Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Five Things to Consider: Stencil or Screen Print on Fabric

Stencil or Screen Print On Fabric

Whenever I do a screen printing tutorial, I often get the comment from readers or friends that it looks complicated and they’d rather use a stencil. I couldn’t agree more that screen printing is a much more involved process with lots of steps, even with the handy kits that are available these days. And it can be intimidating, especially when you’ve never done it before or (even seen it done before).

I think that screen printing is fun once you get the hang of it and I love the results when it turns out right! But I love stenciling as well. I believe each has its place, and sometimes either one would be suitable.

Here are five things I think about when I’m deciding if I should

Stencil or Screen Print on Fabric?

1) Is your design very detailed, or made of solid shapes? If you’re using an image that has more detail, or you’re hand-drawing a design, screen-printing might be best. It would be very difficult to cut out all those fine lines.

My Screen-Printed Ottoman


But if your design is made of solid shapes, you could go either way.

My Freezer Paper Stenciled TV Tote


2) Do you want to make a lot of the same design? If you created your own stencil on freezer paper, for example, it might not be as durable as creating your design on a screen. And passing over your screen with a squeegee is so much faster than using a stencil brush. And while you can also purchase plastic sheets and cut your own stencils, it might be easier to burn the image onto a screen than to hand-cut out your design (unless you have a fancy cutting machine).

My Screen-Printed Felt Paper Dolls


3) How do you want your design to look? And will you have more than one color in your design?

Stencils can be bold with neat, clean lines.

Stenciled Quatrefoil Footstool by Infarrantly Creative

Infarrantly Creative Stenciled-Footstool

Or with the right tools and skill, stencils can help you create a blended, layered, or more rustic look.

Painted Fall Leaves by Mural Maker and More

Mural Maker and More painted-Fall-runner

But screen prints can be bold too, but a little more organic looking. And screen printing is definitely easier with just one color.

Screen Printed Geometric Jersey Scarf by Studs and Pearls

Studs and Pearls Screen Print Scarf

4) Is it something that will touch the skin? And will you be washing your design? Screen printing paint tends to feel smoother and lasts longer in the wash. However, you could use screen printing paint with a stencil, and you can add fabric medium to acrylic paint to make it more suitable for fabric.

Screen Printed Tiger T-Shirt by Always In Wonder

Always in Wonder Simply_Screen_Kit_from_Plaid

5) Do you have the right paints and equipment handy? Do you have enough time? Screen printing paint and screens are often harder to come by, can be pricy, and paints come in fewer colors. Many screen printing kits are huge and hard to store. And as mentioned, screen printing takes longer to create and burn your design, plus it’s trickier to get it right. If you could go either way, stenciling is cheaper, more convenient, quicker, and acrylic paint comes in tons more colors.

My paint stash: Lots of acrylic paint…

Photo Feb 28, 3 03 04 PM

…but not too much screen print paint (for now…heh heh heh)

Photo Feb 28, 3 04 23 PM

So…there’s not always a cut-and-dry, black-and-white set of rules when deciding between stenciling and screen printing, but you can consider the above five things to help you choose.

My Screen Printed Flour Sack Towels


If you have both on hand and you have the time, try both! Experimenting is part of the fun of creating, and how we learn what works and how we develop our crafting skills. Enjoy the process, and figure out what you like for yourself!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls

Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls

My girls love paper dolls. There’s a paper doll sticker book with over 200 stickers that they go through it so quickly. And they have some cardboard sets too but those are starting to bend and curl.

It might take me a while to build a big set, and my illustrating skills aren’t the best. So I don’t think this little felt set will completely replace their other paper dolls, but at least these are an alternative. And I gotta tell ya, these was so.much.fun to make, especially since my girls helped me design the clothes.


I have been having fun with my Simply Screen Custom Screen Printing Kit by Plaid. Screen printing may seem like a daunting, complicated process, but as mentioned in my review here in my Screen Printed Storage Ottoman tutorial, it’s a lot less intimidating than other systems I’ve researched. The Simply Screen is a great starter set and I’m getting better and better at it. I still love it and I’m glad to have it among my craft tools.

So this isn’t really a tutorial, but to show you that it works on felt, with my hand drawings of the dolls and their clothes. I love the results, but I can see where I could have improved. And I’d also love to bore you with my thought process. But to see how to use the screen printing kit, please see my tutorial linked above.

Here’s how I made my Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls:

Materials: In addition to the Simply Screen Kit, Screens, and Paints, I used printer paper, felt, pencil, Sharpie pen, painters tape, paint brush, iron, press cloth and scissors.

Process: First I drew out the dolls. I kind of based it on my girls! I am not very good at drawing things to look real, especially people. So it looks a little cartoon-y. That’s ok.


I drew the face a zillion times and was happy with this one. It was too big, so I tried to draw it smaller but I couldn’t capture the same cuteness! My mom literally said “Yuck” about the bottom two. Thanks Mom. Well, honesty is good. I guess.


So I scanned the drawing and resized it on my computer and printed it out. Then I drew the body attached to the head. I added lines for underclothing.


Then I traced the face onto another piece of paper but changed the hair to ponytails to make another one.


When I was finally happy with the drawings, I retraced them onto another piece of paper, then traced over the lines with a Sharpie pen. First I tried a Sharpie with a fine point, but the lines did not develop well on the screen.


So I had to switch to the medium point pen and try developing the screen again.This time it worked, but I didn’t like how I lost the details of the drawing (such as the fingers, toes and face) because of the thicker pen.


I used black ink to screen print onto an oatmeal-ish color felt. No my girls aren’t the color of oatmeal. But everything other color that was available the day I was at the craft store was either too light or too dark. Maybe something more peachy? Will have to look again.


When the paint dried, I heat-set it with an iron and press cloth. Then I cut along the edge.


All done with the dolls!


Then I started working on the clothes. I sketched out a little wardrobe and used the medium Sharpie over my pencil lines and developed the screen. Again, I lost some of the detail. The t-shirt with the sun says “Sunny”. I should have redone that one.


Here comes the fun part…making the clothes! Love these purple and orange pants!


As the girls waited for mama to finish the clothes, they played with their new dolls.




For this dress, I colored in some pink when the black ink dried. I just squirted out a dollop of pink onto the squeegee that came with the screens and used a paint brush.


One of my girls might have a punk rock, Joan Jett side, because this was requested.


This is sort of a copy of one of their favorite dresses. That white blob up in the top corner was supposed to be a flower…that was one of the details that got lost, plus I think this dress didn’t develop too well (I didn’t press the screen to the paper well enough, even though I used a piece of glass…see my review for details on this).


Since I messed up the first time I developed the dolls, I ran out of screens. So I wasn’t able to make the shoes, hats, and toys I had planned! I’ve ordered more screens and will show you when I make them. I know, I always say that.

Felt Paper Dolls

As mentioned, I was the most bummed out about the loss of detail using the thicker-tipped Sharpie pen. At the store, they said there was no in-between for Sharpies (really?), so I’ll have to look at other brands I guess.


Again, that was a lot of fun. Yes, it was time-consuming. Yes, I had to do a lot by hand. Yes, there was a lot of room for improvement! But I enjoyed every minute. Even though I may not have taught you much today, I hope it still inspires you to create something, anything, on your own!

Here are two great fabric paper doll tutorials using different techniques if you don’t have a screen print kit:

And please see my review of the Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit by Plaid (and scroll to the bottom for more projects and tips from fellow bloggers). And here’s what else I have screen printed:

Disclosure: Thank you Plaid for sending a screen refill pack and more paints. This post was not required, nor was it a paid post.

Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17:: The Trendy Treehouse::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner :: Whipperberry ::Sassy Sites:: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::Flamingo Toes :: Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Love Affair With My Brother::Craft Monkey


Monday, February 20, 2012

Coming Soon

It’s been quiet, but I’m still here.

To make up for it, I’ll be hosting a giveaway soon!

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Embroidery Hoop Covered Button Heart and My One Year Blogiversary

Embroidery Hoop Covered Button Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Embroidery Hoop Heart is super quick to make, and super quick to explain how I created it!

I made a bunch of covered buttons, enough to arrange in a heart shape. I cut out a paper heart based on that as a guide, and traced that onto the back of the fabric (oh yeah, I fused some interfacing on the back to give the teal fabric some oomph). I inserted the teal fabric into the hoop, then I stitched on the buttons following the heart I drew on the back. Finally I trimmed off the excess teal fabric. All done.


I didn’t take my now usual step-by-step pictures when I made it. Why? Because I made this over three years ago. It was one of the first craft I made after my girls were born, who were about 2.5 years old at the time. I was starting to toy with the idea of posting crafts on my personal blog, which I had started writing in 2008.

Back then, life was so different. We were even living in a different house. The girls were toddling around and I spent most of the day herding them. I’m amazed I even made this at all!

Yesterday was The Silly Pearl’s ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! I started this blog because I wanted a separate place to share my craft tutorials. I actually gave a little peek of my embroidery hoop heart in my very first post:


Many thanks to you, my readers, as well as my friends in the craft blogging community for your support. And thanks to my husband, my best friend and of course my dear mom for your encouragement and for always believing in me.


Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie::Sassy Sites :: Rook No. 17:: The Trendy Treehouse::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner :: Whipperberry ::Sassy Sites:: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::Flamingo Toes :: Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Love Affair With My Brother::Craft Monkey


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Craft Tutorial: Interchangeable Ribbon Necklace and Bracelet

Interchangeable Ribbon Necklace Bracelet Tutorial

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A lifetime ago (okay just 5 years ago) I closed my handmade bridal jewelry business to focus on a new journey…being a mama to twin girls. I still have lots of supplies left over from my business. During that time, I also donated necklaces, earrings and bracelets to The Princess Project, an organization here in the San Francisco Bay Area that gives free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot afford to buy their own. 


It’s been a while since I donated to the Princess Project so I’m excited to be doing it again this year. I’ll be making a bunch of these ribbon necklaces, but with a change of ribbon you can have a whole different look and even a whole new piece of jewelry…a bracelet! Instead of a clasp at the end, the jewelry is tied on with ribbon threaded through jump rings.


Here’s how I made my Interchangeable Ribbon Necklace and Bracelet.



  • Beads and Ribbon: I used an assortment of faux pearls and crystals, plus I made a rosette from Jennifer @ Always in Wonder’s tutorial on how to make a rosette necklace that she guest posted here (so you’ll also need a 1-inch wide strip of fabric, hot glue gun and a piece of felt). The ribbon is silk satin, 3/16” wide.
  • Nylon beading wire: I used Beadalon 19-strand. Plus you need jewelry wire cutters.
  • Crimp beads, crimp pliers and jump rings. Also shown are crimp bead covers which are optional (I ended up not using them), and a “bead stopper” which is also optional (you can just tape your wire to your tabletop).


The rosette is optional but if you’re going to make one, there’s something I did slightly different than Jennifer’s tutorial: I made the rosette, then cut out a round piece of felt to put on the back. But, I only put two lines of hot glue (as shown below) so the middle of the felt circle isn’t sticky…this is where the wire will thread through.


Cut a piece of beading wire by measuring your wrist (if you’re making it for yourself) and adding about 3 inches. 


Then either tape down one end to your table top or use a bead stopper and start threading on your beads at about 1.5 inches from the end of the wire.


After about an inch or so of beads, I threaded on the rosette. Note: put a small bead (these are 4mm compared to the others which are 6-8mm) on either side of the rosette; this will make the rosette sit better.


Then keep threading on beads – I did mine semi-randomly – until you reach about 1.5 inches to the end.


Now we’ll finish the ends with a crimp bead and a jump ring. If you don’t know how to use crimp beads, BeadStyle Magazine has a tutorial here as well as at the back of every paper issue. Or you can visit your local bead store…they may be willing to give you a quick lesson for free.


After you’ve added the crimp beads and jump rings to both ends, you should have this:


For the bracelet, you thread the ribbon through both jump rings, pull til the jump rings meet and tie a bow. Um…it’s hard to tie a bow with one hand!


For the necklace, you have a few options. You can tie the bow at the back or on one side, both of which are cute in their own way. For the back tie, thread the ribbon through both jump rings to form a necklace. Don’t cut the ribbon yet. Throw the ribbon part around your neck. Here I am getting some help from my lovely assistant, my new Premiere Props Linen Necklace Stand. PSST: I spotted the Premiere Props line of jewelry displays on sale at Michaels this week.


Pull the ribbon until they are even on both ends, and long enough to reach behind your neck and tie a bow.


For a side bow, pull one end longer, long enough to reach all the way to the other jump ring and tie a bow.



For more information and to donate funds, dresses or accessories (just $25 sends a girl to the prom!), please visit http://www.princessproject.org/.


Picture from The Princess Project Facebook Page.

Thank you so much to Premiere Props for providing the necklace stand. This was not a paid post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie::Sassy Sites :: Rook No. 17:: The Trendy Treehouse::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner :: Whipperberry ::Sassy Sites:: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::Flamingo Toes :: Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Love Affair With My Brother ::Craft Monkey :: Mine for the Making :: Fine Craft Guild :: Today’s Creative Blog


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