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Have you tried screen printing with more than one color? The challenge in screen printing more than one color is lining up your screens so the colors print accurately on your shirt.
You may have seen my technique for this process using registration boxes in this tutorial: How to Screen Print Multiple Colors Using Vinyl Stencils. I also share the step-by-step process for screen printing multi-color designs in my ebook, “A Complete Guide to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl.”
Today, I want to share a little trick that works with some designs that can save you the step of printing the registration boxes. The process starts in Design Space (or whatever design program you use). In the tutorial video below, I explain the entire Design Space process.
Supplies You Will Need for Screen Printing with Vinyl
- Screen Printing Frame
- Fabric Screen Printing Ink (I used blue and green)
- Oracal 651 Vinyl
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut Mat (I used the 12×24 for this project)
- My Favorite Transfer Tape
- Painter’s Tape
- Heat Gun or Flash Dryer (optional)
- Blank T-shirts
Why Screen Printing Rather than HTV?
When you get into making multi-color designs, screen printing is definitely harder when it comes to lining up your layers. With iron-on vinyl (HTV), you can see through the plastic carrier sheet, making it easy to layer your design. With screen printing, you can't see through the screen to make sure your design is lined up properly.
Even though the process is a little tricker with screen printing, it's still my choice over HTV. Why? The finished product looks and feels SOOOO much better with screen printing. Screen printing ink soaks into the shirt, leaving a nice soft feel.
Plus, when heat set properly, the ink is permanent and will hold up wash after wash. If you are selling your shirts, there is no worry that the vinyl may peel up or special care instructions that you need to give. Screen printed shirts can be washed and dried with your normal laundry!
Dot Trick for Aligning Screen on Shirt
One the tricks you will see me use in this Design Space tutorial is what I call my dot trick. This trick will help you better align your screen on your shirt when screen printing. It takes the guess work out of where to place the screen on the shirt and helps you center the design with the middle of the shirt.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Lining Up the Layers
Here are the step-by-step instructions. Watching and listening to my tutorial video below will help these make more sense!
- Setup your design in Design Space. There are so many great designs to choose from in Cricut Access. I highly recommend a subscription if you don't already have one! Sign Up Here for Cricut Access
- Add the dot and weeding box (Learn more about how the dot trick helps you line up the screen on the shirt.)
- Duplicate the entire design box. One of the designs will be used for the blue ink and the other will be used for the green ink.
- On the green design, remove/hide the blue pieces.
- On the blue design, hide all of the green pieces EXCEPT, you are going to keep at least 2 pieces from the green design. This will make more sense when you watch the video below.
- Attach your layers and cut the design on Oracal 651 Vinyl. Don't forget to mirror the design when you cut.
- Transfer the design to your Screen Printing Frame using my Favorite Transfer Tape.
- Screen print the green layer on each of your shirts.
- Allow the shirts to dry for a few hours. You can speed up this process by using a Heat Gun or Flash Dryer.
- Using the blue design, align on top of the green ink, using the 2 hearts you created in step 5.
- Screen print the blue ink.
- Allow your shirts to dry completely 2-5 days (or speed up this process by using a Heat Gun or Flash Dryer)
- Heat press your shirts for 40 seconds at 320 degrees.