How to Do Screen Printing at Home

Written by miranda sinclair
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How to Do Screen Printing at Home
You can add simple designs to clothing with screen-printing. (evil pumpkin image by Allyson Ricketts from

Screen-printing is a method for printing pictures and patterns on fabric. It originated in the art of Japanese stencilling, but was likely used first in its current form by Samuel Simon in England who began using silk stretched over frames. Although it is often used for mass-produced T-shirts, you can adapt this printing method to screen print shirts at home. You can use screen-printing to decorate T-shirts, cloth bags, dresses, wall hangings and any other cloth items. Screen-printing is also a great activity to do with children.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Mesh fabric
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Pencil
  • Brush
  • Water resistant glue
  • T-shirt or other fabric item
  • Fabric paint

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  1. 1

    Stretch the mesh fabric over an embroidery hoop and fasten it in place so that it will not move around.

  2. 2

    Draw the design you wish to print on a piece of paper or print a design from your computer.

  3. 3

    Trace the design onto the mesh of your screen with a pencil.

  4. 4

    Use the brush to spread the water-resistant glue over the areas of your design that you do not want coloured with ink. The colour of the cloth you are printing on will show through on this area.

  5. 5

    Set the screen aside to dry, and wash the brush.

  6. 6

    Place the screen on the T-shirt or other cloth item.

  7. 7

    Paint over the entire design with fabric paint.

  8. 8

    Remove the screen and allow the design to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Some fabric paint requires you to iron for the design to set. Be sure to follow the directions on the fabric paint that you choose to use. You may cut old nylons to use as the mesh for your screen.

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