Today I bring you Bre Pettis of Make Magazine, who partnered with Matt Stinchcomb of Etsy to put together this fabulously fun tutorial on screen printing. They cover the whole process from start to finish, and even include some extra outside-the-box ideas at the end. The only thing I’d like to add is that they’re using a large printing setup more for the serious printer, but you can do the same process at home using a simpler setup with just a single screen attached with hinges to a board that you print on. I’ll be posting some other videos soon that show how to make a screen/screening station for those who are interested in being a little more hands-on (a.k.a. cheap)… like myself.
Kudos on the wolf gear guys… you make me want my own epic animal gang!
I stumbled on this cheap & dirty DIY tutorial while doing a bit of research tonight. If you’ve ever wanted to play around with screen printing but didn’t want to spend a lot of cashola on buying a kit, this might work for you. They used old picture frames to create the screens, and exposed the screens in the sun instead of using a fancy schmancy lighting setup. Having worked at a print shop in my early college years – I do know a bit about the process and this DIY does seem to cover just about everything. My only suggestions would be to use actual silk screen mesh instead of a curtain (more moolah, but it will last longer) and to secure the screen to a work table with clamps while you are printing – as it would be really difficult to keep it in place with only one hand while you are trying to push ink through with the other hand. Better to just lock it down tight.
I should also add that this system is best for doing one-color prints. You’d really want to buy or build a more extensive setup to do multiple colors. If you’re interested in purchasing a kit that has all you need, silkscreeningsupplies.com has some great packages and decent prices. Now it is time… to go forth and print!
Ok, it’s taken about 20,000 times longer than I expected it would, but the coffee table is totally and entirely complete! This past week I ordered the glass panels cut to fit within the eight sections of the window, painted the ceiling tile wallpaper with some leftover green paint from my bathroom walls, and put the final coats of varnish on everything. To raise the glass panels up to be flush with the wood, I cut some foam core board and placed it underneath the wallpaper. I could not be happier with how it turned out… in fact, this is one of those rare and wonderful projects that has turned out to FAR exceed what I had envisioned in my mind. I’m so in love with the colors and textures. And to think… it started as an old display window that was left behind.. with a sloppy coat of white paint and some cheap plexiglass windows. My how far we’ve come!
Well, I’ve been trying to get this post up for 2 days now, but have been away from the computer almost entirely (a nice change!). I am happy to announce that we finally got the table into one piece! We decided it was best to do this the right way, so the beau went to pick up his drill and put pilot holes in before trying to attach the screws. The legs and frame were attached to a thin piece of birch, since we measured wrong and could not attach directly to the old window. As it were, I think it turned out to be a happy accident, as it really added some extra strength and stability to the whole piece.
The pictures below show the underside as the glue is drying and the final table done with the wallpaper laid of top of the panels. Next week, I will be ordering some custom cuts of glass to fit over the wallpaper panels to weigh them down and protect them, as well as putting a final coat of sealer over the table paint. For now… i’m going to enjoy the rest of my weekend trip down to the countryside of south-central Texas before heading back to the busy, bustling city. Tata for now!
Even though the building of the table did not work out last night, that did not stop me! I got down on my hands & knees and spent the rest of the evening scraping & sanding the window to get the final, aged look. The stained wood and bits of white paint ended up looking really great showing through in the worn areas! And finally – my other favorite part of this project – I cut out the ceiling tile wallpaper to fit in the window panels. Yes, I was squealing with joy when I placed them onto the window. So exciting to see it getting close to completion! I still need to get 8 glass pieces cut to fit inside the panels to weigh down the wallpaper and protect it.. that will have to wait until next week unfortunately as I will be out of town this weekend.
My handyman is in the process of going to pick up the drill we forgot at his place last night – so we can get the “pilot holes” (as i’ve learned they are called) drilled and put the screws in the right way this time. So, here’s hoping that by the time I get off work I will come home to a fully built, beautiful window-turned-coffee table!
Sooo… we’ve hit a BIT of a snag tonight while trying to finish the table up. Got the top painted this morning – a bright & cheery teal. So tonight after work we got started screwing the frame & legs together. Unfortunately – we were not aware that wood table legs are actually made of some superhuman substance… and quickly found this out when our wood screws broke in the wood. So a trip back to Lowe’s to return the screws and get some nails instead. Ok, this will surely work! Well, as you can see, even the nails do not agree with these superhuman table legs. So now we’ve got half a screw sticking out and a crooked nail embedded… it ain’t lookin pretty folks.
Sadly, by the time we were able to start hammering, it was getting a bit late – can’t disturb the upstairs neighbors TOO much. So, my handsome handyman will be trying to get these nails into the ungodly table legs tomorrow. We shall see how it goes.
Oh, we also discovered that we measured the whole frame to be too small and there is no room to attach it to the top without basically driving right through the glass panes (example of why I should never be put in charge of the measuring). Soooo we’re going to have to get a piece of plywood to attach the legs and frame to and THEN attach the window to that. Me-oh-my… building furniture is a lot harder than I thought. It’s certainly been a learning experience and a lot of laughs though!
I was lucky enough to have a tall, dark & handsome elf working away on the old window today while I was at work.. he finished up the sanding and got the stain on. When I got home I couldn’t believe how great it looked! We purposefully left some of the original white paint on it to give an aged look – and the stain dirtied it up wonderfully. Tomorrow morning before work, I’ll be putting on a cheerful coat of teal paint on top of this. After work, we’ll be getting it all built together and then do the final sanding to show some of the aged wood thru the teal. Can’t wait!
This morning we made one final trip to Lowe’s to pick up some sandpaper… then strapped on some goggles and masks and were ready to go! I decided to throw in a side project and sand down an old desk I’ve been meaning to refinish for some time now… which took up a bit more time than I thought it would. So, the desk got mostly done – but we’ve still got some more sanding to do on the old window to get all the white paint off her. Going to leave a bit of the white paint in-tact.. as we’ll be sanding through the layers to create an aged look at the end.
I cut some pieces of the faux ceiling tile wallpaper to test how I want to arrange them in the panels… I’m leaning towards the version that has one floral piece centered in the middle of the panel. Tonight I’ll be staining the legs and pieces to build the frame underneath the window.. and tomorrow we will finish sanding and get the window stained. Tuesday we’ll be putting it altogether and doing final paint touch-ups, sanding, and sealing Wednesday!
Did I mention I am in love with this project? I love working with my hands – have done it a lot with sculpture and ceramics… but never really had the space or equipment to do much building or wood-working. (still don’t have the space – but my tiny patio does ok! As for the equipment – much thanks to Lowe’s who will cut your wood for free, and to friends for letting me borrow other stuff I need!) It’s so much fun to give something old a new life too. I could really get into this!