Reported by Christina Hammond
I’ll admit that my husband gifted me with a giant silk screening machine and I love it. However, I haven’t used it very much because I find the process daunting and time consuming. I plan to explore it more – but in the mean time, I was excited to whet my appetite with the Simply Screen Silk Screen by Plaid.
Plaid sent a very generous box to me just as some crafty friends (The Fabulous Crafty Girls) arrived from out of town, so we decided to make an evening of Simply Screen, wine, a Royal Wedding and fun. The box contained two Simply Screen Silk Screen Stencils (a Peace sign, and a beautiful butterflies theme), tons of different colors of paint, some Plaid paint brushes and glitter.
When doing traditional silk screening, you have to deal with designing, emulsions, burning screens and fidgeting with placements. And if you have multiple layers, you repeat each step over again. Plaid has thought of all this and taken care of the hard work for you!
Each Simply Screen package comes with an already prepared silk screen with a tacky backing and a squeegee. The designs can be used over and over again (about 20 times) with proper care and washing. Inside there are instructions with simple illustrations on how to use Simple Screen. You can also watch a nice video filmed by Craft Critique at this year’s CHA on how to use the Simply Screen.
One thing we found the instructions lacked was a note to use a t-shirt board or at least put some wax paper between the layers because there was some bleed though on some of our projects.
Since the Fabulous Crafty Girls and I planned to craft all night in an attempt to stay up for the Royal Wedding, we went out and picked up a few more supplies. We upped our glitter quotient and bought a few more designs since they were on sale at JoAnn’s and I had a stack of coupons to use. We added sexy hot lips, a Rock-n-Roll theme, and since we were crafting on the eve of the Royal Wedding, we got a very regal crown.
Here is an example of the two kinds of paint – matte and shiny. The matte line of colors has more options and is found by noting the matte finish on the labels. The shiny colors are just that – SHINY and almost glittery. I preferred them for the glamour they added to our projects, and they wear really well so far.
Okay, here we go! Onto our night of silk screening. We really went nuts and tried to silk screen everything in sight! Tote bags, denim, t-shirts, canvas and paper.
After positioning your stencil, make sure you add a generous amount of paint. You need more than you think.
Voila! A crown fit for a Queen. There are a few missing bit in the design because I didn’t add enough paint, and was afraid to go back over for fear of smearing. Why, you ask? Well, the designs just don’t stick down… Here you can see that the stencils just don’t stick down as well as one would expect. The stencils are backed with a low-tack adhesive, and it’s very low-tack. It just didn’t stick to anything. The result of this screening was a smeared and sloppy kiss.
So we tried again. We tried lightly spritzing the back with water (because the directions say that washing reactivates the adhesive) – no go. We tried using a clean squeegee to really press it down – again, no go. Next time, I think I would try some spray on repositionable adhesive.
We found that if you want to use multiple designs or colors in one project that you could help the drying process along with a quick shot from a hot hair dryer.
April, one of the Fabulous Crafty Girls, noted that the squeegee included in each design has two different sides for use with different applications. If you are trying to squeegee paint over a large area, use the long tapered side. If you are working with a more intricate or delicate area, there is a small tapered corner perfect for the job. Great tip, April!
After each application of color, it’s best to gently wash the screen with a mild soap before moving onto a new color. In fact, because so much paint seeps beyond the stencil area due to the stickiness issue (or lack there of), we found we had to wash the stencils each time we wanted to move them if we wanted a clean design. Washing was quick and easy because the paints are water-based, so while a mild annoyance, it wasn’t really that big of a deal (and let’s face it – it gave us another chance to refill our wine glasses while we waited for it to dry a little!)
After a while, we just gave up on the squeegee-ing because it just wasn’t working. Many of our early pieces have runs and smears, so we switched from “silk screening mode” to “stenciling mode” and used the really nice Plaid craft brushes sent in the box. We got MUCH MUCH better results. As the night progressed, more and more glitter came out too! Note the tip of the glitter bottle. It has a really fine tip to help control where the glitter goes, and the top screws off so you can attempt to reclaim any over-zealous glittering. I really like that you can do this, because I am, admittedly, a really cheap crafter and hate wasting a single drop.
This was my favorite project, I mean, you can’t go wrong with sexy lips and tons of hot pink glitter. Or so I thought. After allowing the glitter to dry and properly heat setting it, I wore it out and about. I got glitter everywhere. With every move the glitter flaked off, leaving a trail of hot pink pixie dust. Just in case I got lost, I guess. I will spare you the “after wash” picture because it’s just ugly. Awful. Every single spec of glitter washed off, despite having washed the shirt inside out, on hand washables, and line drying it. I even got a message on Facebook from Fabulous Crafty Girl April, with a picture attached that showed the same fate of her “Red Hot Sex” lips. Disappointment all around. I would save the glittering for things that aren’t going to be worn or washed – and honestly, the shiny paints have a ton of glitz and glamour.
I painted a cheap canvas with some Plaid craft paint and allowed it to dry. Once well cured, I applied the chandelier Simple Screen, and admittedly, this was the ONE place that the stencil actually stuck. Go figure! I painted the Glitter and Foil Adhesive on with a small brush to prevent bleed through, removed the stencil and covered all with the copper glitter. I left it to sit 24 hours and tapped off the excess.
In the end, we had a great time and had the chance to repurpose some old and new items. While we weren’t overly pleased with the squeegee method of applying the paint, fairly consistent results were achieved when painting the colors on ala traditional stenciling.
- design work already done for you!
- plenty of designs to choose from
- water based paints come in a very wide variety of colors
- you can use them for more than just t-shirts and totes!
- glitter tubes have removable caps so you can put excess glitter back into the tubes
- stencils aren’t as tacky as one would think
- directions don’t indicate to use a shirt board, but there can be bleed through, so use one!
- glitter washes right off, even with proper techniques
- best results achieved if you paint on the color versus skimming the paint ala traditional silk screening
- only one print can be done at a time, washing in between because so much paint seeps underneath
Our friends at Plaid have provided us with $50 prize packs for 2 of our lucky readers. Just leave a comment answering the following question to be entered to win!
What designs would you like to try? Would you repurpose old items? Be sure to show us what you make, we love to see them!
One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, June 4, 2011.