Thermochromic Screen Printing Workshop
On May 9th, I had the privilege to attend a captivating workshop hosted by Action Potential Lab on screen printing with new thermochromic dyes at the Design Echange, called DX Mastercraft: DIY Colour Changing Screen Printing.
The workshop began with a basic screen printing tutorial for beginners, not including the initial stages of creating the design on the screen to be printed. What was special about this workshop was the dyes that were used on the fabric - thermochromic dyes, or paints that react to heat by changing colours.
The colours available were fairly varied, however when heat was applied it seemed they would change to either yellow, lighter blue or a clear/white shade. The process of screen printing was something I had learned in school, but never had the opportunity to practice since graduating, so the workshop was informative and fun to do with the other students.
It was in the moments of applying the blow dryers to the fabric and paints to make them dry quickly that made the biggest impact - watching the colours change as quickly as they did was a big surprise and we all became excited to try as much as we could in the two hour window once the first prints were complete.
Overall, it was such a worthwhile endeavour - screen printing can be done at home using DIY methods, and having the chance to use these new dyes sparked a lot of creativity in myself and the other students. It was a treat to watch the others try out the pre-designed screens, especially since the group was so varied with artists and non-artists that each had their own visions for their shirts.
I used a few different screens and dyes to blend together and get some different overlapping shapes. When the heat was applied, some of them became one shape since the green and yellow-orange both changed to the same yellow. The pink-red changed to clear/white, and the navy changed to a lighter blue, but slowly and not as intensely as the yellows.
I’d be interested in using this method of printing with the thermochromic dyes again in the future, especially if I had more large-scale screens available, or a pattern in mind to print. Using the pre-made screens was a bit limiting, but the shapes and colours were interesting enough to keep a lot of variation amongst the group.
I probably won’t wear my creation in the future, but it will serve as a cool party trick and memento of a creative evening in a beautiful space with other like-minded students. I’ll be signing up for more workshops in the future and hope to document what I learn along the way.