Thursday, May 10, 2007

Phase I: Building the Printing Tables

For those of you who don't know- I am currently putting together my studio in the basement of my house here in Atlanta. When all is said & done I'll have a fully functional screen print studio with printing for both textile & works on paper! Round one of construction took place without me. Greg built the two printing surfaces I had {nicely} requested. {Greg estimated his building material costs for the two tables are $125.} He built me a 4'W x 8'L x 30"H printing table for paper. This table is topped with white laminate {ensuring a completely smooth surface for printing.} The base/frame is built from 2 by 4's. I have not yet attached my hinge clamps... The second "mother" table is for printing on fabric. My instructions were a 4'W x 16'L x 30"H table but that the top could be cheap, plywood or whatever as it would be covered by foam & fabric... When I arrived he had used chipboard for the top surface which was great because the foam "stuck" to it! So, not only is it cheap- but highly recommended!

Here is a breakdown of the materials I bought:
I hit the local Joann Fabrics to find:
{Try to get a coupon- they always seem to be offering 40% off something...}

Foam or Batting - I opted for batting because it was on sale for $2.99/yd and it came 48" wide {exactly 4'- like my table.} The foam they had was $9.99 for a 24"W x 72"L piece... I decided that was too much $$ and too much piecing. Depending on where you shop you may find the foam is more reasonable... What you need is 1" thickness. The batting is about 1/2" {I bought 10oz batting} so I knew I would need to double it. There were large rolls of 15 yds of batting available- and since the price was right I decided to get the whole roll because I will need it in the future. TOTAL: $44.85

Duck Canvas
- Make sure you get the canvas at least 60"W because you need to stretch it over your 4'W table and over the batting. My canvas cost $6.99/yd and I bought 6yds {18 ft} so I knew I would have some play room. You need to buy your canvas larger than your table so that you can stretch it & attach it over the batting/foam. Similar to stretching a canvas, my fingers definitely took a beating and I have 2 blisters to prove it! TOTAL: $41.94

Muslin - Just order the same amount that you determined you need for you canvas. The muslin gets stretched over the canvas... Mine was $2.99yd @ 6 yds. TOTAL: $17.94

TOTAL @ Joann's: $104.73 plus tax

The only other materials you need are a Staple Gun {I love mine!} and 1/2" staples. I bought the staples at Home Depot for $3.79 +tax.

Take a look at my pictures- e-mail me for more specific directions- but basically you want to lay the batting/foam down smoothly & staple along the edge every 12".

Then cover the table & batting/foam with the canvas by really pulling & stretching it taught. {You don't want any wrinkles or looseness.} I found it easiest to staple one side every 12" or so and one staple on each end of the table. Then, pull & stretch from the opposite side & staple every 12". Repeat on both sides & the ends until you have a staple every 4-6" and there are no more wrinkles! Neatly tuck the corners & you're ready to begin the muslin.

I used the same method for the muslin as I used for the canvas. {Staple one side every 12" and then pull & stretch from the opposite side.} I left these corners un-tucked & the sides longer to easily remove it. The reason we put the muslin on top of the canvas is to "catch" any ink that might bleed through the fabric you are printing. Muslin is relatively inexpensive & can be changed frequently to keep your surface fairly clean. The canvas should last at least 6mos - 1yr or longer depending on your use!

Lastly- I'm lucky to have such a large space to work in! But your tables don't need to be as big as mine. Just adjust your materials to fit your working space!

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