The kids and I have been decorating lots of t-shirts lately. We started with sun print shirts, but I'd had the idea in the back of my head to try printing with scratch foam and textile paint. Before I tried it with the kids, I stole some time for myself and tried it out. I used a plate that's been knocking around the studio for a couple of months, so it has some extra lines in it. A fresh plate would look even better, although I don't mind the extra texture. We'll call it rustic, or something like that.
What you need: A t-shirt; some textile paint (I used Speedball Water-Based Textile Screen Printing Ink), although I think you could try this with liquid acrylics; some scratch foam; a palette and brayer--although my brayer did not seem to like the screen printing ink and jammed up on me.
What you do: First, scratch a picture or design into the scratch foam. This couldn't be easier. Experiment with different mark-making devices, like the pointy end of a paintbrush, a bone folder, a comb--anything that will indent into the foam. Remember that your image will print in reverse, which is especially important if you're thinking about including text.
This is what my plate looked like (it's still got ink on it) in its just-created, pristine days:
I prewashed my shirt, placed some freezer paper inside so no ink bled through to the back, and taped some guiding marks with painter's tape. Then I mixed my color--I wanted a blue-grey. Ink your plate so you have a nice, even layer, not too thick (or it will squoosh out the edges when you make your print).
I slightly offset the second set of prints so they met in the center, getting rid of that space.
Hmm. Still not sure--really, a fresh plate would have been better--so I left it to dry, then set it with the iron according to the directions.
scratch foam printing a couple of months ago.) Here's a closer look.
And a much closer look.
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