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Permanent screen printing stencil with HTV and Cricut or Silhouette for screen printing
If you’ve been following along on my screen printing posts, you know that I screen print using my vinyl cutter and Oracal 651 adhesive vinyl. Adhesive vinyl is a one time use stencil. It comes off each time you wash the screen.  This works well for me, because I don’t often print the same design more than once. If I do want to remake a shirt, it’s easy enough to cut a new piece of vinyl.  But, I know some of you are looking for a more permanent solution. If you have a t-shirt business and want to be able to print designs on demand without recutting it each time, I have a solution for you!  I have found that heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a great way to make a permanent design on your screen.

THE PROCESS

The process is very similar to screen printing with craft vinyl. You’ll cut the design on HTV and iron it on your screen. This attaches the design permanently to your screen.  You can still get by with one frame. The screens can easily be removed and replaced using this screen rolling tool.  You’ll want to grab a package of screen refills here, so you have extra screen fabric.

SUPPLIES NEEDED

STEP-BY-STEP

Step 1: Cut your design on HTV. Do not mirror the image. I know this sounds weird since we usually cut the mirror image for HTV, but you will be applying the vinyl to the back of your screen so you don’t want to cut mirror for this. If you accidentally cut it mirrored, you can attach it to the front of your screen. Since it’s permanent, you don’t have to worry about the squeegee pulling up the design.
Step 2: Weed the area of the design where your want ink to go through.
Step 3: Remove your screen from the frame. I used an old screen that was stained with previous ink designs. The screen is still in good shape despite the stains.
Step 4: Using a heat press set to 320, press the HTV on your screen fabric for 15 seconds at a time. Repeat this process until the backing paper comes off easily leaving your HTV attached to the screen.  I used a teflon sheet on top of my HTV.  You can also use parchment paper.
Step 5: Attach the screen to your frame using a screen rolling tool.
Step 6: Screen print, wash, dry and repeat!

3 HELPFUL TIPS

  1. I tried using an iron to attach the HTV to the screen and it didn’t work.  The HTV started to shrivel and distort on the screen.  I’m thinking this is because the iron wasn’t covering the entire design evenly. The heat press worked so much better.
  2. Start on low heat and slowly add more time until the HTV backing easily peels off. If your press gets too hot, the HTV backing will wrinkle and it won’t go on the screen evenly. I set my heat press to 320 and went in 15 second intervals.  It took about 4 times before the backing peeled off easily.
  3. Peel the painter’s tape off slowly.  I ripped it off like I would with Oracal 651 and it pulled up the design a little.  After washing the screen, I was able to heat press the design back on without a problem.  Next time, I’ll go a little slower when I remove the painter’s tape!