You are hereScreenprint your own clothing labels and t-shirts!

Screenprint your own clothing labels and t-shirts!

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Make your own T-shirts, Labels and leggings with 2 easy techniques!

screen print equiptment


Screen Printing, starting your own clothing label, printing t-shirts and labels..

Design your own T-Shirt and labels

Any creative mind have at some stage been looking into Designing your own T-shirt. Whether it's for a corporate event or it's for own personal use it's a great way to stand out and share a view or a message. The easiest way is to print a text. If it's only a single piece that your trying to make you can go to a local 'Stationary' Shop and buy sheets that allows you to write a text in your Computer, print it out 'normal way' and then Iron it on. I've done this for some of my own Clothing Labels, making small squares with text and then print it out on an A4 sheet and then after printing it out and yes, then simply iron it on. I did find that the text ends up somewhat semi glossy and has a little bit of an edge around the print but for a home-job I was pretty pleased. You can use many methods, like using Tie and Die colors, I've bought dye colours at a Pharmacy and then dipped the garment in a color bath, previous to doing that I used rubber bands and made small knots in the garment to make it sunflower looking. Don't forget to 'lock' the colour with salt, ask for it and for advice. But for more professional prints you can source the net finding Manufacturers that supply the t-shirt along with any demands of embroidery, print or other design that you would like to use. For a fun Home Business or to simply step it up a notch printing freely on many different garments a Tip is Screen printing! Here is your step by step Screen Printing Guide...good luck:-)


What you need to have to make a T-Shirt Screen print

-You need a good design (most people 'hand sketch the picture') Draw it in black on an A4 paper sheet.


-Scan it into the computer use Photoshop and tweak the levels so it's a consistent black ( if you don't have a scanner you can take a photo using your digital camera, make sure that it's no shades in the photo) and then use a memory card or cable and save it on your computer.


If your not in to Computers and rather do it by free hand just have a 'normal' pencil handy and some Mod Podge matte Glue or normal PVA Glue.


-Print it on a 'see through' plastic sheet (normal computer Printer). Again, if you like to make a T-shirt print with a 'free hand' just use your paper sketch, put it underneath the Silk Screen or handmade Embroidery hoop and use a pencil to trace the picture on the 'Silk' (add a cardboard underneath so that it's easier to sketch for you)


-Scoop coater (looks like a long scrape, ask in the Art supply shop, mention it's for Screen Printing) If you want to explore a budget way and want to use the Embroidery hoop instead, just use small sponges that can be found in 2 dollar shops, art shops, craft stores and on


-A rubber scrape (buy it in a Paint/Art shop, same as used for plastering but it needs to be wide enough to cover your whole print, so buy a wide one) Again, for the budget way using your own handmade Screen you will simply hand paint the print on top and don't need a scrape at all.


-A silk Screen (it's made of Nylon these days) When you print T-shirts you want to get a One ten mesh (ask in your local art supply shop) You can make your own by buying Organza in a fabric shop and then staple it on a wood frame.

screen print spunge

A great Tip is to buy a 12 inch embroidery hoop and then simply put the ring on top of the fabric and then tighten the screws. No stapling needed. The frame will be slightly smaller but easy to move around and work with and great for a first time user.


-Emulsion (light sensitive paint, again ask in your Art supply shop)The Silk Screen needs to be pre-coated with the emulsion and then burned (with burned means exposed to 'light' for a few minutes, more on this will be described below) Another option will be to use PVA Glue or Mod Podge as mentioned above and simply paint the edges of your print, where you don't want any colour and when hand painting the print. Allow the Glue to dry and it should look clear on the Silk Screen.


-Fabric Ink/Permaset of any colour choice (depending on the colour of your T-shirt of course) as a trial just start with plain black, again ask in your Art supply shop for an Ink that is made for Screen print and fabric, washable. To save money, buy a white fabric paint and mix it with different colours to get your favorite shade. If your hand painting your garment and the glue has dried just paint with a sponge and let it dry.


-A piece of wood fitted to cover the print (the plastic sheet with the drawing that you want to print on the t-shirt) This is only needed if your using Light Box, otherwise the print will dry nice and easy without any weights.


-Something heavy laying around to then put on top of the Silk Screen when it's being exposed to Light

-Blank T-shirts, bags and other things you want to experiment on. See above if your going for the hand painted alternative.

When the Design is done and you have all the necessary items you can start Exploring the world of Screen Printing..

This option is for Larger Scale Printing, see above tips for craft and hand painting!

The emulsion is light sensitive so apply it in a dark room, like the bathroom where you then store the Screen. When you apply the emulsion on the screen you need to have the screen drying horizontally so that it's applied and dried evenly.


Now take your Scoop Coater and pore the emulsion in it, about half an inch thick and wide-spread across the scoop. Wiggle it back and forwards so that the emulsion is spread nice and even across the scoop.


Now it's time to apply the Emulsion to the Silk Screen, some people recommend you to apply it to both sides of the Screen but it's not necessary, so this time we will only apply it to one side of the Screen, and only one coat. Lean the screen slightly and apply it by one nice draw and the tilt the screen back a little towards you to make sure to get the rest of the emulsion into the Scoop Coater.


The Silk Screen can now be left to dry, in a dark non humid place. Laying flat for about 45 minutes to a full hour.


Here comes the tricky part, the Light source, Larger Scale Printing


The see through plastic drawing needs to have a light source to correctly be printed on-to the garment or T-shirt of choice. You can use the sun, a high watt light bulb. This is where you need to figure out the best way for it to work for you, it's recommended to have some sort of pre built light source and a Light Box is a great way to get light from underneath the picture. Most experienced printers says that you should experiment with the light and allow yourself to 'screw it up' a few times before getting it right.

screen print embroidery

The good thing with the Light Box is that it is consistent light exposure time, approx 3-4 minutes and it's also offers a consistent result. I have only tried it in a Light Box so if you know any smart ideas of Screen printing by using a light bulb or by sun exposure, please share and tell:-)


The most important thing when applying light is, Larger Scale Printing:


If you apply light from above (like the sun or a high watt light bulb) you now need to place the print:

The image reverse from how you want it to be printed.


If you apply the light from underneath/below the picture (like a Light Box) you need to place the print:

The way you want it to appear on your T-Shirt.


It's now ready to be placed on top of the picture (the see-through plastic sheet with your design on it that is).


Place a good size piece of wood on the Silk Screen covering the (picture) underneath. Some people use black fabric in between but a piece of wood will do just fine, as long as it covers your print-design.


Now, put some weight on top, use your imagination. It could be anything from books to a heavy bag.


Using the Light Box, you now turn it on and let it be exposed to light for about 3-4 minutes.

This is what you call: Burning Your Screen.


So after those 4 minutes the print is now visible on the screen, take it to the shower and use a hose (if possible) and start rinsing the Emulsion off the Screen.


You can see the Emulsion coming off. Now use a rubber scrape (that similar one that you use for plastering) and place the Silk Screen laying flat on top of your garment of choice, a T-shirt in this case.


Put a pile of ink in the end of the screen.


First thing that you want to do is to 'flood' the image with your ink, so scrape it in one direction over the picture. Nice and even. One sweep, not too much pressure, main thing is to make sure that the picture is evenly inked.


Second swipe is when you apply a lot of pressure, put the rubber scrape(the plaster one) in an 60 degree angle and scrape the rest of the ink right across the image in one scoop.


The print is done and you can keep printing other colors and on other products such as bags, jackets and so on, your imagination is your limit. This print can be used many times!

screen printed leggings

Your done, congrats!

Want to get inspired, a great source of creative designs is Etsy screen printed items, handmade


Share your experiences here at Hot Cake Fashion, always welcome to leave a comment below/ rgds Alice

I have done a Blogpost about Making your own Sew on Labels, perfect for branding your clothes. That is a great part of Creative Corner, Design it. To view that post about Custom Clothing Labels just click on the Blue text. It's a really easy to follow 10 Step Mini Guide in how I did it, printing my own Labels.


I'm Alice, from Sweden, living in New Zealand with my handsome kiwi...





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