Hiya! It’s Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. If Andy Warhol had been as inspired by conversation hearts as he was by Campbell’s Soup, his iconic heart print may have looked a bit more like this. 😉 I’ve been considering trying my hand at screen printing recently, and doing a simple heart print poster like Mr. Warhol’s seemed like the perfect place to begin.
This first attempt at screen printing involved basic craft supplies, like mod podge and an embroidery hoop, which allows for moderate detail in the finished print. Emulsion screen printing is usually what the pros do, but the supplies can be expensive and the process takes a bit of time. This mod podge screen printing technique is great for simple shapes and limited runs. Check out what you need and follow the steps below to make your own conversation hearts poster inspired by Andy Warhol.
- art paper (in a poster board size for a larger frame)
- square frame (I used a 20″x20″ collage frame but removed the collage mat board)
- acrylic paint
- art squeegee
- mod podge
- fine and broad tipped art brushes
- plain paper for the heart template
- large embroidery hoop
- sheer fabric
Step Two: Cut out a square the size you determine above, fold it in half, trace the shape of a half heart (using this template to help you), and then cut out the heart. Do this a total of four times.
Step Three: Lay out the hearts onto the art paper, with the frame laying over it so you can see how it will be displayed. Then mark the two points of the heart- the bottom point, and the top valley point, so you will know how to properly place the screen later.
Step Four: One one of the hearts you’ve just cut out, write the words you want to be in your conversations, and make sure it’s centered. You want this to be large enough to be legible from a distance. Now lay the screen over top of the heart, tracing about 1/8″ around the heart and tracing the wording exactly.
Step Five: With the screen lifted or propped up at the edges, paint with mod podge over the words and around the heart. Start with a fine brush for more detail, and finish the border area with a wider brush for more coverage. Don’t do too heavy of a coat of mod podge, or it will drip down the back side of the screen without you realizing it, and then you’ll have to start over. Make sure the mod podge over the wording is wide enough so that if a little paint leaks around it when screen printing, the words won’t be lost completely.
Step Six: After the mod podge has completely dried and turned clear (it will probably take 2-4 hours depending on the thickness of the application and the heat and humidity of your space), place the screen onto the art paper, lining up the bottom point and top valley point of the screen’s heart with the points you made on the art paper in step three. Squirt a good amount of paint onto the mod podged area of the screen around the heart, and then drag it with the art squeegee into the un-mod podged area of the screen.
Make sure to not get too much paint into the open area of the screen, or you will lose the integrity of your design as the paint seeps around the opening. You will need to firmly hold the embroidery hoop into place while dragging the paint so that it doesn’t move and affect the design. When you’ve covered the whole area of your design (the un-mod podged area) with a very thin coat of paint, set aside the squeegee and slowly lift up the screen from one side to the other. Then, rinse the screen with cold water (so as not to make the mod podge tacky again- though I didn’t have trouble with this after rinsing mine three times), dry it with some paper towels, and move on to the next heart once the previous heart’s paint is dry. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, but if you feel the need to rush it along, you can use a blow dryer- same goes for a damp screen.
Once you’ve gone through the trouble of making the screen, you might as well make additional posters! It may take a few tries before you get the hang of the printing process, so you may want to buy at two pieces of art paper so you can practice on the first one. I started with a dark purple on a coral orange paper, but I really didn’t like the way the dark hearts looked. I think this design works great with a lighter paint printed overtop of a darker background, but of course you can use any color scheme that you like! Change up the message to personalize the poster as a gift for a friend, or make one with your favorite lyrics.
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson