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how to screen print with craft vinyl

Have you been making HTV (heat transfer vinyl) shirts with your Cricut or Silhouette?  I have been designing shirts for my girls for years.  While I enjoy creating shirts with HTV, I have always preferred wearing screen printed shirts.  Recently, I tried screen printing and I’m hooked!  It’s a rather simple process and you need just a few new supplies.  You’ll continue to design and cut your vinyl with your vinyl cutter (like the Silhouette Cameo, Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2.) but you use Oracal 651 outdoor vinyl instead of HTV.  The adhesive vinyl sticks to your screen.  When you squeegee ink over the screen, it goes through the screen except where the vinyl stencil is covering.

Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl

I’m excited to share my process for DIY screen printed shirts.  You can learn more about these steps along with a tutorial for multi-color shirts and troubleshooting advice in my ebook, “A Complete Guide to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl.

Supplies You Will Need:

For more details on the supplies I use, visit my Screen Printing Supply List.

Have you ever needed to make multiple shirts?  This is where screen printing becomes more economical (and time saving) over HTV.  HTV can get expensive when doing a bunch of shirts.  With screen printing, you can reuse the same stencil over and over.  I recently did M&M t-shirts for Halloween.  I used one stencil (one 9×9 vinyl cutout) 12 times!  For more tips on screen printing with your vinyl cutter, visit my beginner’s guide.

A few last tips before you give it a shot….

  1. Be sure to wash your screen and squeegee right after you are finished so the paint doesn’t dry in your screen.
  2. If you wish to layer colors or screen print on the other side of your shirt, allow the paint to dry for several hours first.
  3. It will take some trial and error to get the hang of how much ink to use.  I usually make 2-3 squeegees with the ink.
  4. If you want to screen print with multiple colors, here are some tips for multi-color designs.
  5. UPDATE: Even though I use white ink in this tutorial, I recommend trying a dark ink first on a light color shirt.  You’ll get a better feel for the process this way.  Here is some information I’ve since learned about white ink.

I’d love to see your screen printed projects.  Be sure to tag me on Instagram (@pigskinsandpigtails).

how to screen print with craft vinyl