Screen Printing on Tote Bags While Avoiding Seams

May 4, 2020 | Cricut Projects, Gift Ideas, Project Ideas, Screen Printing, Screen Printing Press, Vinyl Projects

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What mom couldn't use another bag?  I'm a bag hoarder collector.  I've screen printed on a variety of tote bags – like mini tote bags and glow in the dark trick-or-treat bags.

I recently found these cute small tote bags on my favorite blanks website and knew they would be the perfect size for hauling around “mom stuff.”  These will be great for taking to the pool this summer or carrying my iPad and notebooks.

Before you dive into trying DIY screen printing on a tote bag like this one, I have a few tips to help you execute it perfectly.

screen printing vinyl tote bag uneven surface

Supplies You Will Need for Screen Printing with Vinyl

how to screen print tote bag trick

Screen Printing with Vinyl

If you've been following along, you know that screen printing with vinyl is my go-to method for personalizing shirts, bags and so much more. If you are new to screen printing, this is a great place for beginners to start.

If you are just getting started screen printing, I recommend the 9″ Speedball squeegee.  It's a great size paired with the 10×14 Screen Printing Frame.  However, you may occasionally run into a project where you need to use a different size squeegee.

Trick for Screen Printing on Tote Bags and Items with Uneven Surfaces

Choosing the right size squeegee for your project is key!  In order to avoid the seams on this smaller tote bag, I found that a 6″ squeegee was a much better fit for this project.  If you watch the video below, you can see as I explain why this is a better size.

diy screen printing project gift idea

Process Video Explaining How to Avoid Seams when Screen Printing

A Few More Helpful Tips

  • You may notice in the video that I have a piece of masking tape marking the top of my bag.  After carefully lining up the first bag (before adding ink to the screen), I marked the top line of the bag.  This made it easier to align the remaining bags.
  • Picking the right type of bag is important to avoid bleeding.  I've found that some canvas materials with a lot of texture tend to cause the ink to bleed outside the design.  This cotton canvas bag that I used was a great surface for screen printing.  I didn't have any bleeding issues. My larger go-to tote bag is this BAGedge Canvas Tote.  For more of my favorite blank, check out my list of favorite blanks for screen printing.
  • Scoop up the remaining ink after you are all done and put it back in your jar.  This will help your ink go so much further!


  1. Thank you so much for all of your helpful posts and tutorials! I just started screen printing within the past week and your posts have been such a HUGE help in showing me how to get started and what/how do it! I purchased an e book from someone for almost $30 the day before I found your blog and YouTube channel, and I was definitely disappointed with what I purchased, especially after finding you and learning so much more from you! I keep coming back over and over to continue learning and love seeing all of your new ideas and tips that you share! Super appreciate you 🙂

    • Yay! I’m so glad you are getting into screen printing. As you can tell, I’m crazy about screen printing everything 🙂 It’s great to connect with you. Feel free to reach out anytime you have questions.

  2. I love your tutorials and screen printing manuals! They make what seems like a difficult craft very easy. Thank you!

  3. I’m new to screen printing and recently have been trying to screen print on thicker canvas tote bags. Is it normal to not get smooth lines because of the material?

    • Yes, that can definitely happen with more textured canvas materials. This is one of my favorite tote bags for screen printing: It has less texture so you’ll get a smooth print


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I’m Jennifer, your go-to for all things vinyl screen printing. I offer both in-person and online classes to help you craft better quality shirts. This blog is full of screen printing inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn all about screen printing with vinyl!

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