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Screenprinting with die cuts on fabric - experiment

Following yesterday's stencil cutting using a die cutting machine, I thought I'd experiment with screen printing and die cuts.

This is just a what-if idea, so I used old bits of fabric, old fabric paints etc. There's definite potential for this idea - it needs more care taken lining things up etc. Anyway here's the principle.


I used an Xcut, a Christmas present die, screen, and screen squeegy, pencil, paper, ruler and paints of choice, baby wipes for hand wiping during the process.

The Xcut takes A4 paper as a maximum size, and my screen is quite small, so I've drawn a grid which divides a sheet of A4 into 8. You don't need to do anything special with this as its a reference sheet only to help you place your die geometrically (you could of course skip this if you want to be random with your printing)

Layering up.Place your ruled piece of paper on the base plate of the Xcut. Position your die on the paper so it sits nicely in your grid. Cover with a bit of waxed paper - I've used logan wrap but freezer paper etc work well. You do this to help the paper release from the very intricate die. A less intricate die does not need this step.

Add a top sheet of paper, positioning it so it matches up (registers) with the base piece of paper - just make sure the edges match. (nb photo shows the die piece and paper without the logan wrap). Put the top plate over everything and feed through the press - I used 4.5 for the roller setting but you may need to experiment with this depending on paper thickness and intricacy of the die.

And here's the paper after it's gone through the press and been removed from the die.

Carry on feeding the die through the machine, moving it each time to cut out as shown above. Now, it's a matter of choice of what you'd like to print. I've chosen to try and print the base box shape first, so have placed the paper on my fabric and then covered with the screen, as below. You could just print the filigree boxes, which would look lovely.

Now it's a matter of putting your fabric paint (or whatever you choose to use) onto the screen at the top.  

Pull the paint down the screen and through the paper. I've chosen bright magenta simply because that's all I had! It's a bit loud isn't it?

When you lift the screen you will find the paper has acted as a mask and you have forced paint through the holes to the fabric below. Do NOT remove the paper - it will be stuck to the screen which is very useful, as you can now move it across to another piece of fabric and print again and again.

I wanted to find out about overprinting so put my paper cut outs of the parcel over the painted boxes. If you want to try the same thing, allow the fabric paint to dry on the first layer. I didn't and had to use a pin to lift off the soggy paper without smearing everything.  Take your time and line everything up very carefully - I was a bit slapdash, and it showed on the final printing!

I overprinted with green, and then lifted the paper masks off the boxes whilst still wet. Keep the baby wipes to hand so that you can keep your fingers clean.

And here we go! Although I will need to make sure that the filigree cut out is correctly placed next time I do this, there is scope for doing something much more useful. This die set also comes with a ribbon and bow, so a chance to do 3 colours if you want.

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