15 November 2010

the great wash test of 2010

The number one question I get about the paint that I use and sell for thermofax screen printing is: is it washable?

I've said it before but it might not be a bad idea to explain why I settled on Simply Screen as my go-to paint.

I did a paint comparison when my obsession kicked in. There are a lot of options out there and a lot of quality products so by choosing this one, I'm not saying the other ones suck, just saying that Simply Screen rang my bell the most.


Two major reasons: I dig the fluidity of it and the price.

My paint experiments were a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some of it was so thick it was like trying to smear gum across the screen, some was too expensive (for my budget) and some color ranges were too limited. Simply Screen is juuuuussstttt right.

It has a nice consistency and doesn't break the bank. That makes it my favorite. But I will say that I get a lot of sideways looks about it because of its affordability.

Many people think that because it doesn't cost an arm and a leg that it can't be as good as the higher priced brands in the permanent and washable realm.

Not so. It holds up VERY well to washing.

I've been doing a little wash test for a while now and its time to get it up here. I want to preface the pictures by saying that I swear on this little face (and you all know how I love little man so I don't say this lightly):

that I did indeed ( 1) put this print through the wash 9 times and it still looks that good and (2) I did not alter it in photoshop.

I used the bubble screen for the test. I printed it in black on white fabric so we could see real well if there were any problem areas. Here is the print before the washing began:

Just as a side note, the marker I used to make the little numbers at the bottom is Identipen. That held up amazingly well through the washes too. So if you're looking for a good fabric marker, I'd give that one a go.

And here is how the print looks after taking a ride through the washer nine times:

Looks pretty good to me, don't you think?

Now let me say that I didn't toss this in with a load of jeans and towels. As with anything that is handmade, you have to exercise some common sense when you launder it.

Here are some tips to make sure that your print stays as pretty as mine:

1. Make sure you heat set it after it dries. I can't stress this enough. It says to do it on the back of the bottle but when enthusiasm takes hold, we don't always read all the directions (I'm guilty of it too.) I set my iron to lava (I'm not convinced there is any other setting) and I like to iron from the back side. You can also place a piece of fabric over the top of it and iron it that way too.

2. Wash your prints with items that won't abuse the snot out of it. Remember, we printed this at home. I washed my print with loads of shirts and other cottony things.

3. If you've printed a t shirt, turn it inside out before you toss it in the wash. This will make the print last longer.

I find this paint holds up well to a lot of different circumstances. Jackie did some testing for us in this post dyeing this tote bag with Dylon dyes after it had been printed with Simply Screen :

photo by Jackie Lams

She recently sent me an image of a piece of fabric she printed during the class she took with me that she put through MX Dye. She even batched it in the microwave and again found that the paint happily went along for the ride:

photo by Jackie Lams

If you've done dyeing before, then you know the abuse that fabric goes through in terms of washing and chemicals.

Paint did good.

So go forth, use Simply Screen with confidence, print, wash and most of all - have FUN!


tiedyejudy said...

I just watched your youtube video, and I'm impressed! Also visited your shop, and I'm double-impressed! One question re: the printing ink: does it feel stiff when dried and heat set? I soooo want to add prints to my tie-dye, but don't like the feel of fabric paints, and I'm very intriqued by the ink!


Fibra Artysta said...

Hi Judy,

Thanks! :)

It does change the hand a little bit, yes. That's just the nature of using paint. I haven't found one on the market that doesn't change the hand a little bit.

I've also used the thermofax screens to print with thickened dyes. It works great! :) So that might be an option for you because that doesn't change the hand of the fabric at all.

I like a product called Superclear that Dharma Trading Co. sells. I add the dye powder directly to it (no liquid) and it works like a charm. You can also use sodium alginate as thickener too if you prefer.