How to remove silk screen-printed letters

Written by carole ellis
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Silk-screening clothing is a great way to express yourself and customise your clothing. One of the most popular ways to customise clothing is to apply silk screen letters that have a clever saying or your last name or nickname to the back of your shirt. However, sometimes these craft projects just do not work out, and you may want to get those silk screen-printed letters off your shirt fast before the clothing item is ruined.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Paper bag
  • Iron
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Clean rag

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  1. 1

    Wash the silk-screened item in cold water. This can prevent the silk screen-printed letters from setting onto the material, and make them peel up so that they can be easily torn off and removed. As soon as you have washed the piece of clothing, peel off as much of the letter design as possible.

  2. 2

    Dry the clothing on high in the dryer. Many times if the letters have been prevented from setting, they will simply melt right off. As soon as the dryer is done, you can pull more of the pattern off or you may find that the design has simply melted away.

  3. 3

    Treat any remnants of the silk screen-printed letters with nail polish. Acetone dissolves silk screen ink, but it should be a last resort because it can discolour some fabric dyes. You can blot the letters with a cotton ball soaked with the nail polish remover, then use your fingernails to peel the letters off. If this does not work after you have applied the polish remover, scrub at the design with the clean rag to make the letters come off.

  4. 4

    Wash the shirt a final time. This will help loosen the letters further and remove any last remaining ink spots and pieces of letters.

Tips and warnings

  • The second that you realise you do not like your design, you need to act to remove the letters. The longer that you wait remove the silk screen-printed letters, the harder it will be to get them off the fabric.

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