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Custom Backpacks for The Blue Ribbon Project
I teamed up with Cricut on this special project to help provide custom designed backpacks for The Blue Ribbon Project. With approximately 44,000 children in foster care nationwide, The Blue Ribbon Project provides much needed packages for foster children during this difficult transition. I really love getting creative for a great cause. When I heard about this project, I immediately knew I needed to try screen printing on backpacks. I'm excited to share the process with you!
Screen Printing on Backpacks
My screen printing process starts with my Cricut Maker. I cut the images I found in Design Space on Cricut Permanent Vinyl. Once weeded, I transferred the design to my screen printing frame. Holding the frame firmly over the backpack, I squeegee a few coats of Speedball fabric ink over the screen. Then, lift the screen to reveal your screen printed design!
One of the tricks to screen printing on items with zippers or uneven parts is creating a flat surface. Without a flat surface, your screen printing ink will not apply evenly and you are likely to have bleeding or incomplete prints. I found that sliding a scrap piece of wood into the front pocket of the backpack gave me a flat surface to print the design on the front of the bag.
Choosing a Design from Design Space Images
One of the things I absolutely love about having Cricut Access is the array of images you can find in Design Space. I chose a cat for the girl backpack and basketball for the boy backpack. With the wide variety of Cricut images, you can personalize backpacks to match the child's personality and interests perfectly.
After choosing the designs, I added a square around each image. This makes the weeding process easier and also allows me to center the design within the vinyl cut. This comes in handy when you are ready to align the design on your backpack. You can use the box around the vinyl to help eyeball the best placement for your design.
Heat Setting the Screen Printing Ink on Backpacks
Once your fabric ink is dry, you will need to heat set the backpack in order to make the ink permanent on the bag. Just in case the bag gets wet, heat setting will prevent the image from bleeding or rubbing off. I set my Easy Press 2 on 320 degrees and press for 40 seconds.
Screen Printing on Cricut T-shirt Blanks
The Blue Ribbon Project provides a list of items needed for each child, specific to their age and gender. One of the items on the list is shirts. I decided to use my vinyl screen printing methods to customize a t-shirt to include in each backpack. For the boy, I chose “Get Your Game On” basketball design from Cricut Design Space. For the girl, I chose “Shine.” I screen printed these designs on a Cricut blank t-shirt. After the ink dried, I heat set the shirts with my Easy Press 2 (320 degrees for 40 seconds).
The Blue Ribbon Project provides checklists for items needed for each age group:
I included several items from each of the checklists in each of the bags that I donated. I hope this post inspires you to give back in your own creative ways. If you are interested in supporting The Blue Ribbon Project, you can learn more on their website here.