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the haas machine: Screen Printing At Home

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Screen Printing At Home

Every little girl needs her very own wolf tee

Even before Ruby was born, John & I were way into making shirts for her (check out this post with a few of the firsts & this post for a pic of her princess tee). Again, when I say "we" it mostly means "he." I help come up with ideas & pick out colors, but John does most of the work. This time, I need to brag that I actually cut out the Wisconsin stencil (thank you very much). And after giving it a whirl, I appreciate my husband even more! It's hard work & my neck was really sore for a few days from hunching over to cut it out.

Although these shirts are time consuming, they really are quite simple & totally rewarding. What is more precious than your kid getting super excited to wear a shirt that you custom made for them? 
WI represent!

Items you need
Fabric (we've mostly done onesies & other cotton shirts)
A stencil printed on very thick paper or cardstock
A board to cut the stencil out
Tack adhesive spray (we use Krylon Easy Tack)
Spray paint or acrylic paint (there's a bit more accuracy with acrylic)
Paint brushes
Masking tape

Start with washing your clothing or fabric. If it's something you're going to have someone wear, have them try it on & measure where you would like the design to show up (you could put a little masking tape where the top of the stencil should go). Then get to printing & cutting your stencil.

The more intricate the design, the more challenging the cutting will be. You might want to try something more simple for your first projects. Make long smooth cuts whenever possible (avoid short, choppy cuts). Although it might be obvious, stencil cutting is kind of a mental game so stay focused (you need to cut out what you want to show up on the shirt). Once the stencil is cut out, spray the tack on spray over the stencil (the side that is going to be touching the fabric) & lay the tack sprayed side down onto the fabric.

Then tape the stencil onto the fabric using masking tape. Secure a piece of cardboard on the inside of the shirt (you don't want it to bleed through to the back of the shirt). Then you can get to painting. You can either spray it with spray paint, using short thin layers of paint, or you can use acrylic paint & brush it on. We've had luck with both, but have come to enjoy acrylic more because it's a bit more accurate, we can blend colors more easily, & it smells way better! It may be necessary to do several layers of paint, depending on the fabric you use & how thick you want it to look.

And that's it! Although it dries fairly quickly, we wait 24 hours to wear them, just to be sure. Also make sure that you wash them inside-out so that the stencil lasts longer. 
Ruby loves foxes & her favorite stuffed animal is a fox named "batu"

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