DIY Screen Printing Ink

Written by nicole carlin
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DIY Screen Printing Ink
Create your own screen printing ink. (block printing ink smeers image by pdtnc from

Screen printing can be a rewarding and fun, but expensive, hobby. Learning how to screen print opens up a world of customising your own clothes, bags and posters. If you are an artist, you can screen print your designs and sell the prints yourself. Screen printing doesn't have to be costly if you experiment with mixing your own screen printing inks.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Acrylic paint (in any colours)
  • Non-water-soluble glue
  • Bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Glass jars
  • Screen printing screen
  • Fabric (cotton or canvas)
  • Squeegee
  • Hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Mix ½ cup of acrylic paint (which can be found easily and cheaply at most arts and craft supply stores) and ½ cup of glue (the glue must be non-water-soluble) in a mixing bowl. Experiment in other batches by adding two or more colours to the mixture to create customised colours.

  2. 2

    Decant the mixture to a glass jar and label the mixture. On the label include what colours you have mixed, the measurements of the mixture and what brand of acrylic paint you used. This will come in handy when you run out of the ink and want to remember how you created the customised colour.

  3. 3

    Place a screen printing screen over your test fabric and add the ink mixture to the top of the screen. Using a squeegee, pull the ink down toward the bottom of the screen. Repeat the process a few times to coat the screen with ink.

  4. 4

    Wash the ink off the screen immediately, because non water-soluble glue cannot be cleaned once it dries.

  5. 5

    Using a hairdryer, blow dry the ink on the test fabric.

  6. 6

    Wash the fabric in the washing machine to test whether the colour fades and whether the ink stays put. If you are unhappy with the results, experiment with a new batch of homemade ink, adding either more paint or glue for a more vibrant colour or a more permanent hold.

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