10 Fun DIY Screen Printing Ideas

Screen printing, also known as serigraphy, has been around since the late 1800s and is still popular today. In fact, it’s the most popular form of commercial printing in the world! The process behind screen printing can be tricky, but with these 10 fun DIY screen printing ideas, you’ll find that it’s easier than you might think to get started with your own screen printing project at home! Whether you want to make some T-shirts or decorate your walls, this guide on how to start screen printing has all of the tips and tricks you need to create amazing artwork at home.

Shirts printing
Shirts printing

Create your own pattern

There are many different screen printing ideas you can explore. One of the easiest things you can do is to create your own pattern. Start by drawing a design on a piece of paper with a pencil or charcoal. Once you have finished sketching it out, use an eraser to lighten the lines and make them crisp. Once that’s done, take your sketch and put it on the screen with some carbon paper taped behind it so that you can trace over your drawing with an ink pen.

You may want to use a ruler while tracing to get straight lines or curves. It will be easier if you lightly go over the lines one time before going back to darken them. If the image is still too light, try going back in with a darker ink pen. The images should not overlap each other too much for the best results. If you would like to add more detail, cut away bits of clear plastic from objects like spoons or forks and glue them onto the screen in areas where they should go.

The idea is that when the paint hits those areas it will adhere better than just painting those parts on top of each other without any sort of carrier layer beneath it. Drawers also work well because you can see through them and see what you’re working on. Do not underestimate the power of masking tape – all sorts of shapes, colors, and textures can be achieved by cutting up tape into strips. Use water-soluble crayons to lay down patterns (or hand-drawn ones) with the wax side down.

Make sure to use plenty of water when rinsing off after! Use a clothes iron (don’t plug it in) for printmaking using fabric as a base material instead of screens – this process requires pressing the iron over the fabric until all portions are completely dry which takes about 20 minutes per area at least). Cut small pieces off your fabric leaving a 1-inch border around the shape to avoid excess fraying during the process. Place fabric inside the collage board then places the board inside oven safe dish that has been lined with aluminum foil. Turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.

Let cool, remove from oven and let cool further overnight before removing the baking dish liner and turning out the artwork. Allow the project to fully air dry for another 24 hours before placing artwork into a frame or matting. Glue objects onto freezer paper then draw designs overtop in a sharpie marker (this technique is great for mimicking tie-dyed fabrics).

Get organized

  1. Find your inspiration or design. You can use an online generator to make your own design or search for one on various sites like Pinterest or Etsy.
  2. Prepare your screen by stretching the fabric tightly over a frame, and use a squeegee to push all of the air bubbles out from under the screen.
  3. Paint your design onto the screen with a squeegee, making sure that you don’t press too hard so that paint doesn’t seep through onto the wrong side of the fabric.
  4. Once you’re finished painting, let it dry for at least an hour before running it through your printer (if you’re using a regular printer).
  5. Turn the shirt inside-out, lay it on top of your inked screen, and place something heavy over the whole thing. The weight will help force ink through to the other side of the shirt where you’ll be printing.
  6. Use rubber gloves or a piece of cardboard to hold down any loose edges when moving the shirt around in order to ensure even coverage without smudging your design.
  7. Print until you’ve filled up as much space as desired with color.
  8. Let shirts dry overnight then repeat steps 4-7 with new colors if desired.

Use any kind of paint

One of the easiest ways to make your own screen printing material is using acrylic paint and a squeegee. Spread out a piece of plastic or paper on your work surface, then pour some paint into a shallow container. Dip the squeegee in the paint and drag it across the sheeting.

The farther you pull the squeegee from you, the thicker the line will be, but don’t pull too far away or it will be too thin to do anything with! Once you have covered an area that you want to print, take another piece of plastic or paper and press it over that area. You should see your design through both sheets!

Know what paint is best

The paint you use will make a difference in the final product. For screen printing, opaque paints are preferable. There are two types of paint – water-based and solvent-based. The most commonly used type is water-based because it doesn’t need to be thinned with solvents and it’s less toxic than solvent-based paints.

Acrylics work well as they are water-based and can be mixed with other colors to create custom combinations. They also dry quickly which makes them easier to apply without smudging. On the downside, acrylics may yellow over time so if you’re planning on using your paintings for a long period of time, it might be better to go for latex or oil-based paints instead.

Burgundy is my favorite color! With all these awesome tips about what paint should I use for screen printing, I’m sure I’ll have no problem deciding which one I want to try first.

Print on a t-shirt

Girl sitting on a chair
Girl sitting on a chair

Screen printing is an excellent way to decorate a t-shirt. It is also a great idea for an art project and can be done on any material, such as paper. Here are 10 fun DIY screen printing ideas:

1) Draw your design on the material with a pencil and then hold it up against the light to see the negative space in your artwork. Trace that outline onto another piece of paper and cut it out. This will be your stencil! Use it to transfer ink from the screen to your t-shirt or other material.

2) Cut out shapes from old magazines or scrapbooking paper and glue them onto cardstock in patterns you like.

3) Create your own pattern by drawing lines on a sheet of waxed paper or clear acetate sheets.

4) Write words, phrases, or quotes on sheets of contact paper and cut them into strips that can be transferred to surfaces with tape.

5) For some neon designs, fill a water bottle (or container of choice) about three-quarters full with rubbing alcohol. Add drops of food coloring until the desired color is achieved; shake well before using each time.

6) Line up metal coat hangers along the long edge side by side across the bottom edge of a large surface – preferably one you don’t mind getting wet!

7) Fill them about halfway full with rubbing alcohol and add food coloring until the desired color is achieved; shake well before using each time. If you have trouble finding the right shade, buy a sample set of colors at the craft store.

8) When finished designing all your screens, place them into baking pans lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

9) Have kids do their drawings on tracing paper and use window cleaner to create their stencils!

10) Place two pieces of cardboard together and make slits around the edges so they fit together snugly when closed. Cut one slit in the top piece just big enough for a hole punch. Punch holes evenly spaced apart through both pieces of cardboard at whatever intervals you choose and secure with staples.

Carefully open the cardboard and insert a piece of paper, overlapping one edge of the hole punched in the top layer. Secure that paper down with more staples. Finally, cut away excess paper beyond this point, leaving only what’s covered by holes. Now place your design under this screen and stamp it onto fabric or any other material you like!

Consider customizing the clothes you already have

1. Create your own printable fabric using a program like Photoshop or Illustrator. This is a great way to make one-of-a-kind pieces that are completely unique and personalized to you.

2. Design your own tee shirt stencils by drawing on paper and then cutting out the shapes with an X-Acto knife or scissors. Apply these shapes to the surface of clothes (like tees) and spray paint them with various colors. Once the paint has dried, peel away the shapes to reveal your design underneath!

3. Use a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to add text, patterns, or drawings onto clothing in order to make it more personal and unique! The sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity here! 3. Draw abstract designs onto a piece of clothing with permanent markers and then mix up some fabric dye to match those colors – let dry, rinse the garment off, and admire your new masterpiece!

4. Lay down strips of poster board around the outside edge of your clothes so that they’re not able to move while you’re spraying paint on them from above; this will help prevent any unwanted marks from appearing on the backside of your designs as well as create more detail in each image.

Print on paper for wall art

If you love to create your own wall art, then this project is perfect for you. It’s a simple and easy way to get creative with your home design. Print out a quote or an inspirational message, cut it out, and frame it in some sort of frame. Then all you have to do is take the paper outside and use rubbing alcohol as ink to print out the words onto your paper! Let it dry and voila! You’ve got yourself a lovely new piece of art.

It can also be fun to add paint if you want to try something different. Experiment with shapes too; like, draw hearts or stars around the main design element if that strikes your fancy. Get as crafty as possible by drawing different shapes with chalk on top of a large sheet of paper before printing over them too. The possibilities are endless when it comes to screen printing- just explore until you find something that speaks to you.

Go digital with PaintShop Pro X8


Screen printing is a type of printing that can be accomplished with a flatbed scanner, vinyl cutter, and printer. It is a way to print images on fabric without the need for a heat press. The process of screen printing on fabric starts by creating an image in Photoshop or Illustrator, then reducing the size so it fits onto the fabric surface.

Next, you will import the image into an app called Emulsion Direct DigitalSpyder and make adjustments to alignment if needed. Finally, print the design using your flatbed scanner and save it as a PDF. You can then cut out the printed design and use it as part of your screen-printing project.

Print on fabric using Emulsion Direct Digital Technology

The first step is to create a design for your shirt. This can be done by using the draw feature on your computer or by using a drawing program. If you are using a drawing program, one of the best ones is Adobe Photoshop Elements. It’s pretty inexpensive and has most of the features of higher-end programs like Photoshop but it’s not as expensive as it is.

Once you have your design, print it out onto transparency film with an inkjet printer. Cut out the screen that corresponds with each color in your design. After cutting, peel off the top layer which will leave you with a sticky side that will attach to any fabric or paper surface. Place each screen in its corresponding area over a window so that only the part of the fabric you want to be printed will go through when printing.

Once all screens are set up and aligned correctly, turn on your heat press machine (if applicable). Wait for the temperature inside to reach about 180 degrees Fahrenheit before placing your screen on top of what you want to be printed.

You may need to move around some screens if there is more than one different colored item being printed at the same time. You then place another piece of plastic on top of everything and slowly close the lid. Press down slowly, making sure all areas of the screen are touching where they need to be, and then quickly lift back up while pressing down on the bottom edges of the lid.

Make sure not to open your press too quickly because this could cause a shift in alignment and potentially ruin your design. Be sure to keep your emulsion cool throughout this process by periodically flipping them over onto clean sheets or something else that won’t stick to them; this also prevents smudging from occurring between colors during printing! Print until you get enough prints for whatever project you’re doing.


In conclusion, these 10 ideas will help you make your own screen printing project. You can use them to create gifts for loved ones or just have some crafty fun! However, if you are feeling a little more adventurous then why not try screen printing your own clothes?

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