A Simple Guide to Screen Printing Shirts on your Own

Every day the screen printing industry continues to grow in size because of the popularity of printing graphic tees. It has become the norm to get shirts printed for large family, school, team or fundraising functions. Did you know that you can create these printed tees on your own in your own home?

Steps to creating your very own silk screen shop in your home:

1. Get supplies together
To start your shop you will need, a screen and a frame, photo emulsion, latex gloves, a dark room (like a closet), t-shirts for printing, the proper ink, and a piece of cardboard to place inside the shirt so ink does not bleed through.

2. Construct your design
When starting out, stick with a simple design. To create your print, you can use a program such as Photoshop. Once you have completed your design, print it with a laser printer onto the proper transparency paper.

3. Coat the screen in emulsion
Using a garbage bag underneath to protect your furniture, cover the screen in emulsion while following the directions on the bottle. Use enough so that it covers slightly more of the screen than the design will cover. Leave the screen in the dark room until completely dry, which is usually about 2 hours.

4. Expose image on the screen
Place the paper with your design onto the screen and tape it down so it does not slide. Using a desk lamp, shine light onto the screen and leave the room to give it time to set. After 20 minutes, slowly pull up the paper.

5. Clean off the screen
With cold water, spray the screen. Continue spraying until you can see through the design and again let it dry. Once it is dry, cover the areas of the screen with no design or emulsion with tape.

6. “Print” your shirt
On a flat surface, lay the shirt down with the cardboard inside it. Place the screen over the shirt where you want the design to lay. Using a squeegee, make one smooth and slow movement pressing the image down. Then run the squeegee over a few more times to ensure you got the whole design. Lift the screen and then you should have a perfectly printed shirt.

In the beginning this will take time but you will get better with practice. To make sure the design you print is as vibrant as possible, make sure you use the best ink and equipment for screen printing.