Fabric Printing, NZ Style

I've been doing a lot of screenprinting with fashion and textile students lately.
It has my mind buzzing with lots of exciting possibilities,
so thought I'd share a few thoughts with you...

I encourage people to choose a good quality water-based inks
such as Permaset, Supercover inks are opaque on dark colours, fully washable and can be ironed.
A low mesh count such as 43T is good if your design has large block areas or bold lines,
for a finer pattern or line, a 60-77T will give more detail but ink dries in the mesh quicker.

Some textiles are printed individually by hand,
multi-colour images may be printed using a carousel or automated machine.

6-colour carousel for screenprinting
at Gooses Screen Design (Christchurch)

Commercial screen printing
Design & Print Textile Ltd  (Auckland)

A splash of good design and/or colour can really make something plain into something exciting.
Many designer's or art student's first print on fabric is a t-shirt design.
These can be funny, political, arty and/or fashionable.

T-shirt design by Glennz (Auckland)
so popular it even appeared on 'Big Bang Theory'

If done well, printing on clothing can transform it into a statement of personal style.
Think about placement - maybe a corner, one panel, or take over the whole item!

Cultural designs can be worn as a statement of identity.
Printed design on front of vest,  Norwinnz (Auckland)

Prints don't need to be limited to one block design,
consider a print for the whole garment.
Digitally printed jersey,  AUT Textile Design Lab

It doesn't just have to be for clothes,
think about a range of items or textiles that can also be printed on:
hosiery, bags, lampshades, cushion & furniture covers...

Print on hosiery, Imprint (Christchurch)
These textile designs by Flora Waycott (Wellington)

includes teatowels, tote bags, pouches etc
Screenprinted decor items from Skunk & Robot (Nelson)

Printed textiles by Ingrid Anderson (Northland)
main image lamps
Lampshade & cushion covers from T-Double-L (Whangarei)
Swirley Owls, Anthea Grob (Wellington), Vida Textiles

Also, remember that screen printing doesn't have to be single-colour or 'boring'...
there are a huge range of textile in colours, including fluoro and metalic inks
which can be printed individually or in combination.

Colours in Maori, Mr Vintage

You can screen down printable adhesive and create interesting textures
such as gold foil and flocking like these great works by Kelvin Mann (NZ/Ireland).

Kelvin MannGoldfish I, 2011
Gold foil and flock on paper, 50x65cm, edition of 25

You can screen using puff additives to colours to make a raised texture,
or add glow-in-the-dark pigment to clear print paste...
(Glow-in-the-dark pigments available from www.glowinthedark.co.nz)

Screenprinted adhesive with sheets of flocking
make great texture for textiles

If you have access to digital printers, there are transfer papers for fabrics.
Simply print on the paper and transfer it by heatpress to the fabric.
Great for a one-off test print or for quick and easy multi-colour multiples,
also for any job too difficult to screenprint. On pieces or finished garments.
Available from Heat Press Media, either for white fabrics, or opaque for dark fabrics.

If you have access to a vinyl cutter experiment with heatpress vinyl,
 it comes in all sorts of colours and textures so you can make a whole series of prints
(or it can be used to make hand-cut designs too if you have the inclination).

These products are fixed onto the material using heat, very versatile prints for fabric.

So many options!!! And so many possibilities of how you can use the fabric!
If any of you NZ Printmakers are doing fabric printing,
I'd love to know about your current projects.


i use loads of the techniques you have mentioned, as well as the inks you recommended. Great article!!