dirt cheap screenprinting

i always wanted to learn how to print my own stuff. be it stationary or t-shirts or tea towels. i wanted to be in charge of that process for creative and cost reasons.

enter nancy’s super cheap, easy & fun stencil screenprinting class. i was inspired! she taught us the diy way to screen print. so i bought a particle board shelf from ikea (clearance section for $3), bought a pair of jiffy clamps on ebay ($20) and went for it!

step one: make an excuse to screenprint. check.

step two: buy the tank/design the graphic.



step three: buy the screen, burn the screen. this part i didn’t diy because it’s all lettering and i wanted it to turn out clean. i had fine line screenprinting burn this 1-color design for, you guessed it, dirt cheap. they even sold me an old squeegee for $5.

step four: this is very critical. crank up the tunes and get loose. music will energize you, my friend!

step five: masking tape edges of screen to prevent paint from getting onto the frame.

step six: lay it out. place screen in clamps. align tank to screen on board. i thought i was all fancy by wanting it on the right lower side up against a seam. that made my life difficult. note to self: fancy is overrated.

instead of having one of those elevated screenprinting setups, mine is flat (for 2D printing) so i had to makeshift it a bit. to avoid paint seepage and to make production easier (had to make 6), i masking taped masonite to the screenprinting board on the clamp side only. this way i could slide the next tank in easily. for minimal movement, i spray adhesived the tank to the masonite and smoothed out the material. i had paint, squeegee, plastic container and a boatload of excitement at the ready.

materials  masonite to board

step seven: the scary part. there’s no going back my friend, so go for it. put a generous amount of paint on screen and pull. scrape excess paint off squeegee onto screen, pull the other way. repeat until you feel you got good coverage. take a peek but be careful lifting screen cuz sometimes the tank pulled up with it. think potential alignment disaster. note to self: heavily layer on the spray adhesive next time.


step eight: lift screen, remove tank, admire your awesomeness, slide next tank in and repeat. set up some space where you can lay out tanks to dry. i had my kids’ clipboards handy so i could slide it inside each one.

pink row

step nine: clean up. rinse screen in the plastic container (or utility sink). air-dry screen. save screen for future printings of headbands, towels, greeting cards and the like!


step ten: the easy part – have some fashionably muddy fun!

dirt cheap team slide


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