18 November 2010

craft tutorial: the art of gift wrapping part 3

Putting these craft tutorials together takes some concentrated quiet time - something that's been in short supply the past couple of days - so I needed to hold off a couple of days. But we are back at it and ready to go!

The last installment of this tutorial, Fabric as Gift Wrapping, was the second in this five part series.

So Part 3 of our art of gift wrapping craft tutorial series is about screen printing your own gift wrapping.

The tutorial will walk us through making this:

Now here are a couple of quick things to think about:

1. Even though this tutorial talks about screening on paper, you can easily apply this to fabric too.

2. The package above doesn't look very holiday-ish, does it? That was intentional, gift wrapping happens alllll year round so this can apply to birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers or just because gifties! Feel free to adapt the imagery to the holiday season, let your imagination run wild! :)

One of the things I'd like to talk a bit about is what kind of paint to use when screen printing on paper. I don't mention that a lot here since I am a total fabric addict but there are some things to think about.

Take a look at these fellows:

There is a separate family of screen printing inks formulated for paper. Shown above is Versatex ink, Speedball water soluble ink, Jacquard pro ink and golden silkscreen medium. Let's have a quick chat about each one:

1. Versatex is advertised as being used on fabric and paper. Its a very thick paint. You'll want to screen print the traditional way with a squeegee or scraper rather then my favorite method which is with a sponge brush. Because it can be used on both, I still find it has a stickiness on paper that sometimes bugs me. (Check out my video tutorials for a refresher on Basic Printing and Repeat Printing.)

2. Speedball works great on paper. No complaints.

3. Jacquard Professional Inks are again quite thick and need to be printed the traditional way. They have astounding opacity. They are advertised as being able to stick to every surface. (Which tempts me to drag a jar of it around with me randomly screen printing things to see if its true but that's a whole different post.) They work great on paper as well.

4. Golden's silkscreen medium is one of my favorite products. I just looked back through the blog and can't believe I've never mentioned it before! Since its just a medium, you can use it with any acrylic paint that you own. Doesn't have to be Golden brand (although they are my favorites). Just mix the paint in with the medium and you've got instant screen printing paint! (Read about why you want to use it here.)

I like to put a couple of spoonfuls of medium in a cup and then a few drops of paint until I get the intensity of color I like. Its not very scientific, I know, but once you use it a couple of times and get a feel for it, you'll be a pro at mixing it to your preference.

**Its important to note that Golden has two mediums for silk screening. One is the the one discussed above but it is NOT meant for fabric. You'll need the silk screening gel for that. Works just as well, but has textile medium so it will make your fabric happier.

For this tutorial I used Golden's silkscreen medium and two colors of their fluid acrylics to print on paper.

Can you use the paint I sell to screen on paper? Technically, yes. But the thing about it is that its meant to go on textiles. Which means it has textile medium in it, an additive that helps keep it flexible so it won't crack and turn your fabric to stone.

That same textile medium can leave prints on paper tacky. And some papers just plain don't like it, making your print look like you had to club the paper upside the head to convince it to let you do it (ask me how I know).

I guess my point is that if you want to use textile paint to screen on paper, you can. But results are mixed and you might be unhappy with the results. To get good results, you'd be better off using a paint that is intended to be used on paper.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let's get to screening our own wrapping paper! :)

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Step 1

I used white craft paper that comes on a roll. I bought at Joann's (its in the kids craft section) with a 40% off coupon. You could also use fabric or brown kraft paper. Doesn't matter what you use, directions will be the same (except make sure you use textile screen printing paint if you go the fabric route).

I prefer to print the paper for individual packages. I don't have a lot of space so printing big long sections is difficult. But if you do have the room, go for it!

For an individual package, begin by wrapping the paper around your box and cut it to size so you know how much you will need.

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Step 2

Decide what images you would like to print. Here are some ideas:

1. Print the same image but in different colors to add some variety.

2. Choose two or three different images and alternate them as you print across the paper.

3. Choose the same image in two different sizes and print them in different colors.

I chose option number 3. The screens I chose are birds on a wire (large) and birds on a wire (mini). (I'm obsessed with this design.)

When I print on paper I like to let the first color dry and then move on to the second. I know I go at fabric full force (not waiting for layers to dry) but for whatever reason, I get cleaner results when I print on paper if I allow one layer to dry first.

Print layer 1:

Let it dry:

Print layer 2:

And let that dry too:

I just printed randomly, left a lot of white space. Feel free to print more densely if you like. I just liked the graphic look this gave, negative space can really give a design a modern feel.

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Step 3

Once your prints are dry, give your package a wrap:

I decided to add some more elements with a good old sharpie:

Just random lines along the wire the birds are sitting on to add an extra punch of color.

I did this after I wrapped the package but in hindsight, this would have been easier to do before I had wrapped it. Doodling across the paper after printing will add more of a personal touch as well as a whole new layer of design to your package.

Keep it simple like I did or go completely nuts and cover every inch!

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Step 4

How do you like the giant empty white space right smack on the front of the package? No need to fret, its just another design opportunity.

You could:

1. Screen another print across that space (be sure that your paper is thick enough that the paint won't bleed through).

2. Add a gift tag to that space.

I thought the tag was a fun idea so I went with that:

I do a lot of art journaling (which thermofax screens are awesome in, by the way!) so I grabbed my 2.75" diameter circle punch and some markers and decided to do a free hand tag.

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Step 4

And this is the result:

I couldn't stop there (if I could add striped borders to everything on the planet, I would - totally obsessed with them). So I did one more border with a black sharpie around the tag directly on the craft paper:

Its a little crooked and wonky but I like it.

And there you have it: a gift wrapped in screen printed package, decorated with sharpies and a hand doodled tag.

This is a great project to do with kids too. It really personalizes things - and that's the best part! :)

Part 4 of our art of gift wrapping series will be posted tomorrow. We'll cover using humble brown kraft paper as wrapping and ways to pump it up!

If you missed the first two parts, you can find them here:

the art of gift wrapping part 1: Screen Print Your Own Ribbon!

the art of gift wrapping part 2: Fabric as Gift Wrapping



Jean Baardsen said...

I'm enjoying this series of posts. Great job!

janice said...

Lynn I am really enjoying watching you develop all these tutorials -- way to go girl!!!!!

Leann said...

Your packages are soo pretty!