Learning how to screen print t-shirts is not as difficult as most people make it out to be. With the right tools, you can learn the ropes quickly and deliver high quality t-shirts. There are a couple of basics you need to bear in mind however.
– Screen: You can either make your own with a canvas stretcher or buy a ready made one which is slightly costly.
– Screen fabric printing ink: Start off with ready mixed ink and follow the directions provided in order to ensure the t-shirt is washable.
– Squeegee: You can buy this from the craft supply shop.
– Plain paper
– Masking tape roll
– Fabric or jersey t-shirt
– Craft knife
– The first thing you need to do is choose a design that is easily cut on paper using the craft knife. Start with simple designs like diamonds, or triangles scattered randomly or in a circle. Cut the design out.
– Take the screen and mask areas around the edges. This should be done in a manner that ensures when the stencil paper is laid on top, there is no mesh around the edges. This is important as it ensures the paint does not creep over your stencil edges. The stencil should not be taped to the mesh however.
– Lay the fabric or t-shirt flat on the stencil paper where the design is going to be. Place the screen on top and be careful not to disturb the paper. In addition to this, the screen should be centered.
– Blob some ink at the top most edge of the screen.
– Hold the screen firmly in place using one hand and use the squeegee to apply ink. Repeat this exercise and be careful in order to avoid dripping excess ink.
– Hold the fabric using one hand and lift your screen from bottom edge and move it away. You can admire your design now.
– The paper stencil sticks to your screen with the ink. The next prints should be made quickly and if you note that the ink is beginning to dry, wash the screen immediately. This is important since once the ink sticks on the screen, getting it out will be difficult.
– Once you are done with the print run, get rid of the paper stencil and clean the screen using some cold water. You can use nylon or soft sponge to scrub the screen lightly till you are certain that the ink is all out. Before you start printing, give the screen time to air dry.
There are a couple of things you need to bear in mind during the process of screen printing t-shirts.
– Before you start printing on the finished surface, you should carry out a test print.
– Once you are done with the printing, make sure the screen is washed.
– While printing, consider making several stencils in order to make the process easy.
With these simple yet effective printing tips, you can print your own screen t-shirts. As you learn the art, you can move to more complex printing procedures.