Screenprinting an Anthony Burrill t-shirt with Levi’s

Flags on Regent Street – I recognise about 3 of these. That Geography GCSE was a long time ago.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email asking if I’d like to come and screenprint an Anthony Burrill designed t-shirt at the Levi’s print workshop on Regent Street. Awesome designer + screenprinting? I had to say yes! Especially as my boyfriend is a huge Anthony Burrill fan and it would make him v jealous (mission accomplished, by the way).

We’ve got a couple of Burrill prints in our house – here’s a double-sided one that hangs in our living room, reminding me to be more of a ‘glass half-full’ type of person.

And here’s lots of his prints hanging in the Levi’s store, where the print workshop was.

So anyway, this was a really fun experience. Here was the most awesome thing about it, this fantastic t-shirt printing carousel, which is from I want one of these SO badly. Don’t ask me where it would go in our flat. I just need it, okay?

You lay your t-shirt out on the bed, then you swing round the right screen, pull it down and drag the squeegee across to print. As the screen comes down, the arms fit into a special slot so the print is lined up perfectly every time.

Here’s a montage of my t-shirt being printed – the empty bed on the left, then the t-shirt half done, then the last layer being dried. They were using oil based inks which have to be heat-set, the water-based ones dried out too quickly as the colour had to be left on the screen all day.

Levi’s had hired Marcroy and Jim of People of Print (check out their website! it is great) to help everyone with their screen-printing, which thankfully meant that my t-shirt looked perfect and not a massive smudged mess. You have to press down really hard on these screens! I’m more used to printing a large expanse of fabric and not a single motif, so it was brilliant to get a bit of help.

I also had a pic of me and my t-shirt taken in a digital photobooth, which spat out four different shots just like the old-skool variety. They gave me a copy of the prints which I lost on the way home (of course), but here are some other people’s together with their suggested slogans.

And here’s my in my new t-shirt! Thanks guys! (sorry this photo is so blurry – you just can’t get the staff these days).

I’d love to do more printing but never seem to get round to it – it’s so messy to do at home, you really need to go somewhere with all the equipment. But there’s nothing more fun than seeing your design emerge after all the work to expose the screen and set everything up. Thanks to Levi’s for giving me a taster of printing again! (by the way if you’d like to try it and you’re in London, I highly recommend the screen-printing classes at Morley College)