Hey crafty friends! Kayla here from the Kayla Makes Blog and today I'm bringing you a totally different way to use adhesive vinyl; screen printing! Screen printing using adhesive vinyl as a stencil is a great way to make a large batch of t-shirts, tote bags etc in a short amount of time and with little effort. Plus, the results are store bought quality.
In today's step by step tutorial I'll show you how to cut the stencil, apply it to the screen and how to apply and set the ink. As always, I'm working with my Cricut Maker but you can follow these same steps with any cutting machine.
Estimated Time To Complete: 20-30 mins
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Craftables Permanent Adhesive Vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Speedball Screen
- Speedball Squeegee
- Screen printing Ink
- Painters Tape
- Blank T-shirt
- Cutting Mat
- Weeding Tool
- Cutting Machine
Step One: Design Setup
Start by creating or uploading a pre-made design into Design Space and scaling it to fit on the item you plan to screen-print. If you're unsure of decal sizing refer to our Decal Size Guide for tips.
In the following window turn on the mirror setting. We're cutting the stencil in reverse so that it can be applied to the back side of the screen as opposed to the front.
Step Two: Weed Stencil
Next, use a weeding tool to remove the positive space. Normally when you're working with adhesive vinyl you remove the negative space and apply the positive space to your project. Since we're creating a stencil, we're doing the opposite.
Step Three: Apply Transfer Tape
Cut and apply a piece of transfer tape to the vinyl stencil. Use a scraper tool to make sure everything adheres to the transfer tape.
Stick the vinyl stencil to the back side of the screen and gently press it on.
Flip the screen over and use the scraper tool again to apply firm pressure over the screen/stencil. You want to make sure every little piece is adhered to the screen.
Remove the transfer tape.
Next, apply painter’s tape (or some other masking tape) around the edges of the vinyl stencil. This helps to prevent you from accidentally pushing the ink past the edge of the stencil and onto the shirt.
Place the screen on the shirt, making sure to line up the center of the design with the center of the t-shirt.
Step Four: Apply Ink
Use a plastic spoon to place a generous amount of ink along the side of the screen, making sure you are keeping the ink on top of the tape.
Hold the squeegee firmly in your hand and drag the ink across the stencil.
Pick the squeegee up, go back to the left side of the stencil and make another pass across. If you applied enough ink at the beginning it shouldn't take more than two passes to get nice, clean lines.
Step Five: Lift Screen
Lift the screen off the shirt and reveal the design!
Allow the ink to dry completely then use an iron or heat press to heat set the ink. This makes it permanent and it will not wash off or fade.
Screen printing with a vinyl stencil is a great way to create designs that last and won't crease or wrinkle after washing. Plus, it’s affordable and easy! If you have any screen-printing questions leave a comment or visit us on Facebook and ask away.
About the Author
My name is Kayla and I’m a DIY loving mom of 3, living in North Carolina. I absolutely love creating! It doesn’t matter if it’s refinishing furniture or paper crafting, I love it all. I’m a former blogger for Silhouette America and current blogger for Cricut so I know the ins and outs of both machines and love teaching beginners all of the handy tips and tricks. Come visit my blog at kaylamakes.com or follow me on Instagram @kayla_made.