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Screen Printing Press Multi Color Design

If you have gotten serious about your screen printing, you’ve likely looked into one of these 1 Color 1 Station Screen Printing Presses.  These hinged platforms are very helpful when apply ink through your screen.  If you happen to miss a spot, just pull the screen back down and add more ink.

Even though this is a 1 color press, you can still make multi-color shirts with it.  The trick is to add registration marks to your vinyl design before you cut it.  I have more details on how to prepare your design in previous tutorials (see How to Screen Print Multiple Colors Using Vinyl Stencils and How to Screen Print 2 Color Designs with the Cricut Maker). The process for multi-color designs on your press is the same as we have done without the press.  You’ll use the registration marks to line up the additional color(s).

Just getting started screen printing with your vinyl cutter?  This step-by-step guide will explain everything you need to know before you start more complex designs like this tutorial.

Screen printing press with 2 color design tutorial

The Process

  1. Setup your design and cut your vinyl. For step-by-step on how to do this in Cricut Design Space, watch this tutorial first.
  2. Attach your first color design to the back of your Speedball screen.
  3. Line up your screen and shirt on the press.
  4. Add tape over the areas where your registration marks will fall.
  5. Squeegee your first color.
  6. Quickly dry this layer using a heat gun.
  7. Apply another layer of the same color if you want your ink to be brighter.  If you are using black or a dark color, you can skip this step.
  8. Remove your vinyl and wash your screen.
  9. Allow the screen and shirt to air dry.  I waited about 15 minutes.
  10. Attach your next color to the back of your Speedball screen.
  11. Line up the screen with the registration marks left from color 1 and tighten your screen in place.
  12. Squeegee the 2nd color, dry with heat gun and add a 2nd coat (optional).
  13. Repeat steps 8-12 if you have additional colors in your design.
  14. Allow your shirt to air dry 24-48 hours.  You can speed up this process with your heat gun.
  15. Heat press the shirt on 320 degrees for at least 40 seconds. This will make the ink permanent on your shirt.  You can now wash and dry your shirt like normal.

Tips and Tricks

There are a few tricks I learned using this process.

  • Make sure your t-shirt sticks to the board. If your shirt moves around, it won’t stay in the same spot when you lower the screen and can make lining up the 2nd color difficult.  I use EcoTex Super Tack Pallet Adhesive because I prefer not to spray an adhesive aerosol in my house.  The Super Tack is like glue.  Just spread it over your pallet and spread it with a scrapper tool.  Wipe off any access.  Be careful, this stuff is sticky and will get all over your hands!
  • Use a heat gun to quickly dry between coats. For my design, I wanted the white and red colors to be bright on the blue shirt.  To do this, I applied the first layer of ink.  Then, I used a heat gun to quickly dry that layer before adding a 2nd coat of the same color on top.  I repeated the process for the red ink.  This is the heat gun I use: https://amzn.to/2RBTorT
  • Use a clamp when you need an extra hand to hold down your screen.  Sometimes it is tricky to hold down your screen and apply good, even pressure on your squeegee.  I use a clamp like this one to give myself an extra hand.
  • If you want to make more than one shirt, I recommend using a heat gun and 2 screens.  Keep your first shirt on the press.  Apply the first color and dry with the heat gun.  Switch to your 2nd screen and apply the next color.  Once you have finished the first shirt, remove it from the press and setup your next shirt starting over with the first screen.

Supplies Used in this Tutorial

Screen Printing Press: https://amzn.to/2V0KLZb
10×14 Frame: https://amzn.to/2XNbedD
Squeegee: https://amzn.to/2L3a2RU
Oracal 651: https://amzn.to/2XCK88W
Speedball Fabric Ink: https://amzn.to/2IGsQUV
Heat Gun: https://amzn.to/2RBTorT
Transfer Tape: https://amzn.to/2WjL4yg
My Favorite Source for Blank Shirts

For a full list of supplies I use for screen printing with craft vinyl, visit: https://www.pigskinsandpigtails.com/screen-printing-supply-list/

Just getting started screen printing with your vinyl cutter?  This step-by-step guide will explain everything you need to know before you start more complex designs like this tutorial.