Making a print board for dying

Let me show you how I assembled my print boards for my printing.


The supplies I used were: A Foamular square from Home depot (about 6 dollars, but any insulation foam will work, heck, you could probably use thick foam core), a piece of  lightweight 1/2″ chair cushion foam from Joann’s (about 6 dollars on sale for a small roll of it, which yielded two boards), medium weight clear plastic from Joann’s (about 5 dollars a yard) and duct tape (my grocery store was having a buy one get one free sale on it at the time, so about 3 dollars a roll. You’ll use less than a half a roll on one board).

Start by tracing off the shape of the foam square on the cushion foam.


The cushion foam is lightweight, so I just used craft scissors to cut it. Next, you’re going to layer the board sandwich. Place the plastic first, then the cushion foam, then the Foamular foam. Make sure the two foams match, edge to edge. Cut the clear plastic with a generous 3 inch or so border around the foam sandwich.


Starting with the corners, tape them to the underside with the duct tape. You want to keep the corners taut, but not so tight that the corners of the foam sandwich crush in.


Note, it really helps this next step to cut a bunch of small pieces of duct tape so they are ready to place.

Now that the corners are done, you are going to wrap the edges of the plastic to the underside using small pieces of tape for now. Keep the plastic taut while you do this. I tend to do one side, then its opposite side, so I can keep the plastic’s surface tension even in one direction at a time.

When you get to the corners, just do simple tucks or miters with the excess plastic.


When the plastic is nice and smooth on the surface, you can seal the edge of the clear plastic with a long piece of duct tape. This helps the plastic stick more to the foam and cleans up any sloppy taping.


And that’s it! Your board is ready to use. You can lay your fabric directly on the surface and print, but if you get any seeping, you’ll need to wipe the plastic before you print a new piece. To remedy this , I use a flannel print cloth over the plastic. The flannel soaks up any excess dye and provides more of a grip for the fabric I’m going to print on.

Joann’s has a solid flannel called “Cozy” or something like that. It is usually on sale and I got three  yards of it for about 6 or so dollars.

I just trimmed it to a generous size over the plastic and serged the edges to keep them from raveling in the wash. After I print, I just toss the print cloths in the wash with some bleach, and they are ready to go for next time.

I use T-pins or large glass head pins to secure the print cloth to the board. Because of the foam, they go in easily and stay put.


When I’m ready to print, I do the same to a large piece of fabric, or I pin into just the print cloth for small pieces of fabric.


On the left is one of my homemade screens loaded with Speedball ink, and the printed result on the right. Shhhh, don’t tell, but this is a secret Christmas present!



2 thoughts on “Making a print board for dying

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