Shortcut for Screen Printing Multi-Color Designs

Aug 4, 2019 | Beginner Tutorials, Cricut Projects, Screen Printing, Tutorials

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Today I'm sharing one of my largest screen printing projects!  This is one of my favorite gift ideas for pre-teen and teenage girls….especially for sleepover birthday parties.  I made this personalized pillowcase for a standard size pillow using my 16-inch-by-20-inch Speedball frame.  I love using screen printing for pillowcases because it absorbs into the material and makes for a softer surface compared to HTV.

Not only is this project larger than most t-shirts I screen print, it is also 5 colors! I could make 5 different screens and use registration marks to line up each layer (see tutorial on registration marks here), but I am always looking for a quicker way to finish projects. For this one, I used 2 vinyl cuts – one for the colors layer and one for the black outline.  I reused my transfer tape to block out the areas around each color – trying to only get color on the section I needed.  Watch the process video below to see this in action!

screen printing trick for multi color

Supplies Used for Oversized Screen Printing

How to screen print multi color designs quickly

Tips and Tricks

  • I reused pieces of transfer tape to block out the areas of my screen that I didn't want colors to go through.  If your transfer tape doesn't stick well over the wet ink, try using painter's tape.  It doesn't need to stick perfectly…just enough to block out the areas you don't want ink to transfer.
  • Tape your pillowcase to your table so it doesn't move.  This will help when you line up your 2nd screen.
  • Use registration marks to line up your 2nd screen much easier!  Here's a tutorial on using registration marks for multi-color designs.
  • Allow your ink to dry between layers.  After I screen printed the colors, I removed the vinyl and washed my screen.  I allowed the screen and pillowcase to dry for about 45 minutes before I added the black outline layer.  If you screen print on top when the colors are still wet, they may bleed!  You can use a heat gun to speed up this process if you are in a hurry.

Screen printing multi color easy

how to screen print with craft vinyl


  1. I am wondering if it is possible to do a shirt with a rack of pool balls they are all colors and smaller with # and some stripes. I really want to make it for someone but I am afraid to try if it will be very difficult. If you have any ideas or tips I would be grateful.

    • Definitely doable but a challenge! I would suggest breaking it up into multiple screens and use registration marks to line up the different layers. You could do at least 2 colors on each screen…pick 2 balls that are far enough apart from each other (just like the method you see in this post).

  2. How much faster is using the heat gun to dry between layers and before heat pressing??

    • It’s hard to say an exact time with the heat gun. Between layers, I’d just touch it to see if it feels dry.


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I’m Jennifer, your go-to for all things vinyl screen printing. I offer both in-person and online classes to help you craft better quality shirts. This blog is full of screen printing inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn all about screen printing with vinyl!

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