Growing up I've always loved art; whether that involved exploring new concepts, mediums, styles, or stepping outside the box. Now, as a Graphic Design and Marketing Intern at French Paper, I’ve not only been able to express that passion, but continue learning it. This time, I’m diving into French Paper’s rich history of screen printing. Follow along to learn about my process creating screen prints using vinyl.
French Paper’s Print History
French Paper has a rich print and art history that deserves to be embraced. The value of printmaking and artistry can be seen in French Paper products like our poster designs and intricate delivery boxes. Part of what makes our paper types so unique and inclusive comes from the consistent feedback we receive from artists, which we then apply to our products. This way, every creative project has a paper perfectly suited for those needs and materials. These are just some of the various things that have brought together artists in the French Paper community. And as an artist myself, I’ve spent a lot of time delving into this community online, and getting to know all these various artists' work. Every single artist who tags us on Instagram has brought something special to the table, and I took this opportunity to bring my own print design into the mix!
Vinyl Screen Printing Project
Traditional screen printing is quite an intricate process that involves bonding your design and emulsion-coated screen under bright light to then reveal—or wash away—the emulsion that forms your design. Once your design is revealed, you push ink through the mesh onto your paper or material. Fortunately, an easier way to accomplish a similar process is by using a vinyl stencil on your screen instead of this emulsion coating. I was able to accomplish this using my Cricut and a few other handy screen printing tools.
Learning How to Screen Print with Vinyl – My Process
For most novice printers, including myself, using a Cricut for vinyl screen printing is the way to go. You size your image, connect your Cricut, place your design, and print away! Follow along here for my step-by-step process for creating a screen print with vinyl for the first time, or check out my Instagram reel for a quick look at the process.
- Digital Print Design: Custom made by me (@malwavyart)
- Paper: Smart White #100 Cover; Plum Punch #100 Cover; Steel Gray #100 Cover
- Printmaking squeegee
- Size your design to fit your paper. As you can see below, I left about two inches of space around the border of my design. I recommend leaving at least an inch border all around to prevent any ink spillage and allow you to frame your design if you wish!
- Apply transfer tape to your stencil. Once applied, use a scraper tool to smooth out any bubbles and make sure the tape is properly adhered.
- Place the stencil inside your screen. Center your stencil inside your screen and slowly remove the transfer tape.
- Apply a line of ink just before the base of your design. This will help you create an even stroke of ink for your first pull.
- Use your squeegee to brush the ink on. Get an even coating of ink along the base of your squeegee and run the ink down your screen.
- A print is made! The result should look something like this:
Paper Print Results
Now, these prints aren't exactly perfect, but I am extremely thrilled to be able to have tested this out! A lot of our followers are screen printers, and I've been dying to get my hands on a kit to try it for myself.
Screen printing is truly an art form I admire because each artist is able to approach designs in unique ways. Using paper for screen printing was a great material for testing out this process, and I know that the French Paper community would agree. As more experienced printers, so many of them were quick to give such kind and constructive feedback on my Instagram reel of the process.
Printed on Steel Grey #100
Would I do it again? Absolutely! I love the process, and hopefully in the future I will be able to improve my screen printing skills.
Test Our Your Print-Making Skills with French Paper
Want to try your hand at screen printing? French Paper has an incredible variety of quality, ink-absorbent screen printing paper to choose from. Tag us on online and we’ll be on the lookout to admire your beautiful print results! If you need any help with your paper selection, contact us online or call us at 1-800-253-5952.