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These Texas summers sure are hot, but we still like our drinks cold. That’s why koozies (can coolers) are such a popular wedding or party favor around here.
Using your Cricut or Silhouette vinyl cutter is great for personalizing your own set of koozies for your next event but cutting and weeding all of those small designs isn’t very much fun.
With screen printing, you cut and weed your own design one time and reuse it to print all of your koozies.
Here’s a look at how easy it is to personalize your own koozies with my special screen printing with vinyl method.
Supplies needed for screen printing koozies
- Speedball hinge frame or screen printing press with koozie platen
- Screen Printing Ink (I used Comet White)
- Graphic squeegee
- Oracal 651 vinyl or Siser Easy Weed HTV
- Transfer tape
- Painter’s tape
- Blank koozies
- Heat press or Easy Press
I have been personalizing koozies with screen printing for years. When I first started, I had a very basic screen printing setup. A hinge screen printing frame is perfect for this type of project because with a hinge setup, you can mark the placement of your koozie under the screen. This will make lining up the screen and koozie accurate every time.
This platen will hold the koozie in place allowing you to lift the screen and lower it back in the same spot. This is helpful when you are using white ink and want to print-flash-print. The platen is also ideal for accurately printing multiple colors on your 4 color press.
Size and cut your vinyl design
A Blank koozies will have a 3.5″x3.5″ printable area on each side. Be sure to measure your koozie and make any adjustments to the size of your design if needed.
I typically use Oracal 651 vinyl for my screen printing projects. However, on this project, I used Siser EasyWeed HTV on my screen. This is a little trick I like to use when I am printing the same design multiple times.
Heat pressing HTV on the screen creates a permanent stencil. HTV is a great choice if you plan to reuse the same design again at a future date or if you have very small details. HTV is a little easier to weed when it comes to tiny pieces of vinyl and those small pieces stay in place on the screen better. I love Oracal 651, but HTV really is the better choice for this type of project.
Placing the design on your screen
It’s important that you accurately place your vinyl design on the screen so it will line up with the koozie platen. Most people stick the vinyl to the screen and hope it is in the right place. With the koozie platen, you need to make sure the vinyl is placed accurately so it will line up with the platen.
For more instructions on my technique for lining up vinyl for a screen printing press, watch the video lessons in my Screen Printing with a Press online course.
Let the screen printing begin
Now that you are all setup, it’s time to add some ink to the screen and begin the printing. The beauty of using a screen printing press is that the process is easy from here. Load your koozie on the platen, lower your screen and squeegee the ink over your design. Carefully pull the koozie off the platen and repeat the process to print all of your koozies.
Curing screen printing ink on koozies
Screen printing with fabric ink requires a curing process to make the ink permanent. Even though you may not be washing your koozie, there’s a good chance the condensation from your drink or the accidental drop in the pool could cause your ink to get wet and fade. Curing your ink first prevents it from fading when it gets wet.
The first step in the curing process is to allow the ink to dry completely. This takes 2-3 days air drying in a well ventilated area. You can speed up this process using a heat gun – just be careful not to burn the koozie material.
Once the ink is completely dry, you need to heat press your koozies just like you would t-shirts. I heat press at 320 degrees for 40 seconds. With a heat press or Easy Press, you can line up multiple koozies under your press to speed up the process.
After you’ve done the heat pressing, the ink is cured and that koozie is ready for a cold one.
How easy was that? Using these simple steps, you’ve made your very own, one-of-a-kind koozie for your next event or special occasion.