Tutorial-Breakdown Printing

I got to do some serious breakdown printing this past week. I will be doing more and sharing it, but here is what I did so far.

First, I applied dye paint to my screen. Using the paint I already had mixed up, I made some blue circles with yellow centers and some blue stripes on the ends.  Then I painted in yellow to fill out the empty space.  It looks green here and may be a bit green because of its proximity to the blue areas.

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(Don’t pay any attention to that circular shape you see…that’s just the bucket that the screen is resting on to dry.  It is not part of the screen.)

The dye is not activated.  I prefer to prepare my cloth ahead of time with a soda ash soak, then let it air dry and it’s ready to go!  I will be letting this dyed screen dry overnight since I have other dyeing to do.  You could use a hair dryer to dry it with, but it would probably take awhile.  I have some thick areas of paint on there.

Next day.  This picture is the first three pulls with the painted screen. The dye is now dry.  I am using thick print paste to pull my prints with.  There is no color in it.  The color is all on the screen.  You could use colored paste, but it would change the colors of the prints.  In the upper left is the 1st pull, on the right is the second pull and the bottom print is the third pull.  I want you to notice the progressions and the changes in each print.  The blue circles are coming through well, but that’s about all at this point.  These pictures were all taken while the prints were wet.  They will lighten up when dry.

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Next photo: 4th, 5th and 6th pulls in the same order as above.  The yellow dye is breaking down a lot more.  I love the distressed look.

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Next photo: 7th, 8th, and 9th pulls. Now I’m losing lots of definition and just getting blobs of color.

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I did three more pulls, but added turquoise dye.  There are still some yellow places left on the screen, but not much else so it’s pretty much exhausted.

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Here’s the next screen I have prepared.  Will add pictures of the finished product when they are ready.  There is soy wax on this screen.  I just painted in between the soy wax stripes.

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Update, May 5, 2009 - Here is the cloth made from this screen.  It didn’t turn out all that great and the breaking down of the dye is not very dramatic.  I probably won’t do it like this again.  I also don’t know why it looks as if the color spread some since it wasn’t that wet. The stripes seem blurry to me.

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9 responses

2 05 2009
Terri (14:52:58) :

Your breakdown printing results are great. I recently watched Kerr Grabowski’s DVD on this technique and have supplies ordered to give it a try. I’m getting anxious to start.

2 05 2009
Patty VanHuis-Cox (19:26:36) :

OOOooo!!! That looks so easy when you do it step by step like that. I bought dye supplies as IQA and I am definitely looking to get started. Love your finished pieces!! Thanks for the tutorial and eye candy!

3 05 2009
kathy (07:46:55) :

You are so welcome Patty…now get to work (play, actually)!

3 05 2009
Randel (07:50:32) :

very nice!

3 05 2009
Robin Koehler (19:45:31) :

Very cool effect!!
R

30 06 2009
Debi R (13:07:25) :

This is the first time I’ve heard of this process and seen it demonstrated. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun. I’ll keep it in mind for my upcoming projects. Thanks.

28 08 2009
Cathy Sugrue (07:17:46) :

Hi Katherine I stumbled on your website by accident how lucky was I.I completed a degree in textiles in 1996 but have not practiced as a textile artist since leaving college.My husband was quadriplegic due to an accident in the 80s and I had a lot of caring to do,he died in 2006.I am looking to get back into my art but not sure weher to start?I recently completed a refresher in screen printing as I was intrested in waterbased printing methods.I also want to do some painting and cards but seem to be going around in circles as am not sure what starting point I should begin with.Like you I love all forms of dying and have lots of procion dyes at home in containers.I also love bleaching discharge and work with a lot of tissue paper.I love batik and acid dying indigo iron rust k. salt can I have some advise please.

28 08 2009
kathy (09:36:07) :

Hi Cathy, Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad you “accidentally” stumbled on my site!
As to your questions…where do you want to go?
I haven’t been to college or have an art degree….I just started taking classes and buying books to teach myself, started playing with color, cloth, design. One recommendation I can make is to subscribe to Quilting Arts magazine…it will put you right in the middle of the whole textile renaissance with techniques and competitions. It sounds like you already know a bunch about techniques. Are you wanting to learn the whole stitching/quilting thing? Or just play with cloth and paper? Look for a local quilt shop and classes if you want to learn to quilt. I started out as a quilter, but then started dyeing fabric, then went on to more surface design and the art. Hope this helps, but feel free to email if I can help you with anything else.

30 08 2009
cathy sugrue (05:32:43) :

Hi Katherine,
Thank you for replying to my e-mail.I was wondering what dishwashing gel was?is it the same as diswashing fluid?/bleachI usually dye cloth with discharge paste (declorain) and paper with ordinary household bleach and ink.I would also like to learn more about breakdown printing and what it involves? can this be done on paper and cloth ie silk crep de sheene etc?I would be greatful for any comments help.ps can you recommend any good books on breakdown printing?
regards C.Sugrue

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5 responses

23 06 2010
Thomas a. Marino

Can breakdown printing be done on paper and canvas?

Tom

23 06 2010
Thomas a. Marino

Can one also print like this on paper and canvas?

23 06 2010
kathy

Hello Tom,

To answer your question, I’m sure the answer is yes, however you might want to make some changes in the medium used. I use Procion fiber reactive dyes on dry cotton cloth which has a chemical fixer on it. I am not sure if you would want to use those dyes on paper, but canvas is cloth, so yes, it would work for that. Another method that is being used by some artists for this same look is to use water soluble crayons on the silkscreen to draw a design, then make the prints using matte medium. Of course with any acrylic product, you don’t want the medium drying in the screen, so washing quickly would be imperative when you are finished printing. The beauty of the dyes is that I don’t have to wash the screen at all if I don’t want to, but instead can move on to the next design. My intention is to try the water soluble crayons with the matte medium, but I have not gotten around to it yet. Thanks for your inquiry.

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