giant acorn cups

We’re lucky enough to have a wonderful art space in the town next to us. Members of the public can just turn up and create. All of the equipment and resources are there and it’s free! Can you believe that? If you want to do pottery it’s all set up, needle felting, they have the know how, oil painting, not a problem. I’ve been wanting to learn how to screen print and an incredibly talented girl friend and artist just so happens to have mastered the technique and also teaches there. Friday’s are women only days so a couple of weeks ago I decided to pop along.

Moments before going, Mr Tread Softly said that he had a present for me and handed me half a dozen giant sized acorns cups that he’d picked up. I’ve only been able to photograph two of them as Trumpet spotted them and they’re now under the furniture!


Anyway, I decided that the giant acorn cups (I know that they’re not acorns but haven’t the foggiest what else to call them) would be my inspiration for my first screen print. I photographed the process for you step by step as I thought that some of you might be interested in this simple but hugely effective technique.


So I started off with a sheet of paper and my little bit of inspiration. I used newsprint.


I penciled in my random design…


..and then carefully cut out the shapes with a sharp craft knife.


The newsprint was then taped onto the front of a screen printing frame.


Hmmm, this photo is a little dark but at the top I’d spooned out a line of dark chocolate brown textile paint and then used the spreader to pull the paint down the screen. Can you see the Maori design on the screen? Whoever used it in the past didn’t wash it out properly so the paint has stained. I plan to purchase my own frame in the near future.


Here you can see the spread of the textile paint. Doesn’t look too pretty does it? But wait, now for the exciting part.


I carefully pulled the screen away from the fabric to reveal my design. I used natural linen to print onto.


Et voila! Here’s my finished design. Next time I go I’ll be using two colours.


So having heat set the ink I’m now in the process of embellishing it with a simple running stitch in three colours. If you click on the image you should be able to have a closer look.

I’m not sure what the fabric will be made into yet. Maybe a cushion cover – best to keep my first attempt simple I think. Whatever it becomes, I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time…

update: apparently, the giant acorn cups are actually gum nuts – thank you helen for letting me know.

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  1. Cool! Gum nuts šŸ™‚

  2. I so want to learn to screenprint. Terribly jealous of you and amazed at how beautifully your print turned out…

  3. Free, seriously? Where? It came out looking so good. And linen, love that. But I must be honest, my dirty mind has turned some of the drawings into…dirtier things.

  4. Inspirational! Looks fantastic, will have to give it go! We are so lucky to have that art space.

  5. wow! i think i want to move to your town..
    i adore your first screenprint. gum-nut linen. what could be nicer? xx

  6. You are so lucky to have such a fantastic resource so near to you, and free! Wow, how cool.
    I love that screenprint, great work.

  7. Poppy Black

     /  May 15, 2008

    I love screenprinting. I’ve done it with our art teacher at school and my students (hand over hand). It looks fantastic on paper or fabric. Your design is great. I’ve got a screen etc around here somewhere. I’ll probably get around to doing some at the new house when I can work outside. Wouldn’t fancy textile ink on my carpet! XXX

  8. perfect! I had just found a “gum nut” this week myself! I was going to watercolor it (in all my free time, so that means I won’t get to it)… I love what you did. I have never screen printed, but it looks soooo cool! Beautiful result!

  9. Mum

     /  May 16, 2008

    What a lovely design of the gum nut on your fabric. So simple yet realy atractive.I think the stitching around the outside makes the finish look stunning. Will look forward to seeing more colours in future work, and find out what the fabric print will become.

  10. beautiful!!!
    my thanks to helen as well. my 10yo gave me his treasured gum nut for mother’s day, & we couldn’t figure out what it was, or from what tree it came.

  11. Amanda

     /  May 16, 2008

    Wow!!!! Alison, you have made a really great first attempt at screen printing, and I just love how you have put sewen the stitches around the edges it really finishes it all off. It would look really great as a pillow cover, or even just framed in a lovely wooden frame for on the wall. What a lovely resource you have in town, to be able to go and try out different crafts.Have a wonderful weekend. P.S I bought my lovely boots!!!
    Kind Regards Amanda.

  12. Amio

     /  May 16, 2008

    Gum nuts! Do you remember those beautiful, melancholy stories of the gum nut babies? I think it was an Australian book about tiny children that wore gum nut hats? I remember feeling quite spooked by the books as a 5 year old although I can’t remember why!

  13. catherine

     /  May 17, 2008

    what a lovely print from such lovely nature. you can make screens (for printing on fabric not really for paper) using nylon curtian net, the kind with the really tight weave, use a staple gun and stretch it over a wooden frame made by Mr TS if he is willing. look forward to seeing and reading more stuff.
    regards catherine

  14. Nicola

     /  May 19, 2008

    I love your screen print – it looks like good fun. I live in the Wairarapa – where is the art place? Would be a good place to go and get creative! Pottery would be fun (and probably very messy!)

  15. Your first try is genius :o) I love your design, and how you showed your the whole process… from inspiration, to fabric… (well, almost the whole thing… I can’t wait to see what it becomes!) Thanks for sharing that. That art resource place sounds awesome. What a great thing to have around. Take care :o) xox, Linnea

  16. Ooooh, free art place. Might be a good excuse to pop over the hill to the Wairarapa more often. Where is it?
    I love your first print and the gum nut inspiration! And it looks great with the stitched outlines.

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