I started a project quilt a few months back, one that I planned to screen print onto - I have the quilt made, the design done... and now I need to do the pre-press to get it ready for printing. I thought you might enjoy this process, so I'm sharing!
As with quilting, screen printing is very "set-up" oriented. You have to plan, measure, and cut before you can start stitching on a quilt. For screen printing, we need to make and set up a screen before we think about pulling ink. Pre-press is what this part of printing is called, and it's what I do everyday for our t-shirt business.
Printing on a pre-made quilt top will be a first for me and my husband, who is collaborating with me for the actual printing. This is because our screen size is usually maxed out at a 10"x 12" size, this quilt is about 54"x 65"... and with seams! So, the BIG question is: how are we going to print a large image? We decided to break it up into smaller bits and print in small sections with an 3/8"overlap. Fingers will be crossed tightly through this part to see if this will work.
So... To start I made a grid in Illustrator the size of my quilt blocks - the actual quilt blocks do vary about 1/4" here and there, so it's a general guideline:
Now I have my design over my grid where I want it to be, so I no longer need the photo of the quilt top:
From here, I would normally send each one of these sections out to get a piece of film positive made at a pre-press company. One of these sections would be $35 as a piece of film, since I do not want to spend that on one-time prints, I'm going to make copies on transparency stock at Kinkos. Once we have the films made, we can start the next part of the process: shooting screens.
This quilt is all about process - which takes time, however... I will post as soon as we start on the screens!