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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.
UPDATED YOUTUBE VIDEO TUTORIAL
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.
- heat transfer vinyl (HTV) – any color will do. This is another way I’m using up my overflowing HTV stash since I now screen print everything.
- EasyPress or Siser Heat Press (this is the perfect size press for heating 10×14 Speedball frames without removing the mesh)
- Extra Screen Fabric
- Speedball Screen Printing Frame 10×14
- Screen Rolling Tool
- Teflon Sheet
- Push Pins
- Speedball Fabric Ink
- Blank T-shirts
NOTE: I have updated my process since posting this article. Watch this video for my current process of making HTV screens.
Step 1: Cut your design on Siser EasyWeed 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 280, press the Siser EasyWeed HTV on your screen fabric for 20 seconds. If you are having trouble getting the design to stick to the screen, you can increase the temperature on your heat press a little bit. I've found that it's better to start with less heat and work your way up. You want just enough to get the vinyl to release onto your screen but not too hot where it wrinkles!
Step 6: Screen print, wash, dry and repeat!
3 HELPFUL TIPS
- If you struggle with getting your screen back in the frame, you can iron the HTV on your screen without removing the mesh. Watch this video to see how I iron inside the frame.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!