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Before you begin to print on to any material you should question the quality required from the end result, and therefore the method that would most be suited. For e.g. different types of dye will give different qualities to a piece of material. Different printing methods will leave different mark making and textural qualities. Different fabrics will respond to dyes in different ways. Think about the area of fabric about to be printed - be economical with all dyes and auxiliary chemicals.


  • Pigment dye should only be used on fabric which does not require to have a soft drape (i.e. upholstery fabrics such as a heavy cotton).

  • Procion Dyes should be used on Cellulosic based fabrics i.e. Cotton and Viscose.

  • Acid Dyes should be used on Protein based fabrics i.e. Wool and Silk

  • Disperse Dyes should be used on Man-Made based fabrics i.e. Nylon & Polyester.

  • Discharge Paste will remove a dischargeable colour from a cloth.

  • Devore will burn out the natural fibres from a mixed man-made/natural fabric.
    e.g. Polyester/Cotton fabric.




Screen exposure - a screen is coated with a light sensitive emulsion, Once dried a separation is applied and the screen is exposed to ultra violet light. The screen is then washed out with water and the areas where the separarion was opaque are dissolved leaving open mash for dye to pass through. A different screen and separation is required for each individual colour.


Traditionally block printing is concerned with the wooden blocks which have been carved - the raised areas pick up the dye and can be applied to cloth with pressure whereby the dye transfers to the cloth. you can create your own 'blocks' using lino, cardboard, metal or wood - any surface where you can either gouge away or add to with other materials i.e. string, cork, plasticine or rope etc. - creating either relief or cur away. The cheaper method is old fashioned potato printing


Using paper and an open screen (a screen which has no image exposed - but well cleaned). With the paper you simply cut out the areas that you wish to print e.g. to print dots onto a piece of fabric you would cut the dots out of a single piece of paper (large enough to cover the whole piece of fabric), place the piece of paper over the fabric, place the screen over both the fabric and the piece of paper and then pull dye through the screen and over the top of the paper. Where the paper has protected the fabric no dye will print onto it. After you remove the paper you will find that where you cut out of the paper, dye will have reached the fabric. The paper stencils should be made out of the thinest paper available to allow maximum pressure between squeegee, screen and fabric- i.e. newsprint. A separate stencil should be used for each colour.


Procion M Dyes are COLD water dyes and Procion H Dyes are HOT water dyes. A Procion M mixture can be painted directly onto the cloth. Or painted onto the mesh side of an open screen and when dry transferred onto the fabric by pulling a manutex print paste through the screen. Procion M & H print pastes can also be printed directly through a screen. Procions can be manipulated by trial and effort in learning how to control them using different percentages of dye mix, a variety of resists e.g. salt, wax etc.


Using hot wax to protect ares of the cloth that you do not wish to dye, you can build up a design by waxing areas of cloth, waxing, dyeing, drying - waxing, dyeing, drying etc. Keep going until you have built up your design and then remove the wax by placing brown paper under and over the fabric and iron with a hot iron - the wax will transfer off the fabric onto the brown paper. Keep ironing until all wax has been removed.


This is a method of removing dye rather than adding dye to a fabric. A discharge paste is mixed up and printed through a screen onto the fabric that you wish to discharge. The discharge paste will only discharge a fabric that has been dyed or printed with dischargeable dyes in the first place. All discharge pastes are to be mixed, printed and steamed the sameday.


This method is only successful when used on a mixed fibre fabric which consists of man made and natural fibres. The Devore paste is mixed and printed through a screen, thoroughly dried, baked in an oven then washed. Where the paste has been printed, the natural fibres will of burnt during the baking process, during the washing process these burnt fibres will washout leaving a two tiered appearance.


This method requires you to print an adhesive paste onto the areas of the fabric that you wish to have the foil effect. Print and dry the paste, place your piece of foil colour side up above the printed area and iron with a hot iron with newsprint between the foil and the iron. Or if your using an area that is smaller than A3 - use the heat press.


These ready made pastes can be printed on there own or you can mix them with pigment colour. These pastes are printed through a screen and baked in an oven where the printed areas 'puff' up.


This method allows you to transfer a full colour A4 image directly onto your fabric using MagicTouch papers. MagicTouch TTC 3.1 for transferring images onto white or light coloured fabrics. MagicTouch OBM 5.2 for transferring images onto dark coloured fabrics. Your design is colour laser photocopied onto the appropriate MagicTouch paper and heat transferred with the heat press.


This method requires you to print latex through a screen onto stretchy fabrics. The effect produced varies dependent on what shapes you print, e.g. creating raised or indented areas when you print dots or puckering the fabric when you print stripes.


This method is based on the action of a strong Sodium Hydroxide solution on cotton.
When a thickened Sodium Hydroxide solution is printed, the Sodium Hydroxide shrinks the fibres,
‘cockling’ or ‘crimping’ the unprinted parts of the cloth. The best results are obtained by printing
at least 50% area of the fabric.


All synthetic fibres will melt at a certain temperature, but below this point they will often heat set into a different form. (To find the melting point of a fabric you will need to carry out experiments.) By tying. Stitching and clamping fabrics into folds before heating, various features can be created. The best fabrics for this effect contain a high proportion of polyester, polypropylene or Polyamides.


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