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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.
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.
- Siser EasyWeed vinyl – any color will do. This is another way I’m using up my overflowing HTV stash since I now screen print everything.
- EasyPress 2
- Extra Screen Fabric
- Speedball Screen Printing Frame 10×14
- Screen Rolling Tool
- Teflon Sheet
- Push Pins
- Speedball Fabric Ink
- Blank T-shirts
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!
3 HELPFUL TIPS
- 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. 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.
- 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!