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Screens and Paper Lamination

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

In my last blog I mentioned using silk screens in paper lamination. As a refresher, paper lamination is a technique to meld printed images with textiles - usually a transparent polyester, tulle or cheesecloth. Here are the steps in this process:

  1. Copy/print your images onto regular photocopy paper, or use newspaper images and text. Cheap paper works. Magazine and glossy book paper do not work. If you are planning on using the side with the image on top of the fabric, you will have to reverse any text.

  2. Lay your image or image collage right side up on a padded table covered with plastic.

  3. Lay your organza/voile/tulle/cheesecloth over top of the images, making sure it extends past the edge of the image. Pin the fabric down to keep it taut.

  4. Apply the matte medium over the printed images using a screen. The type of screen you use will determine where the matte medium makes contact with the paper. If you want solid contact everywhere, you could just use a scraper and cover the whole image with the matte medium. Or, if you don’t have any silkscreens, you could brush the medium on in various areas.

  5. Once it is covered as desired, carefully unpin and lift up the fabric with the attached paper. Hang to dry at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

  6. Iron the paper side with parchment paper over it to protect the fabric from melting with the ironing.

  7. Put in a bucket of water and soak at least 15 minutes.

  8. Remove and using your hands first, rub the back paper layer off the fabric. Continue rubbing, using a scrubby (the flat kind) to remove all the white paper or until you removed as much as desired.

  9. Let dry and iron if needed. If, once it is dry, there is too much white paper still left, just re-soak it and scrub it again.

  10. Choose which side you want to be the right side.

The most interesting and creative part of this process is the use of various silkscreens to produce partial images. You can determine which area of the image will be fully transferred and which areas can be partially visible or even missing. You can also use a brush to apply the matte medium to create interesting partial effects.

Here are some examples, mostly of works in progress:

The first one illustrates using a blank screen, so the image is pretty complete. The one beside that is using a brush to apply the medium. I really like how the brush strokes come through in this one.

Below those two is an image of Queen Elizabeth I in the Armada Portrait. I layered different coloured pieces of sheers on top of the image and used a brush to apply the medium, making sure to cover her face with medium.

Next are two images of doors laminated onto cheesecloth. One has also been hand stitched to black felt. Matte medium was applied through a commercial patterned screen for the next fungus image. This image was hand stitched and also acrylic wax was applied to one of the rings of the fungus.

The face image on cheesecloth is one of my favourites. The medium was applied through a screen of brush strokes that I created. I was able to lay the screen so the brush stroke over her face received a solid application of medium. I then used a different screen to apply the medium over the rest of the image.

For the multiple images of fungi, strips of masking tape were applied to the silk screen before applying the medium through it.

And finally, the poppies show 2 layers of lamination - one a coloured marble paper laminated onto the sheer using a screen of a partial grid and secondly a lamination of text from a newspaper using a blank screen. After laminating, I screened the poppies and the gold webbing onto the sheer.

I'd love to see and hear about any of your experiments with this technique.

Laminated image with blank screen.

Matte Medium applied with a brush.

Medium applied with brush.

Medium applied through screen only in select areas.

Medium applied through a patterned commercial screen.

Medium applied through a brush stroke screen I created.
Masking tape strips on screen.
Two layers of laminated images and silk screened on top.
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