Make a Permanent Screen Printing Stencil with HTV

Jun 1, 2019 | Beginner Tutorials, Cricut Projects, Screen Printing, Tutorials


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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.

how to make permanent screen vinyl printing

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.

screen printing vinyl htv permanent design

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 230, press the HTV on your screen fabric for 5 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. 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 5: Attach the screen to your frame using a screen rolling tool.

Step 6: Screen print, wash, dry and repeat!

screen printing wash screen design permanent htv

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 230 and went in 5 second intervals.  It took about 4 times before the backing peeled off easily.  You may need to increase your heat slightly if the vinyl doesn’t stick to the screen. 
  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!

41 Comments

  1. The way you place the HTV down on the mat for cutting is the same, correct. It’s shiny side down?

    Reply
    • Yes, shiny side down. You don’t want to mirror the image for this method though. Seems strange to do HTV without the mirror but I like to attach it to the back of the screen.

      Reply
      • How much do you charge to make these

        Reply
    • Thank you so much for your tutorials. Newbie here and I have tried both the htv and vinyl options, but am getting bleed each time on the fabric. I am using Hunt the moon water based screen printing ink. Any tips to get a clean, crisp print?

      Reply
  2. Hello!
    When you say painters tape pulled up the vinyl, but you repressed after washing..
    Do you mean this method is not entirely permanent. Like our design(vinyl) can still come off?
    Also, can we replace screen with htv design anytime we need? Meaning can I have a few htv designs already adhered to screen fabric and take one off of frame to replace with another, as needed?

    Im thinking of trying it, just wanted to make sure I understood correctly! 🙂

    Thank you for your time!

    Reply
    • I think it would be pretty tricky to remove all of the HTV and the residue it leaves behind to get a completely reusable screen again. Since screen refills are so cheap, I just purchase a new package. I rarely make HTV screens, most of mine are done with adhesive vinyl (which is removable) because I don’t tend to repeat designs frequently.

      Reply
  3. Hello! Yes, I would also like to know if down the road I would be able to remove the HTV and add a different design or if this screen is now set for life with this design and will need to be tossed when the design is no longer needed.

    Reply
    • They make some HTV removers but I haven’t tried removing a HTV design. The replacement fabric is inexpensive, so I just purchase a few extra screens to work with rather than spending time trying to remove it!

      Reply
  4. When I ironed on the HTV, it stuck to the material I had underneath the silk screening fabric. Did you have this experience as well? Work arounds?

    Reply
    • I would put a piece of parchment paper under the screen next time.

      Reply
  5. Can you use an easy press for heat setting?

    Reply
    • Yes! I love using my Easy Press!!

      Reply
  6. What’s the cord material that you are using with the screen rolling tool? Thank you.

    Reply
    • It’s what holds the screen in the Speedball frame. You can purchase replacement cording here: https://amzn.to/2Ywmhs1

      Reply
  7. I have been doing this process for a couple of years now. I have recently discovered a couple of things that can remove the HTV. Paint stripper (especially one that is acetone based) works great. The best thing I’ve found is a product called Strip Fast. It’s basically like a thickened acetone. I put it on the back of the screen, wait a few minutes and the HTV starts bubbling up. You can then pull up (or squeegee off) the bits of HTV.

    Reply
    • Where have you purchased the Strip Fast?

      Reply
  8. Hi! I was curious after you make a HTV screen and make how many shirts with it. Can you remove the screen and save it for later use? So, you can keep using the frame for other designs. Or will it get stretch out if you try to put it on again for a second time? Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
  9. Hello, I am trying to use this method to create a stencil but am running into a problem. My design is a little detailed and when I transfer the vinyl to the screen there is residue left on some parts of the screen that doesn’t allow the paint to flow through and therefore I don’t get a clean finished product. Is hyperextended any tips you can offer to me to help remedy this.

    Reply
    • Try heat pressing your vinyl at a lower temperature. Also, make sure you are using a good quality HTV. Some brands may not work as well as others.

      Reply
  10. Love this idea! I don’t have a heat press, can I use an iron instead?

    Reply
  11. What is the best way to clean my screen in between uses with the permanent HTV on it? I just want to make sure it does not bubble so the paint doesn’t bleed.

    Reply
    • I wash with water (and the sprayer attachment on my sink) and the HTV shouldn’t come off! You should be able to reuse the screen over and over!

      Reply
  12. Hi,
    When reattaching the screen to the frame- after the htv has been heat pressed on to the fabric- I’m having trouble with it distorting the design and pulling more in one direction than the other. Which makes it impossible to line up two color designs if my design is now oblong. Any tips on how to correct this?

    Reply
  13. do I need to remove the screen from the frame in order to iron-on the htv effectively?

    Reply
    • I’ve actually found it’s easier to iron on with the screen still attached! If you have a design that goes to the edge of your frame, you may need to take it off though. Remember to start with your temp low and work up. If it gets too hot the vinyl starts to wrinkle!

      Reply
  14. It won’t melt my screen using the heat press? I ask only because I may or may not have melted my screen with my heat gun while trying to dry it quickly between uses (ugh) I’m guessing my heat gun is a lot hotter than the heat press set to 230?

    Reply
    • Yes, the heat gun can get really hot. I’ve burned my carpet with it! With the heat press, you can always start lower and work your way up. You’re just trying to get it hot enough to transfer the HTV but not so hot it burns!

      Reply
  15. is this water based or plastisol? if i use plastisol would I need something specific to wash the screen in order not to ruin the htv?

    Reply
    • I prefer water-based inks. They are easier to clean up – just wash your screen with water!

      Reply
  16. Can you use the 651 vinyl or do you have to use the easy weed?

    Reply
    • Just kidding…. I re-read the blog and found the answer. Oops.

      Reply
      • No problem! Let me know if you have any other questions!

        Reply
  17. If I’m using my Cricut EasyPress to apply the HTV to the screen should I also use my Cricut EasyPress Mat or should I use a different surface to press on?

    Reply
    • I use my Cricut mat underneath 🙂

      Reply
  18. In the video, you say to heat press at 320 for 15 second intervals but in the blog, you say 230 for 5 second intervals. Can you please clarify? 320 created a disaster for me.

    Reply
    • I adjusted to 230 for 5 second intervals after some people mentioned it was getting too hot for them at 320. Better to start lower temp and go up if needed. You just want to get it hot enough to remove the clear backing from your HTV.

      Reply

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