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.
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.
Step 2: The Tracing, Cutting, and Contact Papering.
1. Trace or draw your item onto the contact paper. Slick side up, please.
For those of you under 50, contact paper was used many moons ago to line the insides of drawers or something. Cavemen also used the heavy rolls to club unsuspecting women to drag back to their caves.
You can purchase a roll of it in the kitchen type of isle at Walmart for like, 4 bucks. You get A LOT of this stuff. I use clear, because I trace stuff. They've got white if you're more of an artist and you don't want stuff showing through.
2. After your design is traced or drawn, cut it out using the x-acto knife. The more simple the design, the easier time you're going to have. Sure it's possible to use islands and stuff, but it's all about how comfortable you are. It gets easier in time, I promise.
3. Peel the contact paper away from the backing.
4. Place it sticky side down on your t-shirt. Lining it up and getting it perfectly flat is annoying sometimes. I recommend ironing your shirt beforehand.
5. Place the screen over the contact papered shirt.
6. Put on your color medium of choice. Squeegee the ink on.
7. Make sure you pressed it through good. You can peel off the screen and look at what spots you might have missed, and put the screen back on. Since the contact paper doesn't move, it doesn't really matter if you get the screen back on the shirt off centered. I leave extra contact paper around so I don't have any ink mishaps like missing the contact paper. You'll see what I mean in the picture.
Step 3: You're Pretty Much Finished.
After you squeegee your ink, take off the screen and go wash it. The last thing you want is a screen ruined from ink drying up.
You can wait a few minutes for the ink to dry, and then peel off ALL of the contact paper.
You'll be left with a perfect representation of what you drew or copied and printed.
After the ink dries, put a sheet of news paper over the shirt and iron it for about 5 minutes, then flip the shirt inside out and iron the back.
If you used tulip slick paints instead, you don't have to iron it. Just let it dry.
So that's the end. You're finished. You now know the ancient art of ghetto screen printing and optimizing the "more bang for your buck" policy.
Step 4: A Few Other Things I've Done Using This Method.
This is just basically me placating my own ego with these amazing shirts I've made.
Nah, not really. It's more or less to show you all what can be done with time, effort, and an over active imagination.
Thanks for reading.
I might throw up an instructable on how to make your own ghetto screen soon, so be on the look out.
The first image is a Misfits shirt I made with a grill. I don't like the Misfits, but I do like to make fun of things. Ghetto and punk rock don't really go together. It took me about 2 hours to glue on all of those stones.
The second one is a t-rex breathing hearts. It's ridiculous.
The third one was supposed to be Marilyn Monroe. I just now noticed that I forgot her mole. It was more of a test to see how the magenta would look on a black shirt. It shows up horrible. I should have mixed it with white.