A quick way to 'screen print' in a small space without a silkscreen. It's stenciling, really, but then so is screen printing, if you think about it.
You'll need a flat surface for the (fabric silkscreen) ink and a credit card. Yes, credit cards can be useful!
A stencil. Mine is cut from acetate; thickish paper would also work, but won't last as long. This stencil is a cross shape because it's also a nifty registration device. If I line it up just so, the prints end up neatly arranged in a geometric pattern. (Smug, me?) The design needs to be small enough for you to hold down with one hand.
Hold the stencil down firmly, and scoop up some ink with the credit card. Scoop generously!
Pull the ink lightly across the stencil (keep holding the stencil down - I let go to take the pic). Don't press too hard, otherwise the stencil will move, or ink will bleed under it. You can swipe across it a few times to cover it properly, adding more ink each time. Because it's not covered by a silk screen, you can see whether you need to add more ink - phew!
Perfectly printed. Peel the stencil off carefully.
I did some 'proper' screen printing today too, and .... I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. Apart from not having an expensive squeegee and clamps to hold the screen. I do love this design, and it sells well, but printing it is a nightmare. Perhaps it's simply too big? I printed 8 prints to get 4 good ones, and while I'm the kind of person who'll painstakingly touch up a print with a paintbrush, I know that isn't cost-effective. With block printing I get variations in the print, but they're all good prints. With silk screening, there's just good prints and bad prints, nothing that could pass for 'interesting variation'.
Another concern is the amount of water needed for clean up, and the amount of ink wasted. The ink that stays behind on the screen ends up being washed down the drain, along with enough water to keep a small garden going for a few days. Is there a more practical way to clean up?
Perhaps silk screening really does only make sense for large quantities?