Saturday, December 10, 2011

Creative Holiday Cards

To make my holiday cards, I decided to play with a new way to make a design for a Thermofax silk-screen. You could also cut your own stamp or stencil design to create your cards.

Thermofax Info for the Uninitiated:
  • If you aren’t familiar with what Thermofaxes are, Wikipedia’s info on Thermofax silk-screens is interesting, but be sure to skim because some of it is also baffling and beyond essential info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermofax  The basic info at the beginning, modern uses, and disadvantages sections are most useful. 
  • We use our Thermofax machine to create silk-screens for our own art and you can order Thermofaxes with your own designs or some designs we’ve provided on our website
  • There’s also a whole blog dedicated to Thermofaxes: http://thermofaxconfidential.blogspot.com/ (I’m also totally tickled because I just discovered this blog and our website is listed in the links! Wuh hoo! Thank you Jane Dunnewold –who is a fabulous surface design teacher if you get the chance to take a class—if not check out her books and website: http://www.artclothstudios.com/index.php)
  • They cost a lot (about $1,000), but if you want to think about getting a Thermofax machine check out DIY Print Supply which is also known as Welsh Products http://www.diyprintsupply.com/
  • For info on printing or stenciling with a Thermofax screen, see our Ideas and Techniques section of our website
  • To make a screen with a Thermofax machine you need Thermofax-specific screen material and a photo copy or printer copy printed with black ink with some carbon in it. (Be sure to test your ink-some ink can burn right through your screen to create holes and some ink won’t work at all.) Put the screen material over the print out with the smooth side of the screen material down on the print. Put paper-screen sandwich in a clear carrier (that comes with the screen material) that holds the sandwich together in the machine and then run the sandwich through the machine which takes only a few seconds. Thermofax machines etch whatever was printed in black on the paper into the screening material. You can then attach the screen to a frame or tape the edges with Duck tape or packing tape.
For my Thermofax screen design I was able to recycle some paper print outs that printed wrong that had images with lots of black areas. I cut out only the black spots, stacked four pieces together, and cut them into rectangles. Keeping the paper pieces stacked, I then cut out the irregular half star shapes. I then laid out the four bits of paper in ways that created whole stars, placed Thermofax silk-screen film over it, and ran it through the Thermofax machine to create my silk-screen.

Alternatively you could cut other shapes like snowflakes or trees, if you have larger pieces of paper with black areas than I had. You can also use black or colored paper to cut out your shapes, paste the shapes you like down to paper, and then trace the pattern onto stencil film to cut a stencil.

I ironed some dark blue fabrics and made multiple prints of my Thermofax design on them with white sparkly textile paint.
I ironed Steam-a-Seam 2 fusible web to the fabric, cut out the designs with a rotary cutter, and then ironed the designs onto cards make out of folded card stock (but premade blank cards would be even easier). I’ve decided my cards are done just with the printed fabrics, but you could add more detail with fabric paint or glued on embellishments like sequins.

I hope you have creative, fun, and relaxing holidays!

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