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T-Shirt Screen Printing At Home

Updated on March 30, 2015

Your Creativity In T-Shirt Screen Printing Will Save Your Money

Do-it-yourself T-Shirt Screen Printing

Contrary to the thinking of some people, t-shirt screen printing is a not a complicated task nor is it an expensive one. Some people think that you need a big, smoke-pumping, oiled machine to print out shirts. They are mistaken. If small t-shirt printing businesses can do men’s t-shirt printing, girls’ t-shirt printing or kids t-shirt printing services, then so can you! If they can make promotional clothing and work wear for organizations and movements, then so can you! The biggest thing that you will ever need to make good printed shirts, printed hoodies, printed sweatshirts or anything of the like is a simple computer with a simple printer. The other items needed are things that you probably have at home or you can buy from office supply stores. Here is a list of all the things that you need to screen print a t-shirt at home: t-shirts (of course), paint brushes (cheap ones will do), an embroidery hoop, some screen printing ink or black fabric paint (craft stores have supplies of these), water resistant glue (Mod Podge is a popular choice), sheer gauze curtains, a sponge brush and some sheets of blank paper.

Start Now And Who Knows, It Might Bring You Good Business

How To Do T-Shirt Screen Printing At Home

First you have to choose a picture that you want to put onto your shirt as the design. Do take note that the image has to have a good contrast for the result to have definitive features. Monochrome or black and white images look great for t-shirt screen printing because the good contrast between colors. You can also draw your own image if you want to. Simple designs take ink easier so you might want to consider that when choosing your image. Make sure that the image you are drawing or printing can fit in your embroidery hoop otherwise the image will get trimmed to what can be fitted inside the hoop.

The next step would be preparing your screen. Stretch out your gauzy curtain over the embroidery hoop, making sure that the surface of the screen over the hoop is flat and taut. Then trace the image that you chose onto the gauze curtain with a pencil. You can tape the sheet of paper with the image onto a desk so that it does not move. Make sure to trace the image onto the gauze curtain with the hoop turned upside down so that the gauze touches the paper directly.

After having the image printed on the gauze, use the water resistant glue to cover the parts of the image that you do not want to have printed. It is very important that you glue over all the ‘negative’ or white spaces. To be sure that you have covered all the negative spaces nicely, look through the screen at a source of light to see if you missed any places to cover. You could also try using a pointed brush to cover those tight spots and corners. Let the glue dry out after you have covered all the white spaces. This could take at least an hour to dry, depending on the amount of glue you applied.

After the glue dries out, you can test the image on the screen by laying it on a blank piece of paper and running a thin layer of watercolor over it. The ink will seep through the screen and into the paper, producing the image you had in mind. If the result does not come out the way you want it, fix the image on the screen by applying more water resistant glue and testing it again on a blank piece of paper. After you get the desired result on the blank paper test, you are now ready to print the image onto your shirt.

Image courtesy of artur84 at
Image courtesy of artur84 at | Source

Lay the shirt out on a table and put a piece of cardboard between the front and the back layers to avoid infecting the back layer with ink. Place the embroidery hoop over the part of the shirt that you want to have the image printed on. Then, print the image onto the shirt with your sponge brush and some screen printing ink. After completely and thoroughly covering the image on your screen, pull the embroidery hoop off the shirt gingerly. Let dry overnight. The shirt should be dry enough to be put into the washer by morning.

You just performed screen printing on a t-shirt! Keep your embroidery hoop for more t shirt screen printing activities!


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    • profile image

      Jonas 6 years ago

      It's good but I don't have any materials in order to print!hehehe...

    • inkys profile image

      inkys 7 years ago from Canary Islands, Spain

      It's a great way to make a mess of your carpet! But hey at least the t-shirts will look awesome.

    • profile image

      Tom 7 years ago

      Good post! Definitely an exciting weekend project for anyone wanting to do a short run of their own unique shirts at home.

    • pinkdaisy profile image

      pinkdaisy 7 years ago from Canada

      I would love to learn how to screen print. Great post!

    • wade11hicks profile image

      wade11hicks 7 years ago

      That's so cool. I always wanted to make my own t-shirts, I just never knew how~

    • profile image 7 years ago

      Great article! Screen printing your own t-shirts is fun and profitable!

    • profile image

      Logo Design Gear 8 years ago

      Hey! That's so nice. Cool posting. Let me try to print my own shirt ;)