Apr 28, 2011

DIY screen printing tutorial!

Last week I took a plain messenger bag (that I sewed in sewing class :) and screen printed it!

Here's how:

*Embroidery hoop
*Old nylons
*Mod Podge
*Screen Printing Ink (bought at craft stores)
*Stiff paint brush
*T-shirt, bag, sweatpants etc. to print

First make the screen. Take an old pair of nylons and cut off about twelve inches from one leg. Cut that piece down the side so it opens into a large piece of nylon. Stretch over embroidery hoop. You'll probably need to hold the nylon in place with bits of duct tape until you can screw the embroidery hoop in place. :)

Now print off or draw the design you want. It can be a picture, words ... pretty much anything. But it's best to keep it simple. Silhouettes, line drawings etc. work well.
Lay the screen down on top of the design and trace it onto the screen with a permanent pen.

Now comes the slightly confusing part. Take Mod Podge and paint it all around the design on your screen. DO NOT paint the part you want the ink to go through. Basically your making a fancy stencil. Use a tiny stiff brush and make sure you paint Mod Podge very carefully along the edges. Any bits you miss will show in the finished product. Don't feel like you have to fill up the whole screen with Mod Podge though, just make sure the design is surrounded by a good inch and you'll be safe.

Once you let it dry, the screen is ready! It's a great idea to do a practice print on a scrap of cloth to make sure it works before printing your actual project. This is the paint I used:

Now lay your screen on whatever you're going to print. (Quick note: make sure you lay a piece of cardboard under the cloth. The paint sometimes leaks through. If you're doing a shirt, be sure to put the cardboard inside the shirt.)

Now drizzle some paint over your screen.

Use a stiff brush to work the paint into the screen. Don't miss a spot!

And now for the creeeeepy part. Lift up your screen and hope it worked! o_O

Now, if you missed a few tiny spots, don't panic. Just use a small brush to carefully touch it up.

Rinse your screen after every use, making sure to get rid of all the paint.  

Follow the directions on the paint bottle to set the ink, and wa-la!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you decide to try this! It's super fun and addicting. :)

[Linking up here]


  1. SO COOL!!! I love it!! I think I'll need to try this sometime, thanks!

  2. Wow! This one took you a while to post! ;)

  3. oooohh! it was cute without the print.. but it's adorable now :D


  4. I've got to try this sometime! Nice post....

  5. So, I followed a link from "The Junk Revival" to your blog....and I am so happy I did! I love Alison's musings on what it would have been like to blog in high school...when the intrawebs had just been born, mind you! Hmnn...I suddenly feel like I've been smacked by the middle-aged stick. *sigh* I keep telling myself 30 is the new 20. :)

    THIS TUTORIAL IS AWESOME and I feel like a schmuck for not have thought of it myself. Brava!

    I might not see the light of day this weekend, for making screen-prints out of pantyhose. YAY (?) !

  6. Yay, thank you for this - I did loads of screen printing at school but had forgotten how to do it and we always had specialist equipment (well I know a light box was involved somewhere) I've recently been lino-printing but this will be much easier for words and some of my other designs. THANK YOU!

  7. Very cool. I have never tried screen printing before but it looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing @ Lines Across My Face.
    :) Rachel


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