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★ How To Screen Print At Home | T-Shirts & Fabric Printing Techniques | Craft Tutorials

Learn to Stencil & Print on Fabric

If you've always wanted to learn how to print your own t-shirts, fabric, wrapping paper, greetings cards etc at home, then you've come to the right place!

I've listed tutorials and projects for each printing technique including screen printing, block printing and lino printing, most of which can be carried out by a complete beginner. The different styles of printing have different start-up costs, but the following tips show you some shortcuts and cheaper ways of doing things too.

I hope this page inspires you to give this fab and versatile craft a go!

Screen Printing

Top Rated Printing Books

The following 5 books have been picked out due to their high ratings, printing inspiration and excellent advice for beginners to this art form.

Art Prints

Types of Printing Techniques

The following are all types of printing which can be used to transfer designs to fabric (and sometimes other surfaces) at home:

- Stencilling: Stencils are usually made from paper, card or plastic, and the design you want to print is cut out of the sheet by hand. The stencil is placed on top of the item to be printed, paint is then brushed, stippled or sprayed on top, then the stencil is removed. Stencilling is usually only used for a one-off, or a small batch of prints. It is very cheap to do, but there are pattern and design limitations, and it's not efficient for creating a large number of prints. Stencilling has a variety of uses - not just printing fabric but also in wall and furniture decoration.

- Screenprinting: This is essentially stencilling but it uses a screen and is a more professional method. It can be used to print repeatedly, plus there aren't really any design limitations and it's easier to add multiple layers of colour. The design is transferred to the screen, the screen is placed over the material to be printed, and then ink is wiped across the screen to print.

- Lino printing: A design is carved out of linoleum using special cutters, ink/paint is added to the surface, and then the lino is pressed down evenly onto the surface to be printed. Often used for transferring designs to paper or card.

- Block printing: This is where the design is raised up from the main block of solid material such as plastic or wood. The design can made in a cheap material like cork or foam, it can be carved out of material like wood, or it can be made by experts in metal or rubber. The block is dipped in ink/paint or the ink/paint is brushed onto the raised design, and the block is pressed evenly onto the surface to be printed. Or vice versa, with the material to be printed being lowered onto the block. Good for repeating patterns.

- Letterpress: Click here for an article all about Letterpress.

- Stamping: Rubber stamps, foam stamps or stamps made from potatoes or other fruit can be used with fabric paint to print on material.

- Transfers: Designs can be bought ready-made or can be created from scratch using plain iron-on transfer paper. The images are set in place on the fabric with an iron.

- Printing on fabric using a printer: Click here and here for more information and help.

Click here for a brilliant comparison of all fabric decorating techniques.

Difference between screen printing inks and fabric paint:

You can use screen printing inks for other printing methods, not just for screen printing, or you can use the other option of paint (fabric paint for fabric, or acrylic paint for other materials usually). Ink delivers the more consistent, professional finish, and it is heat cured after printing which makes it more durable.

Fabric paint is fine for someone who does printing for a hobby, or prints the occasional one-off shirt for instance. It dries in the air, but is less durable than ink - But it is cheaper.

Fantastic Video Showing DIY Screen Printing - The Process of Printing a Poster

I love this video...it really shows the stages of screenprinting clearly, and the tri-color posters at the end look amazing.

Screenprinting Tutorials

You may notice from the tutorials below that screenprinting methods do vary slightly, with some people using a light-sensitive emulsion to transfer their design to the screen, and some using a stencil, often made of contact paper. With the emulsion method you will require a couple of extra items and more time, however it is the method that produces the most professional results.

Print Your Own Bags

Metal Printing Blocks

More Screen Printing How-Tos

DIY Screenprinting Table

This homemade screenprinter was made using wood and a vacuum cleaner to create the suction.

This homemade screenprinter was made using wood and a vacuum cleaner to create the suction.

Potato Printing

Potato & Letterpress Print Projects

T-Shirt Printing

Stenciling Instructions & Templates

Printed Greetings Cards

Hand Printed Notebooks

Hand silkscreen printed notebooks.

Hand silkscreen printed notebooks.

More Stenciling How-Tos

Giant Wood Block Print

Block Printing, Stamping & Transfer How-Tos

Wood Block Making

Lino Carving & Printing

Linoleum Carving

More Lino Printing Tutorials

Lino Cutting To Printing

Other Printing Methods & DIYs

Printing Videos - Helpful How-Tos & Demonstrations

Potato Print Press

I love that these potatoes have been cut to replicate vintage wooden letter blocks - what a fab idea, and cheap!

I love that these potatoes have been cut to replicate vintage wooden letter blocks - what a fab idea, and cheap!

Further Project Ideas & Creative Ways To Print

Printing Plushies

These cute plushies have been hand screenprinted with brown and white ink on felt.

These cute plushies have been hand screenprinted with brown and white ink on felt.

Please Leave a Comment!

harrybigg on January 14, 2014:

Great lens! That potato idea is awesome. Might try that with my kids at some point! :) Screen printing has always held a special place in my heart.

mcstacy on June 10, 2013:

Many years ago, I was interest in screenprintng. You gave some very good information.

Julia1000 on October 11, 2012:

Wow who knew you could achieve these results at home.

anonymous on October 09, 2012:

Amazing lens. Best one I've ever seen.Thanks for your hard work in gathering this information in one place. Keep up the good work!

efcruzarts on August 12, 2012:

very teaching lens about commercial art like silkscreen

fathomblueEG on July 31, 2012:

You are an inspiration for sure:-)

CanvasArtPrint LM on June 13, 2012:

Some awesome prints here, your lens is an inspiration to me!

UKGhostwriter on May 26, 2012:

Fantastic lens ..pinned too!

garmentprintinguk on May 02, 2012:

Great Lens! Well done!

Deadicated LM on March 22, 2012:

Great Lens, very informative. Ink runs through my veins!

Sher Ritchie on March 13, 2012:

This is an AMAZING lens - wow! I love all the resources, and links, and the photographs show what is possible. I've featured your lens on mine (http://www.squidoo.com/william-blake-a-social-even... as part of helping keep the printing tradition alive.

poofpatch on February 21, 2012:

Great site :)

ottoblotto on February 11, 2012:

Well done!

jimmyworldstar on February 02, 2012:

Prints are great, I knew some friends in college who created art with prints and some even make custom shirts.

jimmyworldstar on February 02, 2012:

Prints are great, I knew some friends in college who created art with prints and some even make custom shirts.

Ronald Tucker from Louisville, Kentucky on January 29, 2012:

Potato Printing is so eco-friendly and fuctional, thanks for adding the photos and videos.

jadehorseshoe on December 26, 2011:

Very Useful Lens.

anonymous on December 17, 2011:

Wow. This is a wonderful lens. I'm a printmaker, a visual artist of all sorts. Your presentation and instructions are much better than my lens, but, I'm a new squidooer and I'm going in a different direction with my pages. Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing.

Tonie Cook from USA on September 09, 2011:

This is an excellent place for silkscreen and simple print information. Wonderfully resourceful lens.

Geeve on August 15, 2011:

A nice resource. Given another blessing by a passing Angel :)

catherinross on August 11, 2011:

i just love the craft ideas, and there is like lot of old fabric cloths at home just looking around for some nice crafty ideas to re use those stuff which is lying around. i am just waiting to explore all the stuff and redesign my home and also would like to publish all this stuff on my personal blog.

dahlia369 on August 10, 2011:

Fun lens and great resource. Blessed! :)

Shanir LM on July 06, 2011:

I have wanted to try this for the longest time! great lens :)

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on July 04, 2011:

amazing. wonderful screen printing lens. ~blessed~

digtimepools on June 20, 2011:

wow, love your squidoos. so helpful, and fun

I-sparkle on May 20, 2011:

Fabulous lens. My husband and I have been talking about doing this for 5 years! I can't wait to show him this page. It might just be the motivation that he needs!

DrinkWorkshop on April 11, 2011:

Really helpful lens, thank you! I've never tried printing anything on anything before, so we'll see how it goes.

editionh on February 21, 2011:

Thanks for putting up this great resource!

homphreybugart on February 15, 2011:

great lens, I think I might try some potato printing this evening !

JeffreyTymczak LM on January 04, 2011:

Great Job!!!


Lee Hansen from Vermont on December 31, 2010:

I've wanted to play with screen print techniques for years. The simple methods here (frugal, too) are great and so easy to do. I can try these with my grand daughter this summer!

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