Labor Day Weekend – Fish Printing

What we’ve really been wanting to do in fish printing is to print one or more T-shirts with the dye release method. That is, you print your fish on a dark T-shirt using SoftScrub with bleach instead of ink. The idea is to bleach the shirt where you printed and end up with a light print on the dark shirt. The results depend a lot on how the colorfast the particular fabric is, and how it reacts to the bleach, as well as how you print.

Long story short, we have a lot to learn still.

Here are our fish, to start:

Impressive? They look as if they came out of a sardine can, not out of a pond we hiked half a mile to find. After some internet research, I’m convinced these are golden shiners. They’re tiny fish, but big enough to try to print.

Here’s our T-shirt, with some SoftScrub in a styrofoam tray to ink the fish, and some cardboard to put inside the shirt to make a firm surface to print against and to keep the bleach off the back of the shirt.

We printed and printed, and then washed the SoftScrub off the fish and printed with some block printing ink on paper, just because we had the fish and we might as well get more printing out of them before we were done. Here are Arlene’s prints:

Here’s the shirt hanging up to dry in the sun. People at the NPS workshop told us to let the shirt sit in the sun with the SoftScrub on it, and to rinse it out after it had sat for several hours. Even so, most of the light color you see is the SoftScrub itself, not the bleached shirt. The finished shirt, or I should say the shirt after we rinsed this out, has much less intense light color on it.

And finally, here are my paper prints.

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