Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What happened to Nameless?

I'm thinking of retiring my alias.

Nameless Wonder, and variations thereof, has been my primary internet alias for probably about eight years now.

I am an active internet persona. I don't know how else to describe it. I sign up on a lot of websites and post in a lot of places. It's easiest for me to use the same username over and over so I don't have to remember them. Not the most secure method, I suppose, but these are not major sites. To lose those accounts would not mean much to me personally.

But, like a lot of people, I post some fairly personal information, if not particularly identifying. Imagine my surprise when I got an email this morning from someone who had followed some links, Googled an old username of mine, and found a reference on a current journal that I maintain on another website. I submitted a request to have the cached result removed from Google, since I've edited the entry to remove the referenced name & URL that probably lead this person to me. They seemed pretty harmless, just verbose. It was still kind of freaky. At first I thought they were someone I interacted with online ten years ago, who in a way became a bit of an internet stalker, but no, just another person who identified with my teenage-self.

I wonder what kind of steps popular bloggers take to protect their identity. It was off-putting enough just having someone find another snippet of me on the internet, from a username that I retired so long ago. I can't imagine what it would be like to receive mail to my home or have my relatives contacted because of something I wrote online.

Though there was that time I received some brochures about Texas not long after talking about how it might be nice to live there (before they passed some absurd anti-abortion laws).

I'm not nameless anymore. I share my first name, at the very least, with internet friends pretty regularly now. Since getting married last year, I feel more secure in my name than ever. My last name was never part of the issue of me feeling like I didn't have a concrete identity, but changing it helped me realize how I am becoming who I want to be. It was an act of reclamation in some ways.

I have no idea what will happen to this blog. I barely post nowadays anyway. I am finally more interested in my own life than sharing with others what's going on with it. I seek validation from others, but it's not going to help me attain my goals unless this became some kind of source of income. That's unlikely, I'm fairly boring and not good at networking.

Anyway, all I know right now is I'm going to start being more careful about the information I put online. I also need to come up with some easy to remember throw-away usernames for the odd sites I sign up on. The LastPass application will probably help with that, so I don't even have to remember my password!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Silkscreen stenciling, the lazy way

For our one-year wedding anniversary, I decided to decorate a t-shirt for my husband with the logo of our most recent favorite band, Twenty One Pilots.

My source image
I did some Googling on silkscreen printing and found a process that I felt would work for me. Since this was my first time, it's kind of messy, but my husband and I are both very happy with the results.

(Sorry in advance about the poor lighting in the photos)

What you need

  • Silkscreen paint (Speedball is the brand I bought)
  • Foam brush or a sponge would probably work too
  • Freezer paper or preferred stenciling paper
  • Pen or pencil for stencil tracing
  • Sharp implement like an Exacto knife (or the blade from a multi-tool if you're me)
  • Source image, printed out at the size you want it on the t-shirt
  • (Optional) Ruler for any straight lines in your stencil
  • T-shirt, clean & dry
  • Piece of cardboard to put in the t-shirt
  • Masking tape
  • Iron

After you've gathered all that, you realize that you stuck at tutorials and you've already done half of the t-shirt design!

So scroll ahead to see how to do all of this. If you have separated colors like my image does, you can make a couple of stencils and apply in separate sessions. Just remember that any paint you are going to apply another stencil over has to be completely dried. I waited a full day before continuing. In this method (and this particular image), you could probably do all of the colors at once, but I didn't want to have to worry about painting in the wrong spots.

So, trace your image onto your freezer paper and then cut it out. Toss the cut out parts.

Voila. The knife on this multi-tool was pretty sharp, but really an Exacto knife is the only way to go.

Here, the inner part of my stencil has been lined up as close as I could manage onto the t-shirt and then ironed on. That's why I use freezer paper for fabric stencils: the shiny side can be temporarily adhered by ironing. It peels off really easily. This means it's not reusable, but that works for me. For the red & blue parts, I actually measured the image & the t-shirt to try and center it as much as possible.

Here, I attempted to line up the outer stencil as best as I could with the pre-painted parts & measurements I put down with pencil and then ironed it down. Getting circles placed is really obnoxious. Time to paint!

This paint is pretty thick. I tried to apply only with dabs to reduce the risk of bleeding underneath the stencil edges, but it wasn't perfect. I think the application probably takes some practice.

After applying the paint, I removed the stencil right away so the paint doesn't dry the stencil onto the shirt. I didn't know if that would happen, but wasn't taking any chances! I realized at this point that I needed a way to remove the inner stencil without smudging anything. I took a sewing pin to lift up an edge and then used a gloved hand to pull off the inner stencil.

Nearly done! With silkscreen paint, it has to be heat set. I let this dry for 24 hours and then ironed over it, using a sheet of brown paper to protect the t-shirt & paint. I also flipped it inside out to iron the inside so it could be set as possible.

The last step is DON'T WASH THE SHIRT FOR 5-7 DAYS. I guess there are ways to set the paint in other silkscreen methods that don't require all this waiting, but really this is great for a lazy crafter like me. I'll probably make the same shirt for myself! I haven't washed this one yet (t-minus 3-5 more days), so hopefully I won't be updating this post next week crying about how the image washed off.

Also pictured, the tungsten ring I bought him for our anniversary.
Have fun!

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