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If you recently learned how to screen print, you might be ready to start experimenting with layering inks. Similar to iron-on vinyl, you can layer your ink colors when screen printing. With HTV, it's easy to see and line up layers. With screen printing you are working in reverse, so it's a little tricky to see through the vinyl on your screen to line up the layers. Today, I'm sharing a few tips and tricks that will help you successfully screen print multi-color designs.
The most important key to layering inks is to make sure that the first color is dry before adding the next color. If you're not in a hurry, you can leave your shirt to air dry overnight. I like to put mine under a fan. But, if you are in a hurry to get it done, you can use a heat gun (or flash dryer) to speed up the process. After applying the first ink color to all of your shirts, remove the vinyl and wash your screen. Then, use your heat gun to dry the ink. Apply your next vinyl layer to your screen and you are ready to screen print the next color.
Keep reading below for more tips and tricks.
If you are new to screen printing with your Cricut or Silhouette, start here for all of the details and supplies you will need.
Supplies Used in This Project
- Speedball 10×14 Screen Printing Frame
- Speedball Fabric Ink in green and black
- Oracal 651 Vinyl – any color
- Painter’s Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2
- Blank T-Shirt
- Easy Press 2 or Heat Press
- Heat Gun (optional)
Screen Printing Multi Color Designs with Vinyl
Tips and Tricks for Multi-Color Designs
- Setup registration marks in your design program as part of your vinyl cut file. These boxes will help you align the layers on your shirt. You can find more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to setup registration marks in my ebook, “The Complete Guide to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl.”
- Make sure your green ink is dry before adding the black on top. If your ink is not completely dry, the colors may bleed together. You can allow your shirt to air dry or speed up the process with a heat gun.
- Put parchment paper inside your shirt just in case ink bleeds through the shirt. This will prevent it from getting on the back of your shirt.
- When layering inks, you typically want to work from light to dark with your ink colors. Black is almost always the last because it is hard for other ink colors to cover it up.
- You do not need multiple Speedball screen printing frames to do multiple colors. While you are waiting on your first color to dry, your screen can be washed and dried for reuse. The screen typically dries faster than the ink on the shirt anyways.
- Wear your green on St. Patrick's Day so you don't get pinched!
Free Buffalo Plaid Shamrock Cut File