The A & B Stories

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Screen Printing Tips and Tricks


Hello there! Today I want to share some screen printing tips with you all. I did this on my Instagram account a few months back, so I'm going to copy most of that here but include some more info for you!

I am contacted regularly about silk screening, and I love sharing tips with people! There are a lot of small businesses out there trying to create brands and they are paying local printers to do this, which is totally ok if you have the budget to do so! But if you're starting with a shoestring budget like I did, then DIY is the way to go!

When I got started, I was really nervous about it. And I tried desperately to find info on various groups, message boards, etc. and I had a hard time getting some straight answers. SO. I'm going to cover some basics here, and please comment below if you have ANY questions!

First things first, you need to have your designs. For me, I draw everything by hand and then digitize it. You may do things in Photoshop, totally up to you! When your artwork is complete, have it printed onto transparencies (I use two and tape them together with clear tape). 

I will try to outline the steps here in my own words, I I recommend a book called Silk Screening Basics - A Complete How-to Handbook. This is how I learned and I really loved it. I refer to it still even now.

But, these are the basic steps, so let's get started!


  • Transparency of your artwork
  • Silk screens (I often order from Amazon)
  • Photo emulsion kit
  • Fabric ink (I love ordering from Desserres)
  • Squeegee (I use a smaller version of this one)
  • Lamp (or, you can use natural light but it's tricky)
  • A light tight box (I used one I had on hand and taped/covered all seams)
  • Piece of glass (I used one from a picture frame)
  • Black cloth or an old t shirt
  • Blank item you want to silk screen on
  • Spatulas (I buy mine from the dollar store)
  • Iron


  1. The night before you want to print, you want to coat your new silk screen in the photo emulsion. Follow the kit steps to mix it, then coat the screen. Run a thin bead across the top of the screen and pull it down using your squeegee. Flip and repeat, flip and repeat, until you have it nicely covered with no empty spots.
  2. Place the screen in your light tight box, and let it dry overnight (or for a good few hours).
  3. When you're ready to burn your design, set up yur lamp according to the box directions, have it all set up but dn't plug it in yet.
  4. Go into a dark room, and take your screen out. The light can't hit the screen yet, so you have to sort of fumble through this part. Put your screen face down, then place your artwork on the back (backwards), and put the glass on top. Put it all back in the box.
  5. Bring everything to where you set your lamp up. Place your black cloth on the ground (this will prevent light reflecting and messing with your image), turn on your lamp, and quickly place your screen/design directly below it. Make sure at this point you set up your timer! (The time you burn your screen is included with the light kit)
  6. If you don't have a lamp and don't want one - you can do everything above and just take your screen outside. It's not foolproof, and you may have to redo your screen, but I did several in the natural light and found that about five minutes worked for me. You do NOT need a sunny day, overcast will work just fine.
  7. As soon as your time is done, quickly bring your screen to your shower and direct the water at the design. This part can take a bit of time, but soon your design will begin to reveal itself!
  8. Once your design is nice and crisp, dry it off with a papertowel, and place it outside for at least 20 minutes. This step really hardens the remaining emulsion, giving you a screen that will last years! I have been printing regaularly for nearly two years now and the only screens I've ever had to redo are the ones that I did in the natural light, back when I had no idea what I was doing. I REALLY recommend the lamp you guys, seriously, just get it.
  9. Now the easy part - printing!! Take your screen, and place it on top of your blank clothing item. I place something in between to pro the blank up towards the screen, you want nice tight contact. You can use a folded towel under the shirt, a padded ipad case even.
  10. Run a small bit of ink across the top of the design with your spatula, and holding your screen nice and firmly, use your squeegee to slide the ink down. Do this only once or twice, but firmly. 
  11. Lift the screen up, and you're done! - You may need to experiment here with pressure, amount of ink, etc. Use some scrap fabric or old items you no longer want beofre printing on your good blanks!
  12. Let your item dry completely, at least an hour or two.
  13. Run your iron over it for a couple of minutes (I put a thin cottom cloth between the ink and iron) to heat set the design and make it resistant to fading in the wash.
  14. THE END.
Here are some little extra tips I've learned along the way.

  • Watch a lot of Youtube. There are tons of video tutorials on there to help you with each step. 
  • Don't make your own screens. I mean, ok, fine, you can. But, I don't recommend that because if you use them a lot they take a bit of a beating, and they need to be PERFECTLY square in order to sit nice and flat. But that's just my opinion :) 
  • If you are printing and ink comes through where it shouldn't, I use a heavy threaded tape to patch the area. You can buy screen filler too, but this is just faster and no drying time. 
  • Use this tape to tape the edge of the screen, on the back side. Ink tends to squeeze through the edges if you press down hard enough and the emulsion breaks, so this tape protects you from ink bleeds even if that does happen, making your screen stronger.
  • If you want to redo your screen after a while, you can buy screen, just replace it! I find that easier than actually using the photo emulsion remover. 
  • Wash your screens quickly after each use. Take good care of them so they last a long time.
  • You can use any colour of ink on the same screen (for example, I print my grizzly bear in both black and white), just again make sure you thoroughly wash it in between and let it dry.
  • Only print with a bone dry screen, don't rush it, or your ink could bleed.
That about covers it! If I can ever help you, just email me or comment below! 

Thanks so much for reading you guys!!! Happy printing!! 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Last night we went to see The Smashing Pumpkins, and it has pulled me out of blogging obscurity. I know. Weird. It's only been, what, a year? More? Meh, whatever. 

When I was a kid, grade 6, I bought a mix tape from this kid in my middle school. The Mix Tape is called "Chuck's Kick Ass Mix' and it was indeed, a kick ass mix. On it was a pretty incredible mix of bands - Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon....and The Smashing Pumpkins. And so began my love of this band. 

There are many bands that I love more than SP, it's not that I'm a superfan. But, this band is my CHILDHOOD. Hearing the song Today takes me right back to the first time I listened, right after I went downtown and bought the tape with my allowance. And hearing 1979 takes me right back to laying in fields in the summer with friends, trying to figure out where we should go, what we should do, nothing but time on our hands. We weren't all absorbed with technology, we were just kids, wild and free, right on the cusp of the technological revolution that is slowly robbing our children of their childhoods. 

Anyway, last night Billy and I saw SP at Massey Hall in Toronto. What. A. Show. Every song was perfect. Lots of acoustic. Lots of electric. A Bowie cover. A Stones cover. All so perfect. But to me, the best part of the show came when they played 1979. Everyone stood and sang with him. It was everything. I was instantly transported to my teenage years, to summer, to the days when you would just sit and listen, REALLY listen, to a good song. And when Billy stopped singing, the crowd went crazy. Standing ovation. And no one would stop clapping. It was the middle of the show, so it was no encore clap. And I can't speak for anyone else there. But for me, it was just my way of showing him that 1979 is one of the best songs I've ever heard, the song of a generation. The song that represents everything, before it all became something else. 

Anyway, I think I'll pop in here again now, because honestly I'm just too long winded for Instagram and I have lots to share. I've been crazy busy with my business and I would like to share some posts on that too (and maybe share some tips and tricks, that sort of thing. 

If you're looking for me until them, I'm over on IG of course! Personal @adrianeduckworth and The Wild @thewildkidsapparel. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015



Our little Sawyer is one year old. This time last year we were still with him in the hospital which was one of the most wonderful, quickly turned to one of the hardest weeks of our lives. Some of you may remember that story, if not, I won't get into all the details because the important thing is that we had this beautiful, healthy, perfect little boy to bring home to Ben. These two. They kill me.

To say that Ben adores his little brother is the understatement of the century. I can't convey in pictures or words what these two have going on. It's the best thing ever. I am so proud of Ben for being so sweet and loving towards Sawyer. My sweet boys. The best little people ever.

Just like his big brother, he has silly perma-bedhead. He's funny and sweet and loves to snuggle. He's moving everywhere, and he's furiously trying to walk. I am so excited to see these two running around together this summer. 

Tomorrow we will have a small get together to celebrate this guy. We are so happy he's one of us :)

The Wild featured on Bluebird Kisses


Ana over at Bluebird Kisses featured The Wild on her Small Business thursday series! I'm SO honoured! Take a look for more behind the scenes pics and a little interview.

As she mentions in her post, she and I will be working together to host a BIG giveaway to celebrate the launch of The Wild. Stay tuned, and make sure you are following us both on Instagram (Ana and me)

Ana has been a huge supporter of not only my business venture but other small business owners out there. She is so encouraging and always wants to help spread the word, she's truly a selfless, amazing person and I am one of her absolute biggest fans. OH! And she's going to be opening her very own shop soon, Rufus + Murdog, which will feature an amazing collection of cool finds for babies and kids (including us of course!) so follow along with the shop here. (Side note - guess who illustrated the dogs in her logo? Three guesses...)

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Sawyer's Monthly Photos - Catching Up

If this isn't the purest example of second children not getting the same perks as first borns than I don't know what is. I still take Sawyer's monthly photos, I do! Do I post them? Well no. When I was in school I took my blog offline and wanted to focus on that exclusively, and then I totally lost momentum with, well, everything else in life. So I'm getting back on track with the internet. And with Sawyer's first birthday right around the corner (!!!) I thought I'd better get these up here!





Things to note. that red hair isn't going anywhere. And I chose the darkest, most difficult to photo corner of the house to take these pictures in. Dammit. 

Sawyer is growing so fast. He wants to basically run after Ben all day long, and gets very pissed off when he realizes he can't do just that. He has a hot little temper this one. Don't cross him!!!

He's also the sweetest little guy, adores Ben, loves to clap his hands and wave. LOVES food. Loves to sit sideline while Ben has a bath. These two brothers. My heart.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

T H E W I L D | Modern apparel for hip kids.

Hello! So I've been alluding here and there to a project that I've been working on for ever (and ever) and it's all finally out in the open. This has been a labour of love to say the least...what an adventure. I'm so SO happy it's all launched!


So, a little back-story. Years ago I had been painting and had created some characters for Ben's room. People started asking for them and things began to snowball. I had this crazy idea that it would be so wonderful to create something really cool with these drawings of mine. 

Countless sketchbooks and notebooks and months (years) later, this is where I'm starting. And seriously, starting is the key word. For now, we are offering baby clothes, kids clothes and accessories. There are so many more things I will be adding. Stay tuned! But for now, check out what we have!!









This is just a little peek, you can see more on our website here and our Etsy shop here. Also, you can follow along with us:

✚ INSTAGRAM /// @thewildkidsapparel


✚ TWITTER /// @thewildkidsapp


We plan on adding more products, different characters, running some fun contests....eee I can't wait!!

This project was not done alone. I could NOT have done any of this without Billy, who has been my sounding board, my constant support, my photographer, my complete partner. I want to do this for him and for our kids. I want Ben and Sawyer to see that Mommy works hard too, and if all goes well I too can be contributing to our family. Taking these years to be home with the boys has been a DREAM and I feel so completely lucky to have been able to do it. It's all because of Billy. But it's time to really seriously integrate work into my life, and balance that with my mom duties. This balance is something I've been really needing and I'm happier than ever when I have work to do. Ask anyone. I'm strange.

My Mom and Dad. Those two. I can't begin to describe how much they help and support me, encourage me, motivate me. It's because of them that I applied to school again, to this amazing semi-secret program that has helped me make this all happen. They are the hardest working people, both small business owners, and they push me to do things that I normally wouldn't think were possible. You guys. Thank you times a billion.

Ben and Sawyer! My handsome little muses. This is ALL because you exist. Not even lying, before you I wasn't sure that I liked kids all that much. Now, I'm sold. Kids rule. You two most of all.

Don, Norine, Cass, Kurt, the family that I married into who are the best ever. You guys are always there for us every step of the way and I don't know what we would do without you. Cass, I'm totally going to need you at my upcoming markets girl. 

To everyone, my family, my friends, everyone who is sick of hearing about this, ALL OF YOU, I'm so very grateful. Not only for being my cheerleaders, for sharing and liking things all over social media. But just for being in my life and for being AWESOME. I never could have imagined I would have the best set of people in the universe surrounding me. It's the best.

Anyway, I love you guys. Straight up for real. You get it.



Monday, 12 January 2015

Christmas 2015


Christmas is always great, always. I love it beyond words. But I remember one of my least favourite Christmases. A few years ago, the Christmas before I was pregnant with Benjamin. It was lovely, don't get me wrong. 

Billy and I had been married for over a year, things had slowed down from all of that chaos. Things were good. And Christmas was good. 

But it was quiet. Too quiet. It wasn't spoken of, not even between Billy and I, but I knew there were people missing. I knew that it was time to bring little ones into this family of ours. I knew I didn't want another Christmas to go by without them.

The following Christmas I was pregnant, and every Christmas since has been....right. Complete. And it just gets better and better. This year, Sawyer's first Christmas, was the best yet. So perfectly complete. I am so, so grateful to be surrounded by my boys, my Mom and Dad, Billy's family, everyone. During the holidays, and every other day of the year.







Golden Globes 2015 Fashion - The year the fashion died

Nothing can pull me out of blogger hiding like an award show with hideous dresses. I mean. Last night was atrocious.

Let's talk about what was good, because that's kind of boring. We'll start with my personal fav. Diane.

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Oh Diane. You are so wonderful. You don't go for the boring strapless numbers we see over and over and OVERRRR. This dress is so beautiful and unique and you should win some sort of fashion medal. Also you and your boyfriend are the cutest and please don't break up.

Next up. Emma. 


This outfit is super cool. I don't know about weird appropriateness fashion rules when it comes to the varying degrees of formality at these shows, but I loved this. 

Channing Tatum's Wife

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Do you know her name? Come on, you don't. Anyway, her hair is so pretty and the silhouette of this is a little weird but she looks like a beautiful spring flower and I thought it was pretty nice on her. 

Helen Mirren

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This dress really isn't all that great but you guys. Helen is such a babe. I love that she is 69 years old and takes care of herself. She looks amazing. She's super inspiring to me.

Felicity Jones

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I love anything with a different neckline, and the shape of this dress is lovely. She looks so perfect.

Taylor Schilling

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I'm the only person in North America that hasn't yet watched this girl's show (there's just too much good tv!) but this dress is so good. So good. Well done, girl.

Tiny Fey

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This dress is really weird but I loved it. Edgy and cool and black and white. Yes.

And now. The bad.

Claire Danes

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Hi, my name is Claire Danes. I have all of the money in the world and this is the very best dress I could find for this event. Ok Claire. Ok.

Lupita Nyong'o


Dressing for spring doesn't have to be this literal. Actual petals? It's silly.


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Dear JLo, the 90's JLo called and said it's ok to not wear skin toned lipstick and plunging necklines. We get it. You are bronzed. WE GET IT.

Keira Nightly

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What. The. F. I've never wanted to use the "I can't even." more than now. But I literally can't even.

My beloved Jennifer Aniston

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Jen. We need to talk. Let me preface this by saying that I am your biggest fan. For real. I will NEVER FORGIVE BRAD. And I am so so happy to see you nominated. But honestly, when did you stop being good at award show fashion? If you were always bad, this would make sense. And this isn't your worst. The dreaded John Mayer/braided band fiasco outshines this. And this isn't terrible. But you could do SO MUCH BETTER. And you were nominated this year. So this was your year. I'm crying on the inside for you. But, you know what? You found a guy that's cooler than Brad, and so, things aren't so bad for you Jen. Just please fire your stylist. Or hiring one if this is your own doing.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

So. Ya. Worst blogger. Ever.


I've been busy you guys. It sounds so funny to write 'you guys' as if anyone is reading, but maybe I'm still stuck in someone's Feedly or something and like three or four people will see this? Well, I have a decent enough reason for my absence. Ready for a story? Grab a tea.

Ok, so year ago, after Ben was born, I got really, really into painting and drawing. More so than ever. So, for a while I was painting. Then I was painting more. Then I was painting stuff for kids. And drawing characters for Ben. And the ideas were really flowing.

I decided I wanted to open a business focused solely on my children's illustrations. I had a million product ideas, and I thought I could really make something of it. And then, Sawyer happened. Lovely, incredibly cute Sawyer. So, sidetracked! The best kind of sidetrack :)

Anyway.....Sawyer arrived, we got used to being a family of four, and the idea returned. And I knew it was time to make things happen.

After speaking with my Mom and Dad, they convinced me to look into this amazing government program that, if you're selected, helps you create a business plan, and implementation plan, and supports you through the whole process. This program involved in class training, a business coach, and a lot of resources not openly available to the public. Very cool stuff.

Well, I applied. And I was accepted. And I went to school. And I finished school. And now I'm on #689354 of my implementation list. It's all happening friends. For real. In a few weeks (!!!!!) I will be able to actually share the shop details. But for now, I'll just say that it's coming. And I REALLY hope you like it!

So, I am going to keep updating, and soon you'll see everything! And updates on the boys to come, of course!

P.S. That Rad as F//k t-shirt is by the one and only Sara of Top Knot Weddings, and yes, you need to buy one.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Ancaster Fair

We spent our Sunday out at the Ancaster Fairgrounds. This time of year is just the best, right?

All fairs are pretty much the same so I'll spare you the details but, we hit a major milestone today. Ben went on rides all by himself! He actually wanted to do it, and he was so brave! I might have cried a bit. Ya, I'm that mom.





And one with Daddy, so excited about that one!


Uncle Mike and Auntie Emma came out to meet us, the boys were pretty excited to see them!



Poor Sawyer had a few bouts of really bad teething here and there. Billy and I took turns putting him in the carrier, but he was still pretty mad about it.


Bunnies! I want one!!



As Billy put it, this next picture sums up Ben and Sawyer's relationship perfectly. 


And, to end, a pretty sky. Because I have a thing for skies. 

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