Tips for Screen Printing White Ink on Dark Fabrics

Sep 5, 2019 | Cricut Projects, Ink, Screen Printing, Tutorials

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I love screen printing with Speedball's fabric inks. They are water-based inks which means they saturate the garment's fibers and feel softer compared to plastisol inks that sit on top of the fabric. However, the white fabric ink is a little different. It has a thicker consistency compared to the colored inks and doesn't saturate the garment quite the same.

Screen print whtie ink speedball on black

Even though the consistency is different, it is still possible to use Speedball white ink to get a nice, solid design.  I achieve this by putting the ink on in 2 coats, drying in between. You will need a screen printing press for this process (I use a 1 color station found here).  After you put down one coat of ink, you'll notice that some of the black still shows through. Sometimes I want to achieve a vintage, worn look and will stop here.  But if I want a solid white, I will do a quick dry with a heat gun. You don't want to cure it, just a few seconds with the heat gun until it's dry to the touch. Then, add another coat of ink for a much more vibrant white.

I have also found that Speedball's Opaque White ink holds up much better in the wash and is less likely to crack over time.  It has a consistency closer to the colored inks so it easy to work with.  I still use the same process of print > heat gun > print with the opaque ink. Here is a video of that process using Speedball's Opaque White ink on a black stadium blanket.

Process Video

I have another video tutorial using Speedball white inks here:

White fabric ink on dark t-shirts solid cracking

Supplies Used in this Tutorial:

how to screen print with craft vinyl

Tips for Screen Printing White Ink on Dark Fabrics

  • Use the Print > Heat Gun > Print technique to add layers of ink on top of the dark fabric. This will help you achieve a bright white.
  • Invest in a Heat Gun and Screen Printing Press for this technique to work!
  • Try Speedball's White Opaque Ink to avoid cracking.
  • The type and quality of material that you print on can make a difference. While I typically use cotton/poly materials because I like the soft feel, 100% ringspun cotton shirts (like the Hanes Nano) are known to take screen printing well.


  1. Do you do hot pink ink on black shirt the same way as the white.

    • You will get better results if you can put an underbase coat of white ink down first. Then put the pink on top. To line this up precisely, you’ll want to use a press (This 4 color press makes it easier when doing multiple shirts:


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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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