How to Screen Print White Ink on Dark Fabrics

Apr 18, 2019 | Beginner Tutorials, Cricut Projects, Screen Printing


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Screen printing with white ink can be tricky and frustrating. The consistency of Speedball’s white ink is a little different than other colors. With dark color inks, the ink soaks into the fibers of a shirt and stains the color into the shirt. Because of this, you can’t feel the ink. White is a little different. It takes a thicker coat to cover the color of the shirt and get a bright white.

Weathered worn white ink screen printing

If you are going for a weathered, worn look, you will want to use regular white Speedball fabric ink. I try to use less pressure on the squeegee allowing more ink to pass through the screen.  As that thicker layer of ink dries, it will begin to crack.  After a few washes, you’ll notice even more weathering. The photo below is also using Speedball white fabric ink. Because the lettering is skinnier, you don’t notice the cracking as much. You can still use regular white ink on dark shirts and pull off minimal cracking by using thinner coats of ink and strategically choosing designs without large areas of solid white.

screen printing white ink on dark fabric

If you want a more clean, solid white, Speedball has an opaque line of fabric inks. The opaque inks have a shimmery quality to them.  The coverage is closer to the coverage you get with color inks. To avoid cracking, you don’t want to use thick coats.  I have noticed that one thin coat of white opaque fabric ink still shows some of the shirt. In this tutorial video, I show how I use a heat gun to quickly dry the first coat of ink so that you can apply a second coat on top using the same screen.  Using 2 light to average coats of ink, I am able to get a nice, solid white ink that holds up great wash after wash!

Supplies used in this video:



9 Comments

  1. What size screen did you use?

    Reply
    • I use the 10×14 on almost all of my projects. I have several this size: https://amzn.to/2XNbedD

      Reply
  2. Hi! I am trying to do what you did above, put a second coat on it but when I pull the screen up from the first time the tee pulls up so it moves and when I put the second coat on it isn’t lined up. How to you get the tee from not moving when you are pulling up the screen? And do you know if they make board smaller for kids sizes? Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Can you do coats if you only have a stand alone screen?

    Reply
    • No, without the press, you really just have one shot to apply the ink. Once you lift the screen, it is super hard to realign it. That’s the advantage of having the press.

      Reply
  4. What press do you use?

    Reply
    • The 1 color press I use is out of stock, but this one is really similar: https://amzn.to/3fd527e

      Reply
  5. What temperature do you set the heat gun to?

    Reply

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