At-home Screenprinting




Introduction: At-home Screenprinting

About: Art Director and Evil Genius of Urban Threads, an alternative machine and hand embroidery site. Every week I cuss and swear in my studio and macgyver together a new tutorial. You can see all of them in full...

Using fabric paint, freezer paper, and some ninja xacto skills, you can make your own handmade screenprinted clothes!

Step 1: The Supplies

For this project you’ll need something to screen print on, like a shirt or sweater, some fabric paint, an iron, freezer paper, a paintbrush, a design, and a really sharp xacto blade. Don't forget the sharp part...

Step 2: The Image

Take your image (which should be stark black and white) and place it print side down on the shiny side of your freezer paper. Tape it in place. When you flip it over, it should be visible through the freezer paper on the other side.

Step 3: The Cutting...

This part takes the longest. Begin carefully cutting out your design from your freezer paper. Keep an eye on "floating" pieces, like this one, and put them aside somewhere safe.  Number really tiny pieces if you're worried you won't be able to put them back where they were without help.

Step 4: The Finished Stencil

This is how it should look all cut out. Trust me, this takes a little while...

Step 5: Extra Detailing

If you want to add extra detailing, like in my case, sailor stripes, you can use simple things like tape or store bought stencils to add fun effects. I used tape and spray fabric paint to achieve this...

Step 6: Ironing

Now it's time to secure the stencil.

Carefully place the freezer paper stencil on top of your hoodie or shirt, wax side down. Once you’re happy with your placement, take a hot iron and press it directly on top of your design. Don’t move it back and forth, like you would if you were really ironing something, just “stamp” it over all areas of your design, pressing a few seconds at a time, until it’s all pressed flat.

With the wonders of freezer paper, the wax side will bond securely to your shirt, but when removed, will leave no residue.

Step 7: Painting

Spray a generous coating of your fabric paint over your design, covering all the open spaces. I used a piece of extra paper I had around to help mask the spray from the edges. If you don't have spray on paint, don't worry. All you want to do here is dab on the paint. DONT BRUSH! You might lift up delicate edges. Just dab the paint till the whole thing is covered...

Step 8: Pulling Off the Stencil

Verrry carefully remove your stencil, taking care not to let any excess paint mess up your crisp image. Use your knife to remove really tiny, delicate pieces. Let the paint dry, and follow your paint's instructions for setting it...

Step 9: Finished!

Your hoodie, shirt, whatever, is done! No one would guess you made it yourself with at-home materials. Want a more detailed tutorial, as well as image ideas? Check out the full tute here. Enjoy your new screen printing skills!



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    19 Discussions

    would compliments wax paper work? It looks too thin or risky

    I had been making stencils for years for many purposes and when it came to clothes I used card and 'Pritt stick' (a water soluble glue that comes in a lipstick style tube) . This is far better. The wax paper works brilliant. It's so easy to cut and to make a perfect seal when ironed on. Thank you lots.

    THanks for this. I've looked at several tutorials and your seems the most do-able and inexpensive.

    Question: Do you have to take off the design immediately after you paint, or can you wait til it dries? I'm such a klutz I'd be afraid of touching it after i was done..

    This is by far the easiest tutorial I have seen on the net so far. Thanks, I will be trying this very soon.

    Awesome! I've been looking for a way to do screen printing inexpensively but still come out with good quality. I was thinking about stenciling but didn't know how I should have approached it. Going to give this a try.

    Question though: have you been able to reuse the stencil after the first use? Or is it a one time use thing because of how the freezer paper wax works with it?

    Thanks :)

    Process worked out great for me. Freezer paper gives a really sharp and clean edge. :)

    led zep stencil done.jpg

    While not actually screen printing, you could use this freezer paper stencil idea in conjunction with screen printing... which is cool. :)

    This is beautiful, I needed an 'Ible like this for a project I wanted to work on. Thanks!

    I believe the spray bottles of fabric paint are available at the large craft stores.. Nicely done "ible" with some great pics

    hey a like it a lot!!! thanks

    cool! i've used a brush to stipple paint onto a shirt before, but i like the idea of using spray fabric paint! looks easier and faster. where did you get your spray fabric paint?

    Yeah, when I said this was "at home" screenprinting, I don't mean you're doing it literally. I just mean you can achieve the same effects at home, with household materials.

    How Extremely FunkyDO! Yes, I would also say not technically screenprinting (there's no screen) but I think I actually like it even MORE than screenprinting! Aside from the non-duplicability...but what a stunning one-off you've made! :) 

    Sincere kudos to thee, o talented one. :)

    And spectacular design choices! :)