I like to silkscreen print on various articles of “blank” clothing to create them interesting and unique, something to fit my style. You can pay money for a Screen Print kit from Michael’s craft store (plus use the 40% off coupon in the paper ad) or…

I do my own and it’s relatively cheap.

Read through my directions every one the way before you begin, create sure you understand. I can get confusing at times.

What you’ll need:

  • Article of clothing to print on
  • Speedball (brand that I use, it works the best) screen printing FABRIC ink (it’s about some doler, but it lasts a long time.) (Also, create sure you get the jars that say FABRIC or else it might not set forever)
  • A medium sized paint brush and various sized smaller brushes
  • Mod Podgy glue
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Panty hose
  • Newspaper/wax paper/ cardboard (amazing to put in between the sides of the cloth so it won’t bleed through in reverse)
  • A printed, monochromatic design.
  • Sharpie pen
  • Old cloth. (to test your screen on)
  • Iron

Directions:

  1. Take the panty hose and affix it to the embroidery hoop. Be sure to stretch it tight, otherwise it could ruin your design when you affect the paint. (Like you would if you were doing embroidery, but you’ll have excess hose.) Trim the surplus off so it won’t get in your way. You’ll now have the beginning of your screen.
  2. Lay your printed design flat on a bench and then lay the “screen” down (fabric side down) on top of the design. Create sure everything you want fits inside of the hoop. Good. Now with a sharpie trace each part of your design, fill it in if you want, especially if it’s an intricate design – this will help you afterward. After you finishes tracing you’re ready for the next step.
  3. This step requires patience and a bit of a steady hand. Don’t be scared, this step takes a bit of time and is the majority difficult. I should state that if you have a complicated and/or intricate design it probably won’t come out exact. I found this out my primary time, but you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. It’s important that you flip the screen over to the reverse side so you don’t glue it down to the newspaper. Panty hose side up.(or whatever you’re using for a drop sheet) Again, lesson I learned the hard way.
  4. After that longwinded speech, here’s what you do: Using the Mod Podge and lesser paint brushes, you want to paint AROUND the OUTSIDE of your design. You are blocking out everything you don’t want paint to touch. The negative space. Take your time and create sure to cover the negative space well.
  5. After you finish with the mod podge let it dry. Or if you’re impatient like me you can use a hair dryer, low power so you don’t stretch the panty hose…
  6. After it’s dry you’re ready to silkscreen print. But first, you really should test out the screen on a piece of scrap fabric just to make sure it’s what you want and that there isn’t some negative space that happens to be uncovered.

To print on cloth with your new screen:

  1. Take your shirt (most likely) and put a piece of cardboard in between the sides. Smooth out the fabric, but don’t stretch it. Lay the screen on the fabric, panty hose side DOWN. Panty hose should be in direct contact with fabric. Take your medium sized brush and the speedball cloth paint and slab it across the screen. Don’t be afraid to put enough on, but don’t use too much either. After it looks like you’ve covered your design, dip the tip of the brush in the paint and stab the design. This will ensure that you get through the screen and cover your design. After you feel comfortable that you’ve covered it well, carefully peel up the screen off of the cloth. The end result should be your design on your shirt or wherever you’ve decided to put it. Remember to test it first so that you get it to where you want it.
  2. While the ink dries you can wash out the screen so you can reuse it. They are surprisingly durable. I’ve got one that I’ve used over twenty times for various items plus it still works like the first time.
  3. Let the ink dry and after it has dried well, iron over it for about five minutes to set the ink. These instructions come on the jar of Speedball screen printing fabric paint. After that the design should be permanent. (Unless you bleach it and then who knows?)
  4. After you gain more and more experience and get a feel for it, you can try to do designs with multiple colors, layering, et cetera.