Instructables

One time use screen printing. (Ghetto screen printing)

This is a guide for people who wish to make professional looking screen printed items without shelling out the cash for a bunch of screens. It gets expensive, and I'm hoping that there are other creative dorks out there that are just as "thrifty as I am. By thrifty, I mean awesome, and by awesome, I mean cheap.
 
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Step 1: Gather your materials.

You're going to need...

1. A blank screen. You can either make your own out of an old picture frame and some fabric from a fabric store, or just buy a blank one at an art store. I'd tell you how to make one, but this is about the printing itself.

2. A picture of something you'd like on a shirt. The easier to trace and cut out, the less hassle you've got to go through when you place it on the shirt, or, you could just draw it directly onto the contact paper.

3. An x-acto knife, or any other hobby type of knife.

4. A sharpie marker, to trace your picture or to draw on the contact paper.

5. A roll of contact paper. This is what you'll be tracing or drawing said picture on to.

6. A screen printing ink of your choice. Also, if you'd like, you can use those weird tulip slick paints. Not the glitter kind, those will screw your screen up.

7. An ink squeegee.

8. I also get a sheet of news paper to put between the shirt layers.

9. A shirt or whatever else you'd like to print on. I've done shoes, handbags, hats, and other stuff. For those non-shirt items, that's where the paintbrush comes into play. It's awfully hard to use a big screen on weird shaped objects.
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ahebert1111 months ago
cool idea. I hate not sleeping. aaaarrrggghhh
hi! i just wanted to let you know that because i like this instructable so much, i have added it to my silkscreen guide... http://www.instructables.com/id/silkscreen-printing-easy-and-cheap/

t
hanks for sharing your ideas!
nrrrdmom4 years ago

What kind of fabric are you using? I tried using organza and my contact paper wouldn't stick to it...

I LOVE "By frugal, I mean awesome, and by awesome, I mean cheap." :)
 
bergiemoore5 years ago
I wonder if you stuck your contact paper to a screen or sheer fabric, and then duct taped it to a frame, if you couldn't get several inks from it? I like your contact paper idea because it's cheaper and more accessible to me then buying a heat gun and begging for sign vinyl.
The screen cloth HAS to be strecthed tightly on the frame to prevent "creeping" [shift of the "open" / printing area] of the stencil pattern while pulling the squeegee [to press the ink through the screen].

You will have great difficulty preventing "wrinkles" in the screen cloth in attempting to apply your stencil to loose screen material.  Also...

IF you ty to tightly enough stretch the screen [with the already applied stencil] to apply it to a frame, then more than likely there will be lots of cracking and/or tearing of your stencil which will result in ink getting through the cracxks and ruining your printed image.

Therefore, the screen should be applied/stretched to a frame BEFORE application of a stecil, ensuring the best chance of a quality print representing the master you used to make the stencil.
kadnk686 years ago
So is this like stenciling? Can you just put the contact paper on the screen? Like the idea. I was looking for a cheap and easy way to do this. thanks for the Instructable!
gregdoom (author)  kadnk686 years ago
Yeah, sort of like a stencil, but you can't really stick the contact paper to the screen though because the contact paper isn't strong enough to hold up against the pressure from the ink squeegee, and it would rip. So, if you stick it to your shirt, it prevents movement while you squeegee the ink, and you can also pull off the screen to see where you might need to go over again, and you won't have to worry about getting it lined up perfectly, because the contact paper never moves. I hope that helps!

UNLESS the "shirt," or other item to be printed is strecthed VERY TIGHT BEFORE attaching the stencil, then the whole thing will stretch and move during squeegee application of the ink.  IF THAT happens, then the printed image will be deformed, ruining the print.

Also, by putting the stencil ON TOP of either the shirt OR the screen will expose it to direct contact of the squeegee, which will "hang" on the tiny corners or edges of the stencil, resulting in "peeling-up" of the delicate corners, points, or edges, also ruining the printed image.

Always, the stencil MUST be beneath [on the underside] the screen cloth which "protects" the stencil from the ravages of wear from the squeegee.  If the stencil is below, then the squeegee CANNOT "catch" a corner, or an edge, of the stencil.

I have to tell you that I have been using the process of contact paper stuck to the BOTTOM of the screen for years as have hundreds or thousands of silk screen artists. The squeegee never touches it. You can print tons of shirts and afterward peel off the contact paper and wash it and use it again - it doesn't have to be sticky because as soon as you run paint across it again it it sticks to the screen just like newsprint does when you use that the same way - I too think you should re - do your instructable to reflect this. Besides that you would love the technique as you can spend much more time on cutting because you know you are not using it only one time. Great job.
How 'bout if you stuck the contact paper to the bottom side of the screen?
progman324 years ago
striiiiideeerrrrrrr!
lol. Nice instructable.
I was thinking about trying this(1st timer). what's the best type of ink to use? Is there anything that would give it a shiny vinyl look?
Maureclaire5 years ago
What is the advantage to screenprinting rather than just stenciling ? Just wondering, since, its more work, assumed there must be one I just don't know about ! LOL
Screenprinting, also known as silkprinting, lasts longer and looks better. Stenciling, people usually use spray paint that's a big NO-NO. Just do this if you're planning to make a lot, you'll get your money's worth. Also, if you sell them, you can get more stuff, to sell more shirts.
slimguy3796 years ago
"bling bling" what is that on the teeth... is it stitched in? please elaborate as I would love to do something kind of like this!!
It says glued on.
abadfart6 years ago
the misfits don't need bling bling they r already sweet
gellerja766 years ago
Try applyling the contact paper directly to the screen(just remember to flip your image). This way you can do many prints of the same design. When you're done peel off the contact paper and wash your screen. Make sure you clean it right away and you should be able to use the same screen many times.
If you draw your design on the backing of the contact paper before you cut it out, you don't need to reverse your image. But this is exactly what I thought this instructable would be. The writer should amend it to imply the same. Also, instead of contact paper, vinyl stickers work too.
for his use freezer peper would be best, just iron it on
Pumpkin$6 years ago
sweet pic dude! and do u play half life 2?
summit6 years ago
This is cool! Is screen printing ink expensive? I basically have $15 to do all of this.
gregdoom (author)  summit6 years ago
actually, if you wanted to skimp on spending money for screen printing ink, you can do the same process, but instead of using ink, you can use tulip slick paints in any color. Don't use the glittery kind though. The glitter doesn't go through the screen and makes a mess. haha
but screenprinting ink gives a little better result, less likely to peel. Good instructable, by the way, I like to see art on shirts, it's like your art gallery got up and fled its captivity. Art in the wild is awesome.
gregdoom (author)  Full Frontal Graphic6 years ago
Actually, I've had some tulip paints that have held on for years and the screenprinting inks fade, but I guess it's just all relative to how you wash the shirt and what all you do in it. But thanks for the awesome comments!
Yes I think you are right. When painting with screenprinting ink, I blot the excess (the part that isn't worked right down into the fibers) from the shirt. Whenever I have used Tulip paints -- or seen them used -- the paint has been left in a bead on the surface, and maybe didn't get a chance to penetrate as much. So I think the process used is as relevant as the type of paint, all else being equal. I have a shirt I painted in 1980, that has holes that stop where the paint starts, in other words, the paint apparently increased the durability of the fabric. This was using Deka screenprinting ink which was thinned down, essentially the same as an acrylic heatset fabric paint. I haven't been able to buy Deka in the USA for several years. Really like the skull shirt.
gregdoom (author)  Full Frontal Graphic6 years ago
I just screen the tulip paints like normal ink, then immediately wash it out, because it seems to dry a lot quicker than regular screen printing ink. Plus, you don't have to heat set it or anything. Another thing, it's way cheaper. haha
Immediately wash it out -- out of the screen? I can see how screening it on would leave less paint 'above' the surface of the shirt and force it 'into' the fabric. How is the texture of the result, is it soft like unpainted fabric (the Deka paint was, the way I used it -- blotting the excess) or does it leave a stiff feel ?
summit gregdoom6 years ago
Cool, thanks.
I'D LIKE TO SEE SOME COMMUNITY CONSENSUS:
on links to one's personal commercial website. I think it violates the BE NICE policy, meaning I feel it is "not nice" to horn in on someone's instructable with a comment like "Me too, and I have them for sale here: http://www.stickjuggler.com"

It looks like the creature from War of the Worlds to me. Very cool. I did the photo-emulsion and make screens from picture frames instructable and I have been wanting to make a stencil one for a long time. I'm glad someone else did it. I don't use contact paper, but instead just photo transparency paper to make the stencil. You lay the stencil on the fabric, lay the screen on the stencil, and squeegie. When you lift the screen, the stencil sticks to it and you can do more prints with the same image. Take the stencil off and you can wash it to reuse another day. Nice job, nice designs, and don't feed the trolls.
mazookar6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Reminds me of canti. I approve.
gregdoom (author)  mazookar6 years ago
I don't care if you like it or not. It's not like I made it for the approval of some douche bag instructables spammer. Learn some English and keep your crap off my page.
tyser6 years ago
in accordance with the "be nice" policy, i feel i must inform those making negative remarks regarding language please see the title of this instructable: this is some straight ghetto shit. maybe you just aren't enough ghetto for this off the chain screen printing, son.
Lftndbt6 years ago
Nice work! Perhaps the removal of the swearing would be a good idea, I thought you were about 12 until I got to your pic.
maruawe6 years ago
your verbage could be better but the idea is good
uguy maruawe6 years ago
No doubt about it. I couldn't finish reading the whole instructable. There's no reason to use language like that here, is there?
buterSBob296 years ago
i love half-life!
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