September 25, 2008
I'm sure that last week, I made wild claims about doing test runs on calico and such-like, but I got a bit excited (and frankly, started to run out of time) so I jumped in feet-first. Here we are at the end of week two of the freezer paper stencil-along and here is my first stencil: a shiny cement mixer on a red poly-cotton. Bet no-one else thought to do one of those!
In fact, from a bit of blog reading that I have been doing today, I know that there are no other cement mixers. But there are some fantastic stencil ideas. Do go and have a look (see the sidebar for other people who are stencilling).
I made the stencil while sitting with Argy and Bargy at the sandpit outside, so I used little scissors to do the cutting. On the whole the scissors worked quite well, but I can see that for beautiful clean, straight lines, you really need to use a craft knife, mat and ruler. Or perhaps just be a little more co-ordinated than I am?
Although I really loved making the stencil and using the shiny Speedball brand screen printing ink, this first go was really a bit of a dud.
Everything was going swimmingly until I fused the freezer paper and there was a modicum of water in the iron. Yep, before I could catch it, a teensy puff of steam came out and that was that. More Ramsay-level swearing. The paper refused to fuse in parts - mostly the thin strips on the body of the mixer. If that happens there is absolutely no chance of redemption. Game over.
I knew with unfused paper the stencilling would be dodgy, but I decided to press on regardless. The ink did get under the stencil in places, but I guess it isn't too bad. It dried, then set pretty evenly (apart from a few stray blobs) and has subsequently hot-washed and tumble-dried (for my extreme-durability test) really well.
I won't win any prizes for this attempt, but I think the print will be ok for a cushion that Argy has requested. And gosh it was fun! You've got to try it.
Goals for the next week
The cement mixer image is OK for a first attempt, but a bit on the ... ahem ... basic side, shall we say? I'd love to come up with a really funky image. But I know there are all sorts of clever things that I need to learn about preparing a funky stencil image. I'm just not sure what those things are yet. I don't know, what I don't know.
So before working out my goals for next week, I'm going to do a little bit of reading. Then, as they say, I'll keep you posted. I do, however, have a sneaking suspicion that next stop will be a shiny digger stencil ...