Tyto Tote Bags- behind the scenes!

I thought I'd share a behind the scene snapshot of the process that goes into creating, in this case, a totebag for Tyto! 

Tyto Boutique is a lovely independent shop based in Falmouth and is one of my regular stockists. Recently the owner, Gemma asked whether I would like to design and print a new totebag for their shop- of course I jumped at the opportunity. Read on to see how I created the product!
  1. It all begins with a piece of paper and a pencil.  I like to use thick bockingford paper and a soft pencil- something about the thickness of the paper inspires me to create. I  research my image before drawing and for this project I looked at a lot of owls- especially their wings, feathers, face shapes  and eyes.

2. Once I have a rough sketch I'm happy with I start the inking in- I make sure all my lines are definite and complete so there is isn't too much correction work to do in photoshop when I scan it in. I really enjoy this process and love watching how the black lines start to bring the subject to life!

3.  Inking complete, the image is scanned and imported to photoshop where I just clean up any smudges or marks. I then save the file as a jpeg and bring it into Illustrator. It's here that I trace it using  Livetrace and turn the image into a scalable vector. I can now resize the image to make sure it will fit the product perfectly. Once it's ready I save the file, this time as a PDF and its ready to print onto acetate.

4.  Printed onto acetate it's time to go to the shed for next part of production- the screen-printing. I have quite a basic set up - and using a halogen lightbulb I burn the image onto a prepped screen. (This was prepared a couple of days before with special photo-emulsion paint).

5. After around 8 minutes the image has been burnt onto the screen and I give it a thorough wash out to remove the softened emulsion that was hidden behind the black outline. As you can see below the image has now been stenciled onto the screen and is ready to be printed...

6. I tape up the sides of the screen to make sure no ink seeps through and also check that my drying areas are cleared and ready to receive the printed bags- once I start the printing process there's no time to hang around-  the inks are fast drying so can block the screen. The inks I use are water-based and are a lot less harmful to the environment than plastisol inks. The ink wraps around the individual threads of the fabric rather than sit on top which means they give good coverage and once heat pressed cannot easily be removed. 

7. The final part of the process is to heat press the image and this is done with a very hot iron.

8. And finally 'Voila'- there you have it a Tyto Totebag ready for sale!

If you fancy buying one yourself just hop over to Tyto's Facebook page and message Gemma- she'll be more than happy to post one to you!  Alternatively if you're in Falmouth just pop on down to the shop at Discovery Quay.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed finding out a bit more about the process of creating a bag!

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