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 Post subject: Making Custom Silks
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:49 am 
born to perform.

Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 890
Since another member PMed me and asked how to make custom silks I thought that some of you might be interested as well.

I wrote a whole article about this in our S.A.M. monthly newsletter back in July 2008, but unfortunately I couldn't find the computer file so I am re-writing it in basic steps without all the article fluff.

Supplies needed:

Embroidery Loop
Black Sharpie ULTRA Fine Tip
Colored Sharpie Fine Tip (if coloring in)
Hard, smooth backing board or countertop

1. Design your artwork. I use Photoshop to do this the majority of the time and size it according to the size of the silk. If you are doing a 36" silk you can have your image enlarged some place like Kinkos.

2. Tape down your design on a board or countertop. Be sure you have some kind of paper backing behind it to absorb any ink bleed through so as not to stain your surface.

3. Next, using blue painters tape, carefully but tauntly tape down your silk over the design.

4. Optional: Trace using pencil. (I usually go straight to step 5)

5. Using your ULTRA fine Sharpie outline your design.

6. Let thoroughly dry.

7. CAREFULLY remove the blue tape off of the board working away one side at a time. Then CAREFULLY remove the blue tape from the silk to prevent damage by pulling it off.

8. Insert silk into embroidery loop.

9. Using your colored Sharpie "lightly" begin coloring in your design, but do not color next to the solid black outline. The colored Sharpie will naturally "bleed" over to the line. Silks really absorb the ink differently so it may take a little practice. If you need to get closer to the black line just do it by minute increments until you get a natural bleed to avoid coloring outside the lines.

10. Let thoroughly dry before moving on to another color so ink does not smear or having two colors bleed into each other. If I am in a hurry I will use a small battery operated hand fan to speed along the drying process. (LOL, this same small fan is a life saver when stuck in the very teeny tiny space of a dollhouse for any length of time on stage!)

These helpful tips I learned from a magician friend by the name of Bob Sanders combined with information I learned on silk screening from the internet.

There is an actual product out there that you can buy to prevent bleeding outside of your outline, but if you follow the above steps carefully you shouldn't need to worry about that. The key to the outlining I have found though is really using the Ultra tip pen. A regular "fine" Sharpie wants to bleed too much and your line with look feathered. Also, do not let your pen tip stay in one place too long.

You can use different colored silks-- it doesn't matter. As I said before, different silks will absorb color differently so be careful. I always buy an extra silk when creating a custom one. They are cheap and if you don't use it, well you always have a plain backup silk for the future!

I started using this method a couple of years ago when I need a 36" custom silk a.s.a.p. The delivery time was weeks and the price over a $100. It was then I started looking for alternatives and found this method.

I hope you find the information helpful and enjoy experimenting!

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