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DIY: How to create your own printed fabric

We know that printed fabric is one of the easiest way to spruce up a home, especially if you're afraid of experimenting with bold wallpapers or statement furniture. For example, printed fabric on cushions can do wonders. But, what if you can't seem to find the perfect print? You make it yourself of course!

With help from local label Fictive Fingers, we will now share with you a few tips to create your own printed fabric.

#1: Get a good printing kit  

The Fictive Fingers kit is something you can emulate (if you have the free time) or purchase. Each kit comes with a custom wooden screen printer - fixed with a polyester mesh, a plastic squeegee, and one bottle of handmixed ink. You should also get stencil paper, which is where you will draw your motif and cut it out for print. A good one should be waterproof! Lastly, have some fabric.

 #2 Work on a motif

Once you choose a motif, get a paper-cutter to cut out the areas you want to be printed. Tape it to the polyester mesh, but ensure the stencil is in the position you want. When you are done, spread a dollop of ink on the inner side of the screenprinter. (That means, not on the stencil paper!) The ink should be spread our horizontally to cover the length of your motif. Then, use the squeegee to push the ink down, pressing it onto the cloth.

Spread it down at least twice, and don't put too much ink! Don't press too hard either, as this will cause the ink underneath to spread out and potentially smudging. Lift up the screen printer a little to gauge if you've covered the surface area of the motif with ink.

#3 Blowdry and wait

Whether you are printing the motif in an all-over style, or a careful pattern, there is bound to be a moment when the screen printer might overlap a freshly-printed motif. To avoid smudging (and lots of disappointment), plan which motifs can be printed first. For example, in the second photo above, we printed the first and third column in "batch one", waited for it to dry, and proceeded to print the middle column. We had to wait again before printing them in white. It is good to wash your stencil after at least three prints.

#4 Marvel at your work, and decide what to do with it

Use your printed fabric as upholstery, turn it into a useful pouch, or frame it up!

(images are of author's own, and Fictive Fingers)

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