How to be weird

So. Today we have a lesson in DIY screen printing. I made these shop rags for Spencer for Christmas.

His nickname is Spanky

We had just moved into the new house after more than a year of living in less than glamorous conditions. The new house has a garage and we were both excited about that. He was excited to have a manly place to work on things and I was excited not to have the spare bedroom full of greasy tools and parts of things that I (nor he, at times) could identify. So, I thought shop rags would have some meaning. I got the idea from this guy, who was advertising on Craigslist (speaking of which, we need to have another Crazy ’bout Craigslist day soon). I thought his prices were a tad, ahem, ridiculous but that the idea was really cool. So, I did some internet searching and found this lesson. Here’s how it went:

Step one- Gather materials, which include:

  • Some type of loose-weave material (I used curtain sheers I got at the thrift store.)
  • Embroidery hoop (also from thrift store)
  • Paint brushes (also from thrift store)
  • Pencil
  • Computer and printer
  • Material to print on
  • Screen- printing ink (I used Simply Screen from Hobby Lobby because it’s all I could find.)
  • Non-water soluble glue (I used Mod Podge.)

Step two- Print out the image you want to use. I just typed my words into MS Word. For the wrench, I actually used a real one of Spencer’s. You could, of course, find a free clip art one to use. I would recommend picking images that are simple and don’t have a lot of detail unless you’re a good artist (which, I ain’t).

Step three- Trace the image onto the material with a pencil. If you don’t have good vision, I don’t know what to tell you because it’s not that easy to see.

Step four-Put the image in the embroidery hoop (make sure it’s really tight) upside down of the way you would if you were going to hang it on the wall. That way, the sheer material will be against your canvas when you lay it down to paint it. You’ll see what I mean when you try it.

Step five-Paint the glue into all the negative spaces (everywhere you don’t want ink to go). Like I said, I got my brushes at the thrift store so I just had to work with what was handy. It would be easier if you had some really tiny, fine brushes for the details around the letters. Let that dry thoroughly.

Step six-Put your canvas down and lay the embroidery hoop upside down on it. Now, just get your ink and start filling in the image! You have to really work the brush back and forth to make sure the ink goes through the sheer material evenly. My first one didn’t look too good because I didn’t paint HARD enough. Really bang it through there.

This is what your hoop will look like after you're done.

Step seven- CAREFULLY pick up the hoop and let your masterpiece dry according to the directions on your ink. Those directions will also instruct you to iron the product once it’s dry.

AND VOILA! You made something! Doesn’t it feel good? So much more satisfying than buying, if you ask me. This was a simple but tedious project. Spencer said it was the best present he’s ever gotten. That may have been the best present I’ve ever gotten.

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