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I've found myself wearing hats more often during this quarantine. I decided to get creative with my favorite trucker hat style and make my own patches with vinyl screen printing.
If you are new to screen printing, you might find my favorite trucker hat ebook. These patches are a great project for beginners to get the feel for the process.
Supplies Needed for Screen Printing with Vinyl
- Speedball 10×14 Screen Printing Frame
- Speedball Fabric Ink, I used the Black Opaque color
- Oracal 651 Vinyl – any color
- Painter’s Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2 or any vinyl cutter
- Blank Hats – any style
- Easy Press 2 or Heat Press
- Liquid Stitch
- Fabric, I used duck canvas fabric
- Heat Gun (optional)
Screen Printing with Vinyl to Make Custom Patches
The first step to creating your patches is choosing the right type of fabric. This process can be done with a wide variety of fabrics, so choose one that you like the best.
I used a duct canvas fabric. I wanted the edges to fray and this fabric worked perfectly for that.
As with all of my screen printing projects, I start by cutting my design on my Cricut Maker. I apply the adhesive vinyl on my Speedball frame using transfer tape.
After the screen is prepared (more detailed step-by-step instructions), I squeegee the ink over the design and onto the fabric. Repeat this process until you have enough prints for all of the patches you want to make.
This is a great project for new screen printers, because you can practice your prints on a piece of fabric. Just save and use the best ones! If you mess up on a few, it is not a big loss.
Heat Setting Your Fabric Ink
Once you have screen printed enough prints to make all of your patches, it's time to let them air dry. You can use a heat gun to speed up the drying process, but you want to be sure the ink is completely dry before moving on to the next step.
You can heat set Speedball fabric ink in a variety of ways. I like using my Easy Press 2 or Heat Press. Both work equally as well.
Heat each of your designs at 320 degrees for 40 seconds. This will make your ink permanent on the patch.
No-Sew Method to Attach Your Patch
After your patch has dried and you've heat set the ink, it's time to apply the patch to your hat.
There are a variety of solutions available for attaching fabric. I found Liquid Stitch to work really well. It worked just like glue.
Squirt a bead of the Liquid Stitch along the edge and spread through the middle of the patch.
Press the patch in place on the hat. It's just that easy!
These custom patches can be attached to your favorite trucker hat or this trucker hat style.
If you are an Etsy seller or looking to start a small business making crafts, this would be a great item to offer. You can print the patches in bulk with just one small piece of vinyl. Then, attach them to blank hats as you receive orders!
For more project ideas, tips and tricks on screen printing, be sure to sign up for my email list.
Here's a quick rundown of the entire process.
Where can I purchase the fabric?
I found mine at the craft store. I think it’s a pretty common type of fabric if you check in your local craft store.
These look great! Did the material continue to fray once it was on the hat?
How big did you make the patch?
I made them 4″ wide by 2.5″ tall.
Nope, I put the fabric glue along the edges to secure it to the hat and keep it from fraying any more.
What brand of hats are you using? I’ve been looking for a specific hat and can’t figure out where it came from.