DIY Screen Printing Tshirts for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week


Originally posted on the Artesia Public Library Facebook page by Erin Loveland

Erin was originally inspired by her colleague Tampa Enoch-Reese at the Mebane Public Library in Mebane, NC who did screen printing with her teens for Summer Reading.  She used old frames and stapled the material to the frame.  Erin used embroidery hoops.  She combined this Instrustable with the image from the other site to make my screens. Here is her process in her own words.

List of supplies:

  • 10 inch embroidery hoops
  • Sheer Fabric (I used a cheap sheer curtain and was able to cover 6 hoops and have left over material)
  • Design (I designed the “I Read Banned Books” and cut it in vinyl using a Cricut Explore machine. You can cut out the image using an exacto knife, just make sure you cut out the negative, since you want the positive image to be printed)
  • Paint (I used Fabric paint, but you could use screen printing ink)
  • Putty Knife ( I used the cheap plastic ones)
  • Shirt or other material to screen print

I did all the prep work beforehand and assembled the hoops and put the design on the hoop.

screen4  screen5  screen3

Assembly Instructions

  1. Cut fabric a little larger than the hoop.
  2. Put fabric between the two hoops, tighten hoop and pull fabric around the edges to make sure it is super tight. Cut any overlap to prevent it from getting in the way.
  3. Transfer the vinyl design to the fabric in the hoop (I use painter’s tape as a transfer sheet since it is so cheap).
  4. Pull off the transfer tape
  5. Make sure you put the design inside the hoop (see picture), so the hoop will lay flat against whatever you are screen printing.
  6. Run the putty knife across the design in all directions to make sure it is well affixed and you don’t have any edges peeling up.

Screen Printing

  1. Have teens put newspaper in between the shirt to prevent bleed through.
  2. Lay the embroidery hoop flat against your shirt (or other material you are screen printing).
  3. Put a pretty large bead of paint across the top of your design.
  4. Using your putty knife drag the paint down across the design.
  5. Add more paint as needed and continue the process until you feel you have full coverage.
  6. Pull the hoop off the shirt slowly (it will stick to the material).
  7. All done!

I Read Banned Book SPI have included some pictures of the process. In screen2 and screen3 I used clear contact paper, so it’s hard to see the cut out design. Clear was harder to assemble, but it is handy if you are doing multiple layers and colors. If you do several layers just make sure the paint is dry between colors. I have also attached a .png of the “I Read Banned Books” design. Sorry I don’t have more pictures. I was so busy and covered in paint, I didn’t get a lot of pictures!

I did have a few issues that I was able to resolve. I tried using cheap shelf liner from the dollar store and it would not stick to the fabric. Official Contact Paper worked, but I ended up using a vinyl that worked perfectly. After several uses, paint started to bleed around the edges. I ratified this by putting a piece of tape on the underside of the screen to block bleed through. Also, if the paint dries in between screen printing, the paint won’t fully permeate the fabric so you get a worn look (not full coverage.) You can wash and reuse the screens, but since I went the embroidery hoop route, I just took out the fabric at the end of the day and trashed it. The teens made a mess! Also, use more paint than you think. The teens that went overboard with paint got better results. I was very conservative in my paint, and I did not get full coverage. Make sure you don’t put the screens face down on newspaper after you use them or the newspaper stinks to the screen and you can’t use it. (Don’t ask how I learned that!)

Artesia Public Library Screen Printing Tshirts  Artesia Public Library Screen Printing Tshirts



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