★ How To Screen Print At Home | T-Shirts & Fabric Printing Techniques | Craft Tutorials
Learn to Stencil & Print on Fabric
If you've always wanted to learn how to print your own t-shirts, fabric, wrapping paper, greetings cards etc at home, then you've come to the right place!
I've listed tutorials and projects for each printing technique including screen printing, block printing and lino printing, most of which can be carried out by a complete beginner. The different styles of printing have different start-up costs, but the following tips show you some shortcuts and cheaper ways of doing things too.
I hope this page inspires you to give this fab and versatile craft a go!
Top Rated Printing Books
The following 5 books have been picked out due to their high ratings, printing inspiration and excellent advice for beginners to this art form.
Types of Printing Techniques
The following are all types of printing which can be used to transfer designs to fabric (and sometimes other surfaces) at home:
- Stencilling: Stencils are usually made from paper, card or plastic, and the design you want to print is cut out of the sheet by hand. The stencil is placed on top of the item to be printed, paint is then brushed, stippled or sprayed on top, then the stencil is removed. Stencilling is usually only used for a one-off, or a small batch of prints. It is very cheap to do, but there are pattern and design limitations, and it's not efficient for creating a large number of prints. Stencilling has a variety of uses - not just printing fabric but also in wall and furniture decoration.
- Screenprinting: This is essentially stencilling but it uses a screen and is a more professional method. It can be used to print repeatedly, plus there aren't really any design limitations and it's easier to add multiple layers of colour. The design is transferred to the screen, the screen is placed over the material to be printed, and then ink is wiped across the screen to print.
- Lino printing: A design is carved out of linoleum using special cutters, ink/paint is added to the surface, and then the lino is pressed down evenly onto the surface to be printed. Often used for transferring designs to paper or card.
- Block printing: This is where the design is raised up from the main block of solid material such as plastic or wood. The design can made in a cheap material like cork or foam, it can be carved out of material like wood, or it can be made by experts in metal or rubber. The block is dipped in ink/paint or the ink/paint is brushed onto the raised design, and the block is pressed evenly onto the surface to be printed. Or vice versa, with the material to be printed being lowered onto the block. Good for repeating patterns.
- Letterpress: Click here for an article all about Letterpress.
- Stamping: Rubber stamps, foam stamps or stamps made from potatoes or other fruit can be used with fabric paint to print on material.
- Transfers: Designs can be bought ready-made or can be created from scratch using plain iron-on transfer paper. The images are set in place on the fabric with an iron.
Difference between screen printing inks and fabric paint:
You can use screen printing inks for other printing methods, not just for screen printing, or you can use the other option of paint (fabric paint for fabric, or acrylic paint for other materials usually). Ink delivers the more consistent, professional finish, and it is heat cured after printing which makes it more durable.
Fabric paint is fine for someone who does printing for a hobby, or prints the occasional one-off shirt for instance. It dries in the air, but is less durable than ink - But it is cheaper.
Fantastic Video Showing DIY Screen Printing - The Process of Printing a Poster
I love this video...it really shows the stages of screenprinting clearly, and the tri-color posters at the end look amazing.
You may notice from the tutorials below that screenprinting methods do vary slightly, with some people using a light-sensitive emulsion to transfer their design to the screen, and some using a stencil, often made of contact paper. With the emulsion method you will require a couple of extra items and more time, however it is the method that produces the most professional results.
- A Simple Guide To Printing Shirts
Using 2 different color layers.
- Introduction to the Print Process
Showing how a 2-color image was made.
- Screen-Print At Home
A nice how-to for printing on fabric.
- Cheap Screen Printing
Using an embroidery hoop and glue.
- Screenprinting Tutorials Collection
A range of tips and DIYs including how to make a printing frame.
- Inexpensive Print Technique
Using mesh and an embroidery hoop.
- Print Using Contact Paper
A slightly different method for simple designs.
- How To Print On Fabric
A masking method where the design shapes are stuck to the underside of the screen.
- An Experiment in Printing
A beginners first go at screen printing using a stencil method.
- Economical Printing
The cheaper shortcut version.
- Adventures in DIY Printing
Lots of expert articles such as the top 10 worst printing mistakes.
Print Your Own Bags
Metal Printing Blocks
More Screen Printing How-Tos
- Photo Emulsion Printing
A fab instructable with clear details.
- Silkscreen Posters and Shirts
Useful tutorial for professional looking prints.
- Detailed Silkscreening Tutorial
Excellent information and step-by-step photos.
- Contact Paper Printing
A fun tote bag tutorial.
- Screenprinting and You
The art and science of screenprinting.
- Screenprint at Home
Learn to burn your screens with photo emulsion.
- Using a Gocco Printing Kit
All about the Gocco mini screenprinting kit.
- Home Printed Tee
Really clear run-through of an illustration being printed onto a t-shirt.
- Glitter Printing
Using a pre-made screen print, glue and glitter.
- Using a 'Simply Screen' Kit
Photos showing how the kit works to screen print an ottoman cover.
DIY Screenprinting Table
Potato & Letterpress Print Projects
- Potato Printing
How to stamp your own sheets.
- Letter Press Info
Video showing the process, plus background info.
- Build a Letterpress
Instructable for making your own machine.
- Potato Print Blinds
Orange slice pattern print.
- Awesome Potato Print Dress
Funky geometric design.
- Potato Print Gift Wrap
Simple prints for creating unique wrapping.
- Cute Gift Boxes
Lovely print added to recycle boxes.
- Constellation Necktie
Potato-printed gold star print on a neck tie.
Stenciling Instructions & Templates
- No Fuss Printing
Using a faux 'screen printing' technique.
- Stencil a Shirt
Quick and simple technique for a one-off.
- Stenciling a Photo Silhouette
Transferring a black and white image onto a tee.
- Stenciling a Face Photo
Creating a stencil image from a photograph.
- Cutting out a Stencil
Using a craft knife on acetate.
- Freezer Paper Stencils
A popular method of home printing.
- Bleach Effect Stenciling
Using a paste rather than paint or ink on the stencil.
- Reverse Stencil a T-Shirt
Using spray paint for a cool effect.
- Easy Painted Curtain
How to use a wall stencil and a paint roller to make custom décor.
Printed Greetings Cards
Hand Printed Notebooks
More Stenciling How-Tos
- Freezer Paper Stencils
Fun and cheap method of printing.
- How to Stencil
Etsy video tutorial with links to more info.
- Another Freezer Paper Tutorial
Creating a very pretty 2 color design.
- Print a Mousepad
Nice little starter stencil project.
- Doily Stencil
Using a ready-made stencil to print on a tote bag.
- Hand Printed Scarves
Printing on fleece using stencils.paper
- Stenciling on Burlap
To make a rustic sack design.
- Another Freezer Paper How-To
But this time with robots and band names :-)
- Modern Fabric Prints
Print your own geometric patterns with contact paper.
- DIY Patterned Fabric
How to stencil a repeated pattern on fabric.
Giant Wood Block Print
Block Printing, Stamping & Transfer How-Tos
- Rolling Pin Prints
Using a cork shape for continuous printing.
- Leaf Printing
Stamping by simply adding paint to leaves.
- Iron-On Letters
Plus printing with bleach.
- Wood and Foam Block
The design is cut out of foam and attached to the block.
- Make Your Own Woodblock
How to carve a pretty line drawing in wood.
- Using Stamps on Fabric
Rubber stamps used to decorate dishtowels.
- Hand Stamping Fabric
Using handmade foam stamps.
- Styrofoam Packaging Stamps
Recyling material into funky stamps.
- Hand Printing With Foam Squares
Recreate the style of fairisle and cross stitch patterns with DIY stamps.
Wood Block Making
Lino Carving & Printing
- Linocuts 101 | MAKE
A clear walk-through for this enjoyable form of relief printing.
- Reduction Soft Lino Print
A brilliant beginner's tutorial.
- Pattern Print Book Cover
Pretty leaf repeated design.
- Linocut Christmas Cards
Creating pretty snowflake patterns.
- Lino Print Step-by-Step
Work through the stages of making a football themed print.
- Making a Stamp
By carving out an intricate design.
More Lino Printing Tutorials
- Stamp Carving 101
Brilliant detail for each step involved.
- Carving with a Razor Knife
As opposed to just using gouging tools.
- Flower Stamp
With a how-to on transferring your design too.
- Linoleum Block Printing
Large scale detailed design carving.
- From Sketch to Linoprint
Follow the process from sketch to 2-colour print.
Lino Cutting To Printing
Other Printing Methods & DIYs
- Sandpaper Printed T-Shirt
Transfer a design from sandpaper to fabric using wax crayons.
- No-Carve Stamps
Super simple stamp-making idea where carving is not neccessary.
- Cyanotype Scarf
A completely different technique for transferring a pattern to fabric.
- Tape Printing
Very simple technique using tape to create the print pattern.
- Cyanotype Printing on Knit
How to print on knitted and crochet materials.
- Bleach Pen Drawing
Quick and simple way to decorate coloured fabrics.
- Inkodye Sun Printing
Use a light sensitive dye to produce a fun and bright result.
- Masking Tape T-Shirt
Simple yet creative notebook design.
- Recycled Foam Prints
Easy, economical and quick; what a great idea!
Printing Videos - Helpful How-Tos & Demonstrations
Potato Print Press
Further Project Ideas & Creative Ways To Print
- DIY Batik Dishtowels
Create a pattern in wax, then dye the whole fabric.
- Shadow Puppet Theatre
Using freezer paper stencils and a batik-style print method using glue.
- Stamping with Dishwasher Soap
Use cookie cutters and detergent to print shapes on fabric.
- Wood Grain Print Using Glue
Dye a sweatshirt to create a faux woodgrain design.