Thursday, January 7, 2010


I received a call for entries notice from the Center for Contemporary Printmaking ( for an upcoming show entitled "ECHO - Repetitive Marks & Images". It sounded like a fun challenge so I decided to do something I haven't done in awhile - a serigraph. I like to use crayons instead of cut stencils to "block out" the the screen so after developing my image, I broke out the Crayolas.

I built the screen the night before so in the morning all I had to do was collect my supplies, mix up some ink and get started.

This is what the print looked like after the first 2 colors had been applied. I began by using crayon to block out the white areas in the image and then printed my first color; a pale gray. The screen was easily cleaned off with water and then more areas of the image were blocked out. I had some Createx color on hand so decided to use that as my ink and I'm printing on Arches 88 paper.

As in any multicolor printing project, accurate registration is a must. I've come up with a system that works great and can be assembled with simple materials. Using a common paper punch, I pop out a few "dots". Next I cut a 1" wide strip of matte board and glue the dots in place with white glue. This strip is taped to the edge of the screen base. I punched holes in the edge of my paper so they correspond to the registration strip. When I'm ready to print, I drop the sheet of paper over the "dots" and I'm guaranteed perfect registration.

My sketch is taped to the screen's base and covered with a sheet of acetate. This allows me to accurately fill in the areas, as the print progresses, while maintaining registration. Since the ink is water based, the acetate protects the sketch during clean-up.

You can see how well the crayon "plugs" up the screen. After I apply each layer of wax, I use a heat gun on a low setting to "set" the wax. This helps it to hold up during the printing process.

The last layer of wax has been applied and the screen is ready for the final color.

Here's the print with the final color. I photographed one of my body prints and reduced it in size using PhotoShop. I liked the repetition of the image and the texture created by using the silkscreen/crayon technique.


  1. This is a lovely "green" way to screenprint Melody. Thanks for this wonderfully clear demo. I will definitely try this out soon. Your print makes me think of a mysterious dancer in motion. Good luck with the show.

  2. This registration tip is really good Melody. Thanks for the idea. I like the idea of using crayons in this way and might experiment with it myself although, given that I am a novice screen printer, it may not work in the same way!Great image. Good luck with the submission to the show. Lesley.

  3. Thanks for providing the step by step! The final print is lovely.