How to Print Fabric with Print Gocco

comments (4) November 5th, 2008     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
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Too many Santas? No way! Santa fabric printed with Gocco.
Burn your Gocco screen following the manufacturers instructions.
Apply fabric paint to the top of the screen. I have two squeegees designed for Gocco screens but cant find the small one. Pictured is the larger squeegee, but it didnt work all that well for this project.
Too many Santas? No way! Santa fabric printed with Gocco.

Too many Santas? No way! Santa fabric printed with Gocco.

Photo: Erika Kern

I love my Print Gocco. Sadly, it seems that what all Gocco users have feared for ages is happening: No more supplies are being made. Unfamiliar with the saga of Gocco? This site has an, almost, complete history of the tabletop wonder, minus the news from July of this year. Goccos and their supplies are still available on Etsy and eBay and on other sites, but, due to scarcity, the prices have gone way up.

I'd planned this post before I found out about the plug pulling on my favorite terminal craft gadget, so let's think of this as a tribute to a friend gone before it's time. If you do have a Gocco, this is a great way to use it to print fabric. I printed mine with jolly Santa heads found in a free clip-art book I have, but you can use this technique to add any small image to your fabric.

You'll Need:

  • A Print Gocco, screen, and bulbs
  • A high-viscosity fabric paint or ink (I use Jacquard Textile paint or Versatex Screenprint Ink)
  • A small squeegee or some other substitute (I used an old work ID card)
  • Fabric

To start, you'll need to burn your screen.

Burn your Gocco screen following the manufacturer's instructions.

Now here is where you veer from the path since you will not be using the Gocco machine to print the fabric. First, remove the plastic film from the front of the screen.

Apply fabric paint to the top of the screen. I have two squeegees designed for Gocco screens but can't seem to find the small one since my move. Pictured is the larger squeegee, but it didn't work all that well for this project.

You'll want to do the first few pulls of your screen on scrap fabric so that you can clean out any carbon that might be left behind from the burning process. It's also a good idea to test out the pressure and the number of pulls you will need to transfer your image fully onto the fabric. Unlike traditional screen printing, I've found that printing fabric with Gocco requires a flood pull (where you cover the image with ink) and at least two or three regular pulls. As I said above, my squeegee wasn't working for me and I needed a substitute quick! A dig through my junk drawer yielded a replacement: an old work ID card. You could also use an old (or overdrawn) credit card, used gift card, store discount card, or anything small made of rigid plastic.

Printing the fabric!

Printing the fabric with the Gocco screen takes a bit of time to get used to but is easy once you get the hang of it. Use firm pressure to hold the screen down with your free hand and use your squeegee (or squeegee substitute) to apply the fabric paint using a steady swipe at a 45-degree angle. To check your print without moving the screen, hold the top of the screen down with your squeegee and lift the bottom. Do another pull if the image has not fully transferred. If it has, lift the screen carefully, and repeat. I used the width and length of the screen as a guide for where I wanted to place my images. If you want your images closer, wait until your first prints are dry to the touch before you print in the open space.

Once the printing is done, let your fabric dry and then heat-set the image. Now you're ready to start sewing with your own custom-made fabric!

Santa fabric all ready for gift giving!

I'm going to make gift bags and coasters out of mine.

Happy holidays! Hope Santa brings me tons of Gocco supplies for my stash.


posted in: gift wrap, Santa, Print Gocco, fabric printing

Comments (4)

CalPatch writes: you've inspired me to pull out my Gocco and stock up on supplies while i can! i always mean to use it more. and i love the tip of using a credit/ID card as a mimi-squeegee!
Posted: 6:27 pm on November 7th
pinsandneedles writes: Thanks for the tips!!
Posted: 9:16 am on November 6th
erika_kern writes: You sure can stamp fabric!
I've done linoleum block prints using the Jaquard paint and it worked really well. I do find that the transfer off a block or stamp isn't as clear as it is off a screen (since a Print Gocco is basically a small table top screen printer) but it can give your work a cool slightly distressed work. If you use a stamp, I'd recommend something with little detail so that you don't have to worry about blury fine lines.
Posted: 12:32 am on November 6th
pinsandneedles writes: That is so cute! I don't have one of those gadgets...and it doesn't sound like I'll be getting one. I could probably use a chunky rubber stamp and get the same effect, though. Thanks for the neat idea!!
Posted: 2:03 pm on November 5th
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