View Full Version : How to Clean a Silk Screen Print

09-25-2009, 01:16 PM
Hello! I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask here because I know several people on the forum have serious art training.
Today I found a silk screen on canvas by an artist that I'm very fond of. I bought it for just under $3 at a thrift shop. The print is by Marushka (not particularily valuable but I sure do love it) and is grass silouhettes in brown on the natural canvas....it's a bit stained (the canvas is slightly discolored.) Is this something I can clean myself or should I not even attempt it? If I can do it, how do I?

09-25-2009, 01:20 PM
Foxy, don't know if this helps, but here is a link to cleaning art work:


If it doesn't pertain to what you're asking, I apologize. Best of luck getting it cleaned. It sounds very dear to you.. I hope you can get it cleaned up :)

09-25-2009, 02:20 PM
Bread! Irishrose's article suggests using bread! Hah! That's great. And affordable, too.

09-25-2009, 02:21 PM
Works for me, and hey, no fumes! :) I think How To is one of the best websites out there for getting things done. :) Thanks Foxy! xo

09-25-2009, 02:37 PM
Here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/marushkaprints/) is a link to a photos of Marushka prints....
I don't live very far from Lake Michigan and the subject matter of Marushka prints is often of Lake Michigan and the sand dunes. The first one that I found (also from a thrift store) tree sillouhette. Today's find compliments it very well.
Both of mine have a distinct 1970's decor feel.....and, if I understand right, date from early in the company's history. It's the simple plant-type subjects from the early days that I like. Nothing profound; just fun. The later ones that I see from the 1980's have sort of a "canned" feeling to them and it seems obvious from looking at them that they were produced for a specific market.

The Michigan Rag company is now producing new Marushka art..... (http://www.geocities.com/marushkacentral/m101.html)
My tree is this tree but in a snazzy tonal brown and orange:

09-25-2009, 02:42 PM
Very beautiful prints Foxy!!!!

And maybe if you contact the Michigan Rag company they can tell you more about how to clean a silk screen print on canvas. I'm sure they have a lot of knowledge about silk screening!

What a great website of prints... gorgeous!

09-25-2009, 02:51 PM
Now that's a great idea. If I learn anything, I'll pass the word on....

09-25-2009, 03:03 PM
Thanks Foxy! :) I always go to the source :)

09-27-2009, 12:33 AM
Well, yesterday I gave them a call. Very friendly people. Turns out that back in the early 1970's, the artists were using a water-based ink that probably isn't even legal anymore. Anyway, the discoloring that I see is probably compounds from the ink leaching into the linen fabric. The only option to prevent this would be to set the ink in a large, hot oven which isn't an option because the print is too large for any oven I have access to. I do have access to a few kilns, but the only large one is a wood-burning one and somehow I don't think that would work. Hah!
Anyway, I did try out the bread technique and by golly, it worked pretty well on the unpainted surface. On the inked area, however, the bread wanted to lift the ink a bit.
And there you have it.

09-27-2009, 08:27 AM
I like your print that you found very much. I also love the fact that I learn something new almost every day.
Wonderful synopsis of the Marushka prints.

link (http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2007/11/richard_sweet_founder_of_marus.html)

I would also add that you could easily do this with your flower pictures.
Did you know that you can now digitally transfer your images onto the
screens to make screen prints? It is just a matter of turning them into separate screens for each color you want to use in your posters.
Make some money yeah.... I think your prints would be far lovelier. :)
And to me, more collectible. :)

I like this one a lot on the Flickr. (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3046/2935442064_34b185a0dc.jpg)

09-27-2009, 10:55 AM
Oh, Albert, thanks for the info and kind words! I'm on the fence with my photos....I think I could sell some, but I worry that if I tried to make money off of them, they'd no longer be quite so enjoyable to take.......
It would indeed be interesting to learn how make silkscreens at home, though!

Here's one that I would love to put in my kitchen (http://www.flickr.com/photos/marushkaprints/2776964014/in/pool-marushka)....

09-28-2009, 08:33 AM
Hi Foxy

Just tried to find an appropriate answer to your problem with this link I used when I cleaned the painted silk kimono I offered to someone dear to me years ago...

here it is : http://translate.google.fr/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.explic.com%2F11889-soie.htm&sl=fr&tl=en&hl=fr&ie=UTF-8

Tell me if it will be clear if not I'll try to do myself a translation from french to english :)



12-10-2018, 02:38 AM
Hi there,

Apologies for bringing back an old thread, but having tried searching for the answer this was the only one that popped up.

After clearing out my grandparents’ old house we found some artwork that my mum had made back in the 70s – a screenprint on silk, which sadly was not kept in a good condition (we found it in the attic covered by quite a lot of stuff).

I note Pedro’s suggestion above on cleaning using pure alcohol. A local framer suggested using diluted bleach. Does anyone have any experience of having cleaned successfully with either, and would you recommend one over the other? Any advice greatly appreciated!




D Akey
12-10-2018, 06:58 AM
Sorry but I have not. However, I would be very very careful with bleach because you know what it does out of the bottle if you've ever splashed some onto a towel in the wash. With this silk screen you could ruin it because you have no experience with it, nor do you know what your neighbor has done, how vulnerable the inks were, the fabric etc. If you want to sell it, I would try to find out who did it and if their works is valuable or not. If it's just a fun project, knock yourself out and try stuff.

Looking at the photo, it looks like it's splotchy already and I don't know if it's discoloration or grime.

Also down at Home Depot where you can rent a carpet cleaning machine, they have an advisory notice that you're using it at your own risk and they're not responsible for the chemicals you use which can ruin a carpet if done wrong. So imprinted fabric cleaning is a known risk.

If there is a spot hidden by the frame, you could try a very little spot as a test. But it's risky no matter what you do -- my humble inexperienced guess. That's how they clean paintings at a museum.

I think there's probably a reason people don't talk about it on the internet which talks about everything. It may simply be a bad idea. The other thing is that if you want to keep it, you could reframe it under plexiglass (probably would cost a fair bit) and treat it like an antique photo would be from the civil war where discoloration is part of it at this point in time. But this is so modern in style that it may not match the era. I suppose how much you want to spend on it depends if your intention is to sell like on those TV shows or keep it.

If it's important to you I would ask at a museum or ask your question on sites that are focused on silk screen printing. Who knows. There may be a safe and easy way.

Or if you can find a signature you might look up the original artist and try contacting them directly with that question.

BTW, isn't that supposed to be hung vertically?

12-10-2018, 01:10 PM
Thanks for that. By the sounds of it I should (carefully) try my luck on a very small area and see what happens then before attempting anything on a bigger area. It was done by my mother, so definitely not keen to get rid (or to ruin!). Not quite sure why the photo rotated the image on upload, but what’s done is done there (and at least gives an idea of the discolouration).

D Akey
12-10-2018, 04:32 PM
Then it's definitely worth the effort. Okay, here it is vertical just to see how nice it is. Very talented lady.
Cheers, mate.