We know what it takes to create high quality, stunning screen printed t-shirts here at Clothes2Order. In fact, we pride ourselves on producing only the very best printed t-shirts, ready to wear and suitable for a variety of uses – whether you’re a business looking for seasonal uniforms, or running a race for charity and want to let everyone know why you’re doing it.
But while we have all the innovative tech here to help us, you’ve perhaps considered dabbling in t-shirt printing yourself. Perhaps you’d like a fun activity for the kids at the weekend? Or if you’re perhaps just curious about how a design will look before you commit and place an order via our site.
We’re going to break down how to print your own t-shirts step-by-step, so you can make your own at home!
You Will Need:
- Screen printing fabric ink – You can grab this from most craft websites or shops. Simply pick out a vibrant colour that will make your finished design stand out.
- Screen – You can purchase these ready made from a site such as eBay for a reasonable price, or we will break down how to put one together yourself below.
- Squeegee – This is so you can push the fabric paint through the screen, so a long thin sturdy squeegee is the best choice. If you don’t have a squeegee or don’t want to buy one then a stiff ruler will do.
- Paper – This will be used to cut out your stencil design.
- Disposable gloves – To keep hands safe from ink and stains
- Overalls or an apron – Working with ink can get messy!
- Craft knife
- Masking tape
- Basic cotton t-shirt – Pick up a plain t-shirt to test your design out on. Alternatively, an old clean one in your wardrobe will do the trick! Be sure to choose a t-shirt in a colour that will work well with the ink you have chosen.
- A4 piece of cardboard – Place this inside the t-shirt, it should stop any excess ink from making its way through to the other half.
How To Make Your Own Screen
If you don’t want to buy a ready-made screen for printing, it’s very easy to make your own and this can be reused again and again.
You will need:
- Wooden A4 frame – Grab a canvas frame from a craft or art supply shop.
- Mesh – Look for 43T mesh, this is the general mesh count for screen printing. You can buy this online or at a craft shop.
- Staple gun – Be careful when using this!
- Take a canvas frame – wooden is best but you can use a metal frame too.
- Take some mesh and pull this very taut over the frame – Secure with a staple gun at the corners.
- And you’re done! You have a screen, ready to place over your fabric and use for your design.
Now that we have all the right tools and our screen ready to go, it’s time to get back to how to print t-shirts!
Here is a quick and simple method to try out:
- Choose your design – Take your paper and draw out a very simple design. Triangles, circles and thick lines are all good choices and are easy to cut out. Use your craft knife to do this.
- Grab the masking tape – Use this to line the edges of your screen, where you don’t want ink to go once your stencil is placed underneath. This will ensure the ink doesn’t spread and ruin the design when you come to transfer it later. Do this on both sides of your mesh screen and ensure it’s pressed firmly down.
- Lay your t-shirt down on a flat surface – Ensure it is not creased and laid flat.
- Place your paper stencil on top of your t-shirt – Place it where you want it to be seen. Ensure it is straight!
- Place your screen on top of the t-shirt and the stencil – Carefully, avoid knocking the paper out of place.
- Squeeze around a teaspoon of ink onto the top corner of the screen – Avoid the masking tape.
- Use your squeegee to drag the ink across the screen – Hold the screen down firmly and apply pressure to your squeegee to pull the ink across the mesh and over your paper stencil underneath. The ink should be working its way through the mesh, through the cut out of the stencil and onto your t-shirt fabric.
- Repeat – Keep going until you feel you have a vibrant enough colour underneath for your needs.
- Gently lift the screen – Be careful to avoid dripping the ink anywhere on your fabric while removing it.
- Peel off the paper stencil and you’re done! You should have a clear, sharp screen printed design on your t-shirt now. Good job.
It’s that easy! And if you have more than one colour ink that you want to use to layer up a design or add more patterns simply wipe down your screen – or use another – and perform the same method again, over the top!
If you’re making more than one t-shirt it can feel like a laborious method so once you have your design perfected don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team who can put together high quality, bulk prints for you, ready for whatever situation or event you are planning for them to be worn at!
Feeling confident? Why not make gifts for loved ones by printing on tea-towels or you could try your hand at printing on a jumper. You will need more ink than when dealing with t-shirt prints but the method is exactly the same! Have fun with it and see what you can create!