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One of the most common questions I receive in teaching crafters how to screen print with vinyl is… how do I screen print with glitter? There are screen printing inks out there that include glitter, but I have found that these require a different type of screen. And, because they are typically plastisol inks, they would require special equipment to cure the ink. I use the Speedball 10×14 frame which comes with a 110 monofilament screen fabric. Since I'm crafting at home, I didn't want to invest in more screens and equipment just to be able to make a glitter shirt.
Last year, I attempted a process where I sprinkled glitter on the wet ink. This looked great right away but after a few washes, the glitter didn't hold up that well. Ever since, I've been determined to find a better way to screen print with glitter.
I have tested a variety of glitters and different techniques, most of which failed. Today, I'm excited to finally share a process that works!
How to Screen Print with a Glitter Additive
For this glitter effect, I use the same screen printing with vinyl process that I use for all of my projects. If you are new to screen printing, you can get all of the details in my step-by-step ebook available here.
In a glass bowl, add one spoonful of glitter to 2 spoonfuls of Speedball Fabric Ink. I found that this was a good ratio, but depending on the glitter effect you are looking for you may want to experiment with these proportions. Adding the glitter does make the ink thicker in consistency. Stir the ink/glitter until it is combined. You may think the glitter has been covered up by the ink, but it is okay. When you screen print the mixture, the glitter will be much more evident.
Spoon your glitter/ink mixture on your screen. Squeegee the ink over your design. Lift the screen to reveal your glittery printed design!
Once your shirt or tea towel is completely dry (1-2 days), heat set the ink using your Easy Press 2 or Heat Press. Here are additional tips for heat setting your fabric ink. Now, you can safely wash and dry your shirt/towel. I have found that the glitter holds up in the wash much better than my original glitter tutorial.
Where to Buy Glitter for Speedball Fabric Ink
The key to adding glitter to your screen printing ink is to use a glitter that is fine enough to pass through your screen fabric. Here is the glitter that I have found works great with the 110 mesh Speedball 10×14 frame.
Supplies Needed for Screen Printing with Glitter
- Speedball 10×14 Screen Printing Frame
- Speedball Fabric Ink
- Oracal 651 Vinyl – any color
- Painter’s Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2
- Glitter Additive
- Blank T-Shirt or Blank Tea Towels
- Easy Press 2 or Heat Press
Why I Love this Process
I started screen printing after years of working with iron-on vinyl. I was never crazy about how HTV felt on my shirts. Plus, I found that it didn't hold up that great wash after wash. When I discovered that I could screen print with vinyl cut on my Cricut, I was hooked! Speedball Fabric Ink soaks into your shirt, leaving it with a smooth feeling that you can barely tell is there.
Glitter HTV is even bulkier and thicker feeling. Screen printing with a glitter additive gives you a glitter effect without the uncomfortable feeling of glitter HTV. So far, this method has held up well in the wash. I am excited to try even more of the glitter colors available on Amazon.