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I am having so much fun making leather earrings with my Cricut Maker. It's amazing what this machine will cut! After making a few basic pairs of leather earrings, I just had to try screen printing on them. I decided to create personalized football earrings. This process uses my Speedball Hinged Frame, making it easy to add additional coats of ink until the design is printed perfectly. Keep reading below to see all of my tricks to screen printing on leather.
This process is a little bit more work compared to ironing HTV on a pair of earrings. But, if you are a shop owner or maker who creates earrings in large numbers, this screen printing method is for you! With one vinyl cut, you can personalize 20, 40, 60+ earrings super fast. With less vinyl and less weeding, you will save time and money.
Supplies Used in this Tutorial
- Speedball Fabric Ink OR Speedball Acrylic Ink
- Cricut Genuine Leather
- Speedball Hinged Frame
- Cricut Premium Vinyl OR Oracal 651
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut EasyPress Mini
- Transfer Tape (this tape is key to getting your vinyl to stick to the screen)
- Painter’s Tape
- Masking Tape
- 4 Quarters
- Earring Making Supply Kit
Tips for Screen Printing on Leather or Faux Leather:
- Tape quarters to the edge of your frame or the spot on your board where the frame will make contact (I used 2 for each side). This gives you a little space between the screen and your leather (called off contact). Since the ink doesn't absorb into leather like it does with fabric, this extra space will help keep your image sharp and prevent excess ink from bleeding to the back of your design.
- Use thin coats. I did one pass with the squeegee, then lifted the screen. I use a heat gun to dry the ink quickly. After 1 coat of white ink, I could still see some of the leather through in the ink. After it was dry to the touch, I lower the screen and apply a 2nd coat of ink. This second coat gives you much better coverage.
- You can use Speedball Acrylic Ink which does not require heat setting. In this demo, I used Speedball Fabric Ink which requires heat to make it permanent. I used my EasyPress Mini to heat the small earrings for about 20-40 seconds. The new Cricut EasyPress Mini is the perfect size for these small projects!
- In Design Space, I created the outline cut for the football shape and along with the lines/number. I separated the design into 2 parts. The first mat cut the leather shape. The second mat cut the vinyl that I used as a stencil on my screen.
- I lined the leather earrings under my screen by feeling the edges. If you plan to do multiple sets, I'd suggest creating an outline (like I use when screen printing napkins) so it's easier to line up the next set.
- Tape your leather to the board of your hinge frame to keep it in place as you screen print. Just be careful not to tape over part of the design that will be covered in ink. I used masking tape at the very top and bottom of my leather earrings.