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Are you planning a pool party or trip to the beach? With DIY screen printing, you can personalize beach balls for the perfect summer party favor!
You can grab beach balls for $1 and add a custom touch. You just need a vinyl cutter, like a Cricut or Silhouette, to turn an inexpensive beach ball into a personalized item!
Using your Cricut or Silhouette, cut any design you’d like to print on your beach balls. Then using my vinyl screen printing method, squeegee the ink over your design.
Supplies Used for Screen Printing on Beach Balls
- Screen Printing Hinge Frame
- Graphic Squeegee
- Acrylic Screen Printing Ink (I used peacock blue)
- Oracal 651 Vinyl
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut Mat
- My Favorite Transfer Tape
- Painter’s Tape
Screen Printing with Vinyl
If you are new to screen printing with vinyl, I recommend starting with a t-shirt. Here’s all my great beginner screen printing info. Fabric absorbs the ink and is a little more forgiving as you learn how much ink to squeegee over your screen.
Once you’ve mastered fabric ink, there are so many things you can screen print using acrylic ink.
How to Screen Print with Your Cricut or Silhouette Machine
To screen print with vinyl, the process starts in Design Space (or whatever program you use to cut vinyl). Setup your design and size it to fit the beach ball. My design was 4×6.
Cut your vinyl using the mirror setting. This allows you to place the adhesive vinyl on the back of your screen printing frame. I find this to work better rather than putting it on the top of the screen.
The rest of the process is just like screen printing t-shirts. Squeegee the ink over the design and lift to reveal your printed beach ball!
Tips and Tricks for Screen Printing on a Beach Ball
How much ink should I use?
With surfaces like this beach ball, you don’t want too much ink. I used one thin coat of ink, going over only once with the squeegee.
If you go over the design too many times or press too much ink through the screen, it will bleed under the vinyl.
What type of ink works best on beach balls?
I used Acrylic Screen Printing Ink. Because the surface can’t withstand heat, you don’t want to use fabric ink.
Does the design stay on when the ball gets wet?
Yes and no. Once the ink air dries, it is permanent on the beach ball. We played with them at the beach and the design didn’t come off.
If it gets wet, it doesn’t immediately come off on your hands.
If you allow the inked design to sit in water for a while then rub the design, it will start to come off. I tried to get the ink off after it was dry and it took a lot of soaking and scrubbing to get it to come off.
My review: I would definitely make these for party favors. They held up great for normal play on the beach and at the pool. I would just take them out of the water and air dry if they get wet.
Help, my ink is bleeding and I’m not getting a good print
If it bleeds under your vinyl, just wipe the ink off your beach ball and the back of your screen. Then, try again!
I found that the trick to avoid bleeding on these was to make sure the beach ball surface was completely flat. If there’s a wrinkle or seam in the way, the ink will bleed.
I also find that using a Graphic Squeegee helps with getting just a thin coat of ink.