It's time to set up for printing. I guess we've been doing that all along, haven't we? Here are the next steps in my process:
I flip my Thermofax screen so the bottom is face up and measure the design width. I am only measuring where the design starts on the left side and over to the design edge on the right side. Once I have that measurement I then figure out about how much space is between the individual elements of the design. I measure that space and add it to my first measurement. In my example, the actual design width was right about 6 1/8" and the space between each of the elements in the design was about 1/4"...for a total of 6 3/8" wide.
Next I place the screen onto the printing surface right against the tape line on the right end. I nudge the frame around until it looks like the design is aligned well all along that right hand side.
Once the frame is in a position I like, I use a marking pen to place a line right along the edge of the frame on the other tape line. I'll refer to this tape line as the horizontal tape. Disregard the black marker you see on the frame itself, that was there from another project.
Place your fabric on the table (no need to unroll it all) just to determine where it sits when aligned along the horizontal tape line. Then place a second horizontal tape line above the fabric, parallel with the first horizontal tape line (in the following photo it is the tape line on the left running from the bottom of the photo to the top). Place this second horizontal tape line so that it is above the fabric but lies underneath the Thermofax screen frame when printing.
Place your frame back on the printing surface and align it with the first mark you made on the bottom horizontal tape line. Make another alignment mark on the top horizontal tape line. These two marks are your alignment marks for the first print.
Now remember the measurement we came up with in the beginning of this post, 6 3/8"? We will now mark that repeat measurement across the horizontal tape lines. First measure and mark the bottom tape, and then do the same for the top tape, measuring all the way down to the end of the printing surface until you can't measure out another full repeat.
Please keep in mind that this method is not perfect and sometimes our measurements may be off fractions of an inch across the printing surface, but we also need to remember that this is hand printing and if we wanted "perfect" we would just go out and buy commercial fabric. Hand printing provides charm and interest to your fabric. And if you use the fabric in a quilt, where it will be cut up into smaller pieces, those small pieces don't really show off any of the areas where you were just a tiny bit off with your printing placement.
Once you have all your repeat markings on the top and bottom horizontal tapes, then pull out your fabric across the entire printing surface and align it with the bottom horizontal tape. Flatten and press the fabric so it is laying flat and straight. Smooth out any bumps or wrinkles.
Using pins, randomly pin along the top and bottom edges of the fabric all the way down the printing surface. This helps keep the fabric laying flat when you lift off the screen during the printing process.
Now place your frame back in the beginning position on the printing surface, making sure to align the left edge of the frame with your tape marks. Position the screen design so it is centered, top to bottom, on the fabric, remembering to double check the alignment along the left edge of the frame at the same time. Try for an equal margin on top and bottom.
Once you like the position of the design on the fabric, place a small piece of tape on the frame as shown in the next photo. This tape is the same tape used in the horizontal tape line and it is another guide to alignment while printing.
Coming up in Part 4 (the final post) of Thermofax Screen Printing - Repeat Printing, we will actually be printing our fabric. Yay!