How to Screen Print on Paper Bags + To Go Boxes with Cricut Vinyl

Nov 18, 2019 | Cricut Projects, Project Ideas, Screen Printing, Thanksgiving, Vinyl Projects

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screen printing paper bags tutorials speedball

What’s better than a big Thanksgiving Day feast?  The leftovers!  After a full day of cooking, I enjoy taking some time off in the kitchen.  Black Friday for me means leftovers and Amazon shopping.

When I saw this funny SVG design, “Leftovers are For Quitters” by ChameleonCuttablesUS, I just knew it would be the perfect design to put on to-go bags for our Thanksgiving Day leftovers.

To screen print on paper bags, I used my Speedball’s Hinge Frame and Speedball Acrylic Ink.  This ink dries quickly and looks great on paper bags, cardboard, foam board and so many more surfaces.  The acrylic ink is different from fabric ink in that you don’t need to heat set it.  Once it air dries, it’s ready to go.  Check out my process video below.

screen printing bags video tutorial

Supplies Used in this Tutorial

Trick to Lining Up Your Bags or Paper Under the Speedball Frame

how to line up screen printing frame

In order to get a perfectly placed print each time, I create an outline to help me line up each bag with ease. Before I add my painter’s tape and ink, I adjust a bag under the screen until it is lined up how I want.  Then, I slide a piece of paper under the bag and tape it to the base of my hinged frame. Then I can trace the outline of the bag.  Now, I have guide marks to easily see where the next bags should be placed.  This is very helpful once ink is on the screen because you can no longer see through to line up the bags!

Screen Printing on Leftover Box Lids from the Dollar Tree

screen printing on paper to go containers

Last year, I stocked up on a bunch of these foil pans with lids from my local Dollar Tree. They make great to-go containers for Thanksgiving because they stack on top of each other nicely.  Plus, they are cheap (3 for $1) so you aren’t giving away all of your plastic containers.  I remember last year having trouble remembering which one had the stuffing leftovers and which one had the mashed potatoes.  Problem solved this year – I screen printed on the tops (flipped over to use the white side).  Now we can label the leftovers to make it easier to sort through the refrigerator the next day!

screen print paper vinyl cricut silhouette

Process Video

Here’s a look at the whole project in action:

One More Tip

If you are new to screen printing on paper, you may notice that this ink is a little thinner consistency compared to the fabric ink used on t-shirts.  Speedball Fabric ink soaks into the fibers of your shirt where acrylic ink says on top of the paper. As a result, I have found that it doesn’t take as much ink to get a perfect print.  I usually try for just one even pass of the ink with my squeegee.  Adding too much ink can easily lead to bleeding because the ink doesn’t have anywhere to go when you push too much through the screen.

Something that helps me when screen printing on paper, is to give it a little off-contact spacing.  If you watch in the process video above, you may notice quarters on the edge of my screen (look at 1:34).  By adding quarters under the wood frame edges, it lifts the screen off the paper just slightly.  This helps you from getting too much ink built up on the paper.

how to screen print vinyl cricut

Ideas for Screen Printing on Paper Bags

This tutorial isn’t just for Thanksgiving leftovers!  Think of all of the possibilities screen printing on paper bags:

  • Wedding Favors
  • Bridesmaid Gift Bags
  • Make a Gift Bag for “My Favorite Things” and fill it with your favorites!
  • Your logo for custom shopping bags
  • Christmas Gift Kraft Bags
  • Welcome Bags for Guests at your next reunion, wedding, or special event

Happy Crafting!


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