapes will play together.

Here are the first prints of both screens, Lyric's is on the bottom.

Here is my screen, done with both blue and white paint.

and a combo of both screens and colors.
I think this has some possibilities if I create another screen that has a larger scale of one (or both) of these images.  I'll get back to this one at a later time.

Her instruction about using the "scratchy" side of the screen rather than the shiny side, and also the point about how to clean and dry the screens is important to get the most life out of your screens.  

One point I would add to the creation of imagery for screens is to keep a file or a notebook of your designs. You may wish to separate them into basic subjects (animal/vegetable/mineral?  I don't know...).  This will come in handy should you damage a screen, lose one, or if you wish to burn another screen in a different size.  I have been very thankful that I have such a file!

Another point worth mentioning is to be very careful when using any product that discharges the dye from fabric:  I believe it is extremely important to use gloves, and work in an area that is VERY well ventilated.  Consider the idea of setting a box fan in the window to exhaust the area and pull any potential fumes away from your work area.  I encourage you to respect any contact with bleach or its fumes.  I figure if it is stinky I shouldn't be smelling it so I prefer working with these materials in the open air or a well-ventilated area whenever I can.

Lyric provides such good information about layering of imagery, focal point, & varying the scale but using imagery that is related:  such important points!  When I began using thermofax screen I was so excited I threw everything but the kitchen sink onto the cloth surface.  And it looked pretty wacky but I was having fun.  With time and practice I (hopefully) began to work with a subject or idea in mind and let the imagery tell my story.  Lyric's points about this are worth listening to several times.  Respecting the imagery (subtle and bold alike) as part of the story and making it cohesive takes practice (just like everything else, I guess!).  It is so rewarding when you see your vision come to fruition in a piece of cloth.
Here is another set of screens that I combined for a new design.  Note that I am working on another section of the same cloth:
First, I used a screen that I purchased some time ago online.  
With the last set of prints I found that I prefer the opaque white paint over the blue on this piece of cloth so I worked with it again.

Because I think this print could benefit from varying sizes of this shape
I used a thick sharpie and traced around the perimeter of two things:
an Altoid box and Lyric's dvd box (and then rounded the edges of the larger shape).  I cut screen for both shapes, leaving a bit of room around the edges.

Then I ran them through my thermofax machine.

Yay!  I am relieved to find that the machine burned the screen.
I just put a new ink cartridge in, replacing one of those refilled ones.
Apparently the old ink did not have any carbon in the toner.  I worried that something was wrong with the machine, but it was the toner!  Whew.

Once I taped the edges I pulled paint through the first (new) screen.
Note:  My friend Jane Dunnewold discovered that strapping tape does not
require time to cure.  This is great for those of us who are impatient to use our new screens!  Just sayin....

Here is the smaller screen.  My intent is to intersect the larger with the smaller shape.

I covered the surface (still a bit tacky) with my drop cloth, which is an old bed sheet, and used a dry iron to heat set the paint.

I wanted to accentuate some of the shapes by drawing in the openings
with my favorite permanent fabric pen, a Pentel Gel Roller Fabric pen.
I love this thing!

See how the fine line of the pen creates more depth?

I certainly could do all the openings but I think it is more 
interesting, visually, to only do a few.

I can't encourage you enough to try this wonderful technique.  There is nothing quite a satisfying as taking the journey toward personalized imagery.  Think of the possibilities for telling your own story!

Lyric's new dvd is a great refresher for anyone who has done a bit of printing with thermofax, and it is perfect for someone who is interested in trying it.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Please leave a comment to be eligible for a drawing to win a copy of this wonderful dvd.  Truly, it is excellent! I'll use my "Randomizer" app to draw a number from the comments after midnight on 5/2/15.  Be sure to leave your comment prior to that time to be eligible. 

To purchase your own copy of this dvd please click this link.

And be sure to stop by the blogs of these contributing artists:

April 24 Cheryl Rezendez
April 25  Leslie Tucker Jenison  
April 28  Sue Bleiweiss
May 1  Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson
May 2  Judy Coates Perez
May 4  Linda Stokes
May 6  Jane Davila
May 6 Melanie Testa
May 8  Carol Sloan
May 11  Susan Brubaker Knapp
May 12  Desiree Habicht
May 14  Deborah Boschert
May 15  Sarah Ann Smith


  1. Thanks for sharing! It looks interesting!

  2. I have to try this technique, thanks for the reviews.

  3. I love using thermofax screens on my fabric. Thanks for the review and the opp to win Lyric's dvd.

  4. I'm just learning about screen printing....workshop at QuiltCon 2015 was a beautiful tease on how to screen print. Yes, wouldn't it be lovely to win this Lyric Kinard DVD.

  5. What great ideas. This is definitely on my list of things to learn. Thank you for the inspiration.

  6. What a great review. I'm loving these links from Lyric because it's introducing me to all these great textile artist blogs I didn't even know existed.

  7. I really like the graphic design you did with the DVD cover and tin! Thanks for the chance to win.
    jlpfeffer at gmail dot com

  8. Loved your comments about successfully using the screens. The DVD sounds wonderful

  9. Thanks for this, Leslie...both your tutorial and the giveaway!

  10. great ideas! I love using thermofax screens. I love the idea of adding the pen lines.

  11. love what you did with the screen printing and ink. Would like to learn how. Thanks for the give away

  12. Thanks for the give a way. I want to learn the way to use the screens. Looks like a great DVD.

  13. Don't include me in the giveaway (like if it lands on me, select another number!).....but wanted to say thanks for the tips and the strapping tape idea. I'll give it a try!

  14. Nice review and thanks for the tip on strapping tape. I am sure that I would learn many tips.

  15. Great information on your blog and about Lyric's DVD! I'm pretty new to all this, so every tip is so helpful.

  16. Great information on your blog and about Lyric's DVD! I'm pretty new to all this, so every tip is so helpful.

  17. Great information here, both your own process and about Lyric's DVD! I'm pretty new to all this, so all tips are so helpful.

  18. So sorry about my repeats. It appeared my comment got deleted so I wrote another. Oh well, all fan mail is good, yes?!

  19. Interesting effect with the pen after the printing.

    1. Hi tesuque! You won the drawing! Please contact me via my website to let me know where to mail the dvd. Congratulations!

  20. Thanks for the chance to win Lyric's DVD. Great review!

  21. Fascinating technique. Would love to win.

  22. Interesting DVD thank you for sharing

  23. I would love to learn more about this medium. Fascinating.

  24. I understand she is giving away a DVD at each stop...Thanks for the info you shared Leslie !

  25. Interesting post that not only makes screen printing easy but also inspiring.

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