Instructables
For this one, we took a vinyl stencil cut on a roland vinyl cutter, stretched a screen on a frame, attached the screen, printed a couple of shirts.

You may not want to do it exactly like this, but here's one way that actually worked.

For this project, I used the image created in the document ConvertImageWithGimp - http://www.instructables.com/id/EJ6T5P8VDYEY95WJHN/
Here are the photos - http://flickr.com/photos/connors934/sets/72157594503018354/
There is also a process for taking the image created with gimp and cutting a stencil with the Roland Signcutter using the Fabuntu interface, which at this time has not yet been written.

This technique was developed in part through the guidance and advice of Ed Baafi and Amon Millner at the South End Technology Center Fab Lab.

There are a few advantages of using this technique. Having the image in the computer and 'printing' it with the vinyl cutter means that you don't have to get nervous about ruining your original artwork. You can also scale the image up or down. If you want to make a small print on one side and a big one on the other side, you can just cut it with a different size. You also don't permanently attach the stencil to the screen with this technique, so you can use the same screen over and over by keeping it clean after each use and peeling the stencil when you need a different image printed.
 
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Geordiepom7 years ago
Thanks for this mate, I will certainly be trying it. I am a little concerned about the squeegee lifting the vinyl from the screen. Has anyone tried applying the vinyl to the outside of the screen? Should be OK with the water based inks.
We put the vinyl on the underside and it worked just fine but only for around five prints. I believe the water based inks have a solvent which attacks the adhesive or perhaps it was just the water. Anyway have had great success for one ofs by just sticking the vinyl straight on the fabric.
Jo0Lz patto5 months ago
great to hear that.....as for a 'one-off' I had the idea of sticking a vinyl mask directly on to the T shirt and sponge painting the ink on....?....so will try that now
Great instructable! About how much ink do you use for each shirt? We were thinking of trying this and making our own shirts for a family reunion, it looks like a fun do-it-yourself project. Is the silk piece special, or could we use an old silk nighty from a second hand store?
tbenefi335 years ago
thank you for the tutorial. How many run can you get out of vinyl. ?
I have a vinyl business and have a cutter...but can't figure out what you do with the adhesive backing when using vinyl for silk screen. do you pull the vinyl off the adhesive backing or adjust the blade and cut through the backing? How about loosing little parts like the inside of letters? Help, I'm so frustrated with emulsions and I have a cutter just sitting there, just missing this crucial step.
connors934 (author)  squeezethisdesign5 years ago
Originally, I did silkscreen by cutting the emulsion by hand. That stuff had a clear backing. What you want to do here is have the cutter cut the design (simple ones at first until you get the hang of it). Then you will weed out the parts of the image that you want the ink to go through. The parts that remain will stay on the paper backing. Once you have weeded out the inked sections, you put a wide masking tape over it. Regular masking tape actually works ok, but the transfer tape that shipped with my machine works better. When it is all covered with the transfer tape, then you remove the backing. Make sure the parts all stay on the transfer tape. Next you put it on the screen and burnish it into place so when you remove the transfer tape all of your image stays on the screen. Then mask off your image and screen your pictures.
gravesw6 years ago
i just tried this with a simple robot image and used two screens, one white and one black on a bunch of different shirts(and different colors). i used oracal vinyl and made 8 shirts and a pair of sophies for the girlfriend. washed it about 5-6 times during the printing and the vinyl is holding up great. i forgot to make a registration system however so the two plates didnt quite match up, actually looks really cool. the shirts i used were all goodwill shirts i ran out and got, cant beat $2 per. made the vinyl guy 2 shirts in exchange for the cutting :)
RnR robot.jpg
connors934 (author)  gravesw6 years ago
Hey that's great! I would love to see a photo of the shirt on a person! Glad you found this helpful.
Heres 4 of the final shirts. and using the dryer for setting the ink was a genius idea, especially for as big a batch as i had.
_1016851.JPG
Awesome, you should sell them. ;D
where did you get that image
Do you mind if I ask where you bought the vinyl and what kind it was?
coolness
this is one of the better ways ive seen to do multiple small runs. like you said im not sure it will hold up for 100+ orders, but if you are doing 5 - 10 different shirts at 20 per design then this will save a huge amount of time rather then creating and applying emulsion to the 5 - 10 screens or even cleaning and re-using the same screen 5 - 10 times. Great job!
wenpherd5 years ago
where did you get that humungus roll of masking tape
wenpherd5 years ago
what type of screen is that or did i miss somthing
connors934 (author)  wenpherd5 years ago
The screen is basic silkscreen mesh. Ity is likely a poly, definitely not a natural material. The screens I have seen all seem to be of a similar material.
thanks
labo6 years ago
whats that color blue??...vinyl is the cutter??
connors934 (author)  labo6 years ago
The blue is vinyl cut on a Roland Camm 1. The process for cutting the vinyl is not shown in this instructable. This one shows how to put the stencil on the screen and print the shirt.
labo connors9346 years ago
what is roland camm??
connors934 (author)  labo6 years ago
roland is the company, they make a vinyl cutter called a CAMM. This project was done on a CAMM 1, 24 inch vinyl cutter.
Here is a link to the machine description - http://www.rolanddga.com/asd/products/cutters/gx24/
It is a fairly common vinyl cutter. Most sign shops have them. You could do the design, then bring it to the sign cutter shop and have them make the stencil for you if you don't have access to one.
labo connors9346 years ago
thank you..au2x :)
connors934 (author) 7 years ago
It was bought as silkscreen fabric. Doesn't have much stretch to it. It is possible to reuse the screen over and over again with this technique. Keep the screen clean after each use, and it should last a very long time. In the old technique I used to do, we made the stencil with a lacquer based emulsion, then melted it into the screen with lacquer thinner. With that system, you had to rip off the screen to make a new image. This system probably doesn't make a hundred shirts as well as the old way, but it is pretty good for short runs of images.
rellik10007 years ago
Sorry connors, I meant the fabric for the screen. Is it regular silkscreen mesh??
connors934 (author) 7 years ago
Dente I used the squeegee to burnish it onto the screen. I suppose I could use my fingernails or a wooden spoon. You definitely want to have a good adhesion to the screen. You don't want the vinyl to pull up, or you will get ink bleeding through where you don't want. Rellik For these, I was printing on regular tshirts, probably 100% cotton. Paper would work as well. Some inks and fabric combinations are better than others. Gotta experiment to get to what works.
rellik10007 years ago
What type of fabric are you using?
denete7 years ago
Did you burnish the vinyl when applying it to the screen, or just press it on with your hands?
gwrober7 years ago
Were you able to reuse the screen after removing the vinyl? The vinyl we use has a high-tack, I'm afraid it would render the screen unusable. But using vinyl sure would make it easier than emulsion!
connors934 (author)  gwrober7 years ago
Try it on a smallish screen and see what works. If you get a couple stencils with one screen you are probably ahead of the game. This stencil material does work for reuse at the Fab Lab where I cut it.
What material did you use for the film?
connors934 (author)  janesbigdream7 years ago
Though I didn't buy it, I think it is likely this item from Avery Avery Royal Blue 2450 You could probably cut the stuff by hand, but it would be harder than the lacquer based emuslion, this stuff is thicker.
erfonz7 years ago
about how many prints can you make before the vinyl gets bad?
connors934 (author)  erfonz7 years ago
Good question. Since I have only made a few prints, and then put it aside I am not sure. We did make two stencils, and put one on a screen. At some point we'll get around to either printing more or putting the other one on the screen and testing that one. When I know more, I will either add a comment or insert some text into the document. Thanks
HamO7 years ago
Very nice. The vinyl is so versatile and this is a great use and technique. Wish I had a Roland. Thanks for sharing.
connors934 (author) 7 years ago
Since it came from a photo originally, it could probably have looked too slick. I wanted the bridged areas to give it a more crafted look. Water based ink is way easy to work with. Cleanup is simple and you don't have to worry as much about keeping the place splatter free. It is important that you heat set it. One of the shirts from this session didn't get set before it went into the washer. Things almost got ugly, as it was the first of the set.
mdmoose297 years ago
this is great! correct me if i am wrong but couldnt u have taken out the bridged areas from the stencils and just made it a solid line? also i was very happy to see you used water based ink. (oil based ink isnt a good thing to put down ur drains)