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Welcome to this tutorial on how to make key fobs using screen printing. Key fobs wristlets are a fun and practical accessory that you can personalize with your own designs. In this tutorial, we will walk through the step-by-step process of personalizing and assembling key fobs using screen printing. So, let's get started!
Instructions for Making Key Fobs
To begin, gather the materials you will need. You will need:
- Screen printing frame (I like using a hinge frame for this project, continue reading to see why)
- Adhesive vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Heavy cotton webbing (1.5 inch width)
- Speedball Fabric ink
- Masking Tape
- Painter's Tape
- Heat press, iron or EasyPress Mini
- Keychain hardware
First, apply the adhesive vinyl to the back of the screen printing frame using transfer tape. The placement of the vinyl design does not matter for this project, so you can choose any spot on the frame. Once the vinyl is pressed onto the screen, peel off the transfer tape to reveal your design on the screen.
Next, cut the heavy cotton webbing to the desired length for your key fobs. The length will depend on the size of your design. My “maker” design is 5 inches wide. Double this number and add 2-3 inches. This will allow you to fold the webbing in half to create the key fob and leave extra length for the keychain hardware.
Using a Hinge Frame Setup
A hinge frame is very helpful for this project to ensure that you print the design in the correct spot on the webbing.
Before applying the painter's tape around your vinyl, place the webbing under the screen. Adjust it until the design is aligned. Be sure to leave at least 1 inch from the design to the end of your webbing.
Use masking tape to mark the spot where your webbing is aligned. Then, add painter's tape around the vinyl to catch any ink that goes beyond the vinyl during the printing process.
Now you are ready to apply the screen printing ink. Use a firm squeegee to press hard as you pull the squeegee over the screen, going over it about 4 times.
Lift the screen and take a look at the print!
Why is screen printing the best process for personalizing these key fobs?
Screen printing is a versatile and efficient method for applying ink to the fabric. Not only are the results professional-looking, screen printing results in durable and long-lasting personalization. Take a look at how the ink soaks into the webbing. If you were to use HTV on this webbing, it would not adhere to the webbing as seamlessly.
For more information about my screen printing process, check out this beginner's screen printing with vinyl page.
Another benefit of screen printing is that you can use the same setup to print multiple keychains efficiently. Simply repeat the process to print as many keychains as you need, using different vinyl designs or ink colors if desired.
How to Finish Your Key Fob
Once you are done printing, carefully peel off the vinyl from the screen and clean the screen in the sink. Properly maintaining your screen allows you to reuse the same frame for hundreds of projects.
After the screen printing ink is completely dry, use a heat press, iron, or easy press mini to cure the ink and make it permanent. This will ensure that the ink does not fade or come off when the key fob gets wet or washed. Be sure to read my article about 6 ways to heat set Speedball fabric ink.
Finally, assemble the key fobs by folding the webbing in half and trimming off any excess. Use pliers to close the clamp on the webbing, making sure to use a scrap piece of webbing to protect the metal piece from scratching. Add the keyring to the clamp, and your wristlet key fob is ready!
There you have it – a step-by-step guide on how to make key fobs using screen printing. With the right tools and materials, you can create personalized and durable key fobs that make great gifts or accessories for yourself. Have fun experimenting with different vinyl designs and ink colors to create unique key fobs that reflect your style and creativity. Happy crafting!