Saturday, August 4, 2012

DIY: Silk Screen Printing vs. Painting on Fabric

Nina's DIY tribal tee
Several weeks ago I received a package from Samantha of Bromeliad blog.  She had sent me her Plaid's Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit (available at HobbyLobby).  I already knew from her  December post that the product was kind of a hassle to use but still decided to give it a try.  Samantha has graciously included the Navajo inspired screen design she made for her pillow (once you make the screen design you can reuse it multiple times).  Here is Bromeliad's pillow made using the Silk Screen Kit: 

via here
Learning from Bromeliad's experience she talks about in her post, I used only one color (black) and made my daughter a tribal print tee.

tip: make sure to tape all the sides of the design all the way to avoid messy spots like mine

Once I felt a bit more confident, I went ahead making my own silk screen design using the photo source below.  My children's school mascot is Bison and their color is burgundy.  The kit comes with three screen print inks: black, red and blue.  To make burgundy I mixed red and blue and a touch of black. 

bison image via here
I'll be honest with you.  The whole process is kind of a hassle.  First, print a black and white image of your choice on regular printing paper.  Then, tape paper to the special screen provided in the kit (it's that blue screen you see below).  Next, process the image in the light box (the box and light bulb are included in the kit).  Rinse the screen in warm water and wash off the processed areas using sponge provided in the kit (actually, the image I've chosen was so detailed that I had to literally scratch my screen using lots of "elbow grease").  I recommend using not-so-detailed image.
And the final step is actually applying your ink to the shirt (through the screen) using squeegee (also, included in the kit). 

OK, so would I buy this kit myself?  No, I'd much rather just hand paint using fabric paints.  Actually, here is my secret: instead of fabric paints which dry hard I use regular craft acrylic paints mixed with 1 or 2 parts of Fabric Medium.  More fabric medium -softer the image when it dries.  I don't claim to have any exceptional skills but I'll be honest I did attend an art school in my childhood and my dream was to become a real artist (I ended up becoming an Accountant, go figure!). 
So if you are absolutely sure you can't paint, then I would use silk screening kit.  But painting to me is so much easier and so much more creative and fun.  Here are some of my own hand-painted holiday designs:

my kids wearing my designs back in 2007
August 9, 2012 EDIT
I've just made a pleasant discovery.  Fabric paint (or acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium) can be used instead of silk screen ink to print with the Bison screen I made (see the original post above).  The kit does not come with lots of ink (three colors only).  Since I already had a large stash of fabric paints, I tried them and it worked!

Bison image screen printed using fabric paint


  1. I really like the way the buffalo tee came out, it has a very vintage look to it. And I LOVE fabric medium! I have a ton of acrylics and it's so easy just to mix in some fabric medium rather than buy fabric paint in the color you need (and so much cheaper too).

  2. The buffalo is really cool! And I like seeing tribal prints; there's something about them that gets my attention.
    You have such creative ideas. :)

  3. Wow, look how much your daughter has grown from 2007 - she is such a cutie! I do like the bison image but sounds like the paint is a much more fun process...

  4. Great project as usual and your little ones are just darling...

  5. Wow, Maya, you did awesome. The bison is so detailed. And you even managed to squeeze a decent shirt out of that crazy tribal stencil. I knew if anyone could handle screen printing, it would be you.

  6. Hi dear.How are you?
    So amazing prints.Really interesting and original.Your kids are just perfect.
    Sophie and Anna

  7. silk screen printing
    Vision Embroidery - You can add custom Embroidery & Screen printing in Uniforms, Uniform Advantage, Polos, Sweatshirts, Hoodies, Outerwear, Activewear, Sport Shirts, Chef Wear, and more.

  8. Wow! This is a really good article. It has been written nicely and the link-up between the font and theme is good as well. All round good job done on this article. t shirt screen printing machine

  9. Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

    screen printed tshirts

  10. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.
    Heat press

  11. Very Nice I Have Read Your Blog Your Blog Is Very Interesting And Useful Thank You For Posting And Sharing With Us.
    screen printing t shirts.

  12. This post was very well written, and it also comprises a lot of useful facts. I enjoyed your differentiated way of composing the post for embroidery printing t shirts". Really your informative blog helpful for Custom Mens T-shirts

  13. The time has gone when people used to wait for ages to get their task done with the old methods of printing. Now you can get your work done within minutes and can utilize the time saved in any other constructive work. Cheap canvas prints nottingham

  14. Very creative posts, I love the tribal designs, and the buffalo one. Keep on sharing.


  15. Sometime few educational blogs become very helpful while getting relevant and new information related to your targeted area. As I found this blog and appreciate the information delivered to my database. Custom designed blank t-shirts and hoodies

  16. Lefonse is prominent online T-shirt supplier in Malaysia specialize in high quality custom made corporate shirts and t-shirt printing at affordable prices

  17. It is really a helpful blog to find some different source to add my knowledge. I came into aware of new professional blog and I am impressed with suggestions of author. Custom Crewneck Sweatshirts for Sale

  18. fantastic blog. Thank you for your valuable information. Visit for More guidelines
    screen printing machine & Supplies


  19. packaging design - plastic bag - nylon bag - plastic bag - plastic bag - bag - plastic bag - plastic bag - plastic bag - bag - bag.

    In hộp đựng Giày

    In hộp đựng rượu
    Cung cấp quà tặng

    Công ty chuyên in bao bì
    Công ty chuyên in bao bì

  20. Enthusiastic words written in this blog helped me to enhance my skills as well as helped me to know how I can help myself on my own. I am really glad to come at this platform.

  21. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.โรงพิมพ์

  22. Card printing has started to become a trend in businesses nowadays, enabling various organisations to enjoy the different benefits that it can bring. Many are not aware yet of the importance of ID cards or what they can gain from them. This article will thoroughly discuss the important role that ID card printing can provide to every organisation. Printers In Leeds

  23. wow very nice information, it's more useful to me. Please keep posting like this.

    Silk Chiffon Fabric NYC
    Silk Organza Fabric NYC



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...