TDKR Catwoman Screenprint Test

*** This will be the first in a series of posts that I’ve pulled from old projects, old posts from old sites, or otherwise finished items.

Reposted from my post on the RPF in 2013.  I still haven’t seen a faithful reproduction of her suit fabric, so I may eventually pick this up again ***

Over the weekend I finally made it to Makerplace to try out the screenprinting machine on my Catwoman Fabric. I promised to share the results, good or bad, so here they are!

I used plastisol inks, black and a puff additive. I mixed them at approximately 1 part puff to 6 parts black. This was done very scientifically by me using a plastic plant marker I found at Walgreens on the way down there to measure and mix. There is no doubt that my complete inexperience with screenprinting contributed to the less than stellar results. But hey, I am trying something new, and maybe with some practice this could work!

This is a set of swatches I did, at slightly different patterns. Looks cool, but not what I wanted.

And the back looks like this, with the puff raised.

Closeup so you can see the front and the back.

Notice the uneven raised texture – I was having trouble curing things evenly.

Thinking that if painting the “pills” gave an inverted texture, then paintinge the areas around the pills might cause it to pop out how I wanted.  The paint puffed up too much, which made the holes get too small, which basically ruined the pattern. Plus, the fabric is so stiff it would not have any stretch left and be very uncomfortable (and probably hot!) to wear. 

However, it IS starting to give the right look in terms of puffing out, so this might be the right direction.

Finally, here is one of the swatches pinned to my dress form. Stretching it really brings out the problem with the inverted texture.

TL;DR:

1) After curing the ink, it had the OPPOSITE effect than what I wanted! Boooooo! Wherever the ink touched the fabric, it stayed sunk, and then where the heat hit the raw fabric it became more raised. This created an interesting effect on its own, but not what is needed for the Catwoman outfit.

2) It was very hard to “cook” the fabric just right with the heat source I have access to. Makerplace has a basic flash dryer unit meant for a single t-shirt that hovers over the platten. This means that the heat is somewhat uneven, so certain areas ended up shinier than others when I flipped it over. I think to do this on a large scale, I would either have to be a crazy with a heatgun, or have access to one of those roller dryers so that the entire thing cooks evenly for a set length of time.

3) I’m not giving up just yet! Next time I go down there I am going to try one more time with the “reverse” technique, except I am going to modify my pattern to draw little lines connecting all the pills instead of just printing the reverse of the existing pattern. Hopefully this will make the pattern pop out “just right” without adding too much stiffness to the fabric.

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