Manhole Printing

I’m sure my husband thought I had lost it the other day when I headed out to try manhole printing.

I saw this You Tube video about this process and just had to try it.

I’ve always been interested in manhole covers. Here is a picture of one I took when we were in Honolulu.

When I saw that video, I had to try manhole printing. I found one that was just down the street, in the grass, and right next to the school parking lot. This is important because I needed to be close to carry all of the stuff from my car to the manhole. I also needed to be away from traffic.

Here are the supplies needed:

  • fabric
  • small paint roller
  • acrylic sheet (or really any piece of plastic or a paint tray)
  • screen printing ink – water soluble
  • plastic spoons
  • bucket of water
  • towels/rags
  • brayer

It had rained hard the night before so I knew the manhole wouldn’t be real dirty. I used one of my towels to clean and dry it off before adding the ink. Then I spooned the ink on the acrylic sheet and rolled the paint roller in it.

Next I rolled the paint over the manhole cover. I did this several times hoping to get a good print.

Then I placed the fabric over the manhole cover, and smoothed the fabric with my hand. The next time I’ll use a brayer. That would make this much easier and would result in a better print.

I lifted the fabric and put it out in the sun to dry.

While they were drying, I took the bucket of water and poured it over the cover. With one of my towels I wiped all of the paint off. I packed up the car and headed home.

I allowed the fabric to dry overnight and then ironed them on the wrong side to heat set.

Here are my results.

I chose previously dyed fabric. You, of course, could use white fabric, t-shirts, tote bags, or any fabric you want to print. I thought for this first try I’d use these old fabrics I’ve had in my studio for years.

If you decide to do this, make sure you are safe. Don’t try this on a street unless you are sure there will be no traffic. Also, use water soluble screen printing inks so you don’t leave any permanent color. Lastly, leave no mess behind.

Now to look for some different manhole covers to add to the collection. I spotted one on a walkway that might work. More to come!

I’m linking up today with Off the Wall Friday. Check out the link for some inspiration.