Screen printing is a fun activity that is cheap, easy and can generate some impressive results; and best of all you get some funky new clothes at the end of it. This article will concentrate on t-shirts but this technique can be used just as easily to personalise hoodies, bags, shawls or any other garment.
What You Will Need
• Fabric Ink
• A screen/frame
• A squeegee/spatula
• Plain Paper
• Craft Knife
• Masking Tape
• Plain T-shirt
Most of the above materials are fairly self-explanatory and available from most craft shops but it is worth going into further detail with regards to the screen/frame because it is possible to make your own rather than purchasing one.
To make your own screen you will need a picture frame large enough to contain your design and some mesh (43T mesh is the best – if you are unsure, ask in your local craft shop). You need to stretch the mesh around one side of the frame and staple it to the other side making sure it is taut, tight and secure.
1. First thing is first: You need a design. If you are a screen printing novice I would suggest maybe picking a simple shape, pattern or logo that only needs one colour; this could be anything from a skull and crossbones to a pattern of triangles to the Batman symbol. Draw or trace your design onto the paper and then cut it out using the craft knife (there will obviously need to be adult supervision if children are joining in the fun).
2. Use the masking tape to cover up any areas of the mesh that will be exposed when the mesh meets your design. This will stop any ink seeping around the edges of your design and onto your shirt. Do not tape the design to the mesh though.
3. Place your t-shirt on a flat surface and make sure it has no large creases. Then place the paper onto the t-shirt in the position where you would like the design to be. Now place the screen on top of both the design and the t-shirt.
4. Place about a tablespoon of ink at the top edge of your screen. Hold the screen down firmly with one hand and use the other to pull the ink over the entirety of the mesh with the squeegee/spatula.
5. Carefully lift the screen and peel away the paper and you should see your design is now loud and proud on your t-shirt. You should now leave the t-shirt aside and wait for the ink to dry.
6. The final step is to wash your screen. Use cold water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. When the screen is dry it will be ready for more printing.
Screen Printing will provide hours of rainy-day fun and produce some unique and exciting clothes that are all the better for having been designed by you. When you are a little more experienced try using more complex designs and layering different colours to achieve some really professional looking designs. Check out the cute baby clothes I found on the internet. So adorable!
Disclosure: These ideas were brought to you by Banana Moon Clothing, providers of screen printed and embroidered hoodies, t-shirts and other garments. For more info, please see my disclosure policy.