::supply list::screen printing frame (make your own at home or buy one at almost any art/craft supply shop)
paper in a similar size to your frame (basic printer paper is perfect for smaller frames or cut a piece from a roll for bigger frames)
cotton or linen fabric
cutting matt or piece of cardboard
utility knife/xacto knife/box cutter (whatever you want to call it)
okay, got all your stuff? now you're going to sketch out your design on the paper and then trim it out with the knife (or just go all crazy and start cutting like i did), using the cutting matt or cardboard underneath to protect your work surface. you could also work up your design on the computer (in Illustrator or another drawing program) and print it out, all ready for cutting. your design does have some limitations because you can't have shapes inside of shapes (you know?) but this doesn't mean it has to be super simple like the diamonds i have done. check out the work of paper cutting artists heather moore and rob ryan and you'll see what i mean (to a rather extreme degree!).
here is my finished design and my homemade screen, ready to print! ignore the marks on my screen, i was going to paint a big dot on it with screen filler and changed my mind.
now grab your fabric (i used a super fine pinwale cotton corduroy) and position the paper where you would like the design to print. lay your screen on top, making sure that the paper is covering all open mesh around the edges.
spoon your ink onto the screen and using fairly firm pressure, draw the squeegee across the screen. lift your screen up and voila! your design is nicely printed on the fabric and the ink magically adheres the paper to the screen, meaning that you can move the screen around and make multiple prints. when you are finished printing, simply peel the paper away from the screen, chuck it in the garbage and rinse your screen out in the sink or outside with a hose. dry it off and it's ready to print again with a new stencil!
you can usually make around 10 - 15 prints this way before the paper starts to get too soggy so it's perfect for small things like t-shirts, pillowcases or say, a meter of fabric for your swap buddies? it's also a great way to test designs before going to the cost and/or trouble of getting a permanent screen made. i've enjoyed using it to muck around with overprinting lately and don't plan to stop any time soon - i hope you guys get the same enjoyment out of this super easy printing method.
three colour overprinted cotton corduroy using two standard emulsion screens and the cut paper diamond stencil shown above.
four colour overprinted linen tea towel using two standard emulsion screens, one screen painted with screen filler and a cut paper lines stencil.