504 Main by Holly Lefevre: DIY! Adventures in Screen Printing
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DIY! Adventures in Screen Printing

I always am up for trying something new - the more crafty goodness the better for me! Screen printing has been high on my list of "must do's" for awhile. I remember doing it in high school, but well, that was (just) a few years ago! Ha! (please excuse the horrible photo quality...what was I thinking! Oh wait - I wasn't!)
screen print, #screenprint, #504main

One day while shopping at one of my very favorite stores - Aaron Brothers - for some other arty or crafty goodies I spied the Speedball Screen Printing Kit. I was so intrigued and the price was right - so much less $$$ than some of the other "machines" I have seen, and less intimidating looking! I did not snatch it up right away...I waited, somewhat patiently...and then the lovely people at Aaron Brother tweeted me a link to a 50% off coupon and I knew it had to be mine!...Finally!

I generally jump into new things, but took my time on this one and started with a small project first. I wanted to get the hang of it.

I read the directions - there are many different options for how to create the design and tips for printing on different surfaces with different inks. I started on paper...thinking it would be easier to work with at first - it moves less than fabric and would be "more stable."  I did a few quick prints, and then realized I only had fabric ink (duh!) because I have the Fabric Screen Printing Kit (I must sleep more!)...so I just jumped into what my real project was going to be.

The project I decided to start with was a simple flour sack towel (one of my favorite things) with a screen print on it. I ended up selecting a design that I printed out of my electronic craft cutter - a "Hello" in a stylized script.


  • Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit
  • Flour Sack Towel
  • Newspaper to protect surface
  • Water source for cleaning

#screen print

1. I cut the "hello" out on heavy craft paper. Then lifted the sheet of paper, not the "Hello" cut out, off the mat to use as my stencil.

2. To protect my work surface, I laid down some newspaper and a craft mat.

3. I established some guidelines for my screen using 3M Scotch Blue Tape, so that I would know where to set it down as I did my prints. I simply taped off the 2 side and bottom edges while it was flat on the table. I also made a small mark on the frame designate the center of the frame. 

4. Wash and dry the flour sack towels, then press them.

5. I also used the tape to establish guidelines for my towels as I laid them down on the table. I measured the towel, determined center and made tape lines on each side and center points. I am big on getting things straight/centered/in the right place.

Let's PRINT!
6. I needed to  make my stencil fill then entire screen - basically make it solid so that I was only printing that area I wanted. I used old cereal boxes and cut and taped them to the stencil (how professional, eh). Then the stencil filled the entire open space of the screen and ink would only go through where it was supposed to.

7. Layout the fabric/towel using the guidelines.

8. Place the stencil on the fabric/towel (facing up as you want it to be viewed), and then place the screen on top of the stencil (lipped edge up). Once you run the ink through the screen once, the stencil will "stick" to the screen.

9. Now, ink up! Place ink on screen - I made a thin line along the bottom edge of my stencil.

I spread this ink out to be more of a line across the bottom length of the stencil. 
(Seriously, why does red ink stain everything?)

10. Use the squeegee to run the ink over the stencil at about a 45 degree angle facing away from you. I ran the ink back over the stencil 2x. You can use a palette knife of the sticks that come with the kit to scrape the excess ink off the squeegee and reuse it for additional passes on the screen.

With my first pass, I did not use enough "pressure." Do not be afraid to really push down on that squeegee to spread the ink. I also missed a small part of my fancy cereal box fill in...I fixed that after too.

OOPS #1 - see I missed a spot on my design and then I picked up the screen "to see it" and, well, you see the result.

OOPS #2...better
With my second pass, I still did not use enough pressure, but was more secure in what I was doing.

11. By the third try, it was all GOOD! And I was doing a happy dance!

When I was done, I cleaned up with water and a small brush and it was pretty easy.

So I made 8 flour sacks towel that said "Hello" in black ink for my Favorite Things party we had on Sunday (oh that posts is coming later)...
everyone at the small party got a creation of mine!

All in all, The Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit was great...small learning curve, but pretty simple and there are You Tube videos to help you along! I have so many more projects I want to try...and maybe I will get crazy with some color!
Now, I want to try paper and so many more fabric projects! FUN!

Have you ever screen printed?

Check out my adventures at the DIY Screen Printing Workshop



  1. Holly, you did a great job! I remember doing this at school, would love to give it another go!

  2. so fun

    i too
    have been wanting to try my hand
    at a little screen printing
    but haven't been able to stomach
    the pricey kits i often see

    thanks for the info
    and the tips

    perhaps this one will be the kit for me!


  3. Holly,
    Great project! Look forward to seeing more in the future.

  4. Oh how fun! I'm going to have to check out the screen printing kit, I've been eyeing them but they are sooo pricey! I love your towels, super cute!

  5. I've never screen printed, but I've been dying to...I just don't think I'm patient enough. I adore your towels! And how awesome that you had to use only 2 practice ones before you they looked perfecT! And how about next time inviting me to that party??? I could use some of your favorite things...;)

  6. I have never screen printed, but I am so tempted now! The color is so rich, not like when you transfer the image. I usually use "Citra Solve", they sell that at Aaron brothers too. It is neat stuff, have you tried that one?

  7. Great job! Your towels are adorable!

    We screen print on a near daily basis (we have an etsy shop and we sell locally). I love it! Some day, you must try making your screens with photo emulsion. It's a little challenging at first, but so much fun! If you ever decide to try it, let me know and I'll give you the info. on the best products to use (some work better than others).

  8. This is so cute Holly!! I've wanted to try that too - it seems so fun! I love your towels and the kit looks really easy!!
    I think I'm going to add it to my Christmas list!! :)

  9. Looks like fun, Holly! It seems like there is definitely a learning curve for using DIY screen printers, but once you get the hang of it, look out world! :)

  10. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Holy cow this is great!

  11. Wow, looks so professional. Thank you for sharing. I've never done screen printing before. I am a bit hesitant to do anything with paints... But you are inspiring me... I might try one day too :-o))

  12. Anonymous12:37 PM

    Good job, those came out great!

    I agree with Willoughby, photo emulsion is the way to go...you will love it. My friend asked me to make some t-shirts for their side business and I had never done it before but after figuring it out, I was amazed at how professional-looking the shirts came out. I can't wait to screen print some more stuff.


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!

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