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If you love screen printing at home, here is a alternative way to add a creative touch to your designs. I shared tutorial recently about creating a watercolor effect with screen printing inks. This is similar but we are going to use the vinyl to create a basketball stencil for the design.
I created a marble effect with blues, purples and teal inks. This technique is a little different than my usual screen printing with vinyl, as I put the vinyl directly on the pillowcase. I used this vinyl as a stencil to apply ink on top. Removing the vinyl, you get the marbled effect inside the basketball!
If you are new to screen printing with your vinyl cutter, start here for the step-by-step instructions.
Why Screen Printing is Better than Iron-On Vinyl Especially on Pillowcases
For years, I would use my Cricut to cut iron-on vinyl for personalized shirts. I was never crazy about how the vinyl felt on the t-shirts. Plus, I didn't think it held up that great long term.
Then, I discovered how easy it is to screen print with vinyl instead of using HTV. Water-based screen printing ink (I like Speedball brand), soaks into the fabric. Because it absorbs into the fibers rather than sitting on top, you can barely feel the ink! Not only does it look so much better than HTV, it feels so much better!
It's my go-to for t-shirts, but I also love screen printing on pillowcases. The ink absorbs into the pillowcase leaving a soft surface for sleeping.
Supplies Needed for Screen Printing with a Marble Effect
- Speedball 10×14 Screen Printing Frame
- Speedball Fabric Ink in various colors, you can also mix custom colors like I did using my Ink Recipe Guides
- Oracal 651 Vinyl – any color
- Painter’s Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2
- Blank Pillowcase
- Wax Paper
- Cricut Brayer
- Easy Press 2 or Heat Press
- Heat Gun (optional)
What Color Inks are These?
I used a combination of ink colors to make this marbled effect. From the jar, I used Speedball Blue Topaz, Speedball Violet, and Speedball White fabric inks. The “Emma” name used the color Saltwater from my Primary Colors Ink Recipe Guide. The lighter blue color is Frozen from my Holiday Colors Ink Recipe Guide. The purples started with Orchid from my Spring Colors Ink Recipe Guide and I added extra white to make a lighter purple.
The great part about this method, you can experiment mixing any colors! I initial tried mixing in yellows and pinks but I wasn't crazy about that many colors in my design. Since it mixed on wax paper first, it was easy to try again until I got the combination exactly how I wanted it.
Tips and Tricks for Screen Printing Pillowcases with a Marble Effect
- The one thing I wished I had done differently is allowed the ink to dry before pulling off the vinyl around the basketball. It got a little messy with the ink on my hands, trying not to touch the white pillowcase! You could even use a heat gun to speed up the drying before removing the vinyl.
- Experiment with different color combinations. My first mixture didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, so I used a new piece of wax paper and tried again!
- You can add a little water to your inks to allow them to mix even better. I used a small cup of ink and squirted a little water from a spray bottle. Stir the ink until the water is mixed in. This helps the inks blend together without getting too thick. The same technique also allowed me to do the splattering effect.
- Don't forget to heat set your pillowcase after it dries. Allow it to dry 2-4 days (or speed up the drying with a heat gun or fan and allow to dry at least overnight). Once the ink is dry, heat set for 40 seconds on 320 degrees. This will make the ink permanent so your pillowcase can be washed without fading.
Personalized pillowcases make a great gift idea for pre-teens or teens who are hard to shop for. You can personalize with colors and designs that fit their style!
This would be a fun activity for a sleepover birthday party. Each guest could design and create their own pillowcase.