Want to jazz up your wardrobe but lacking the funds? Spend an afternoon creating this totally unique screen-printed top and you’ll have a new outfit ready to go!
It’s Saturday night and you have nothing to wear. Or more accurately, you’ve got a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing you like, and definitely nothing new and exciting. It’s a common dilemma and we’ve all faced it at one point or another. But when the purse is out of pennies and the credit card is in lockdown, how can you solve the problem without hitting the shops?
By making your own awesome creations, of course! Read on to find out how to screen-print a top that you’ll love showing off next time you head out. (Warning: The requests from you friends might come rolling in!)
- A clean singlet, T-shirt or blouse. Ideally, cotton fabrics are easy to work with. Make sure the singlet is plain and doesn’t have any prints or patterns that might obstruct your handiwork
- Screen-printing fabric ink/paint in your choice of colours
- A screen and squeegee
- A4 sheet of white paper
- Scissors or a Stanley knife
- Masking tape
- The key to a successful screen-print project is planning ahead. Consider your choice of top and the colour combination you’d like to use. If you’ve never screen-printed before, start with one paint colour on a plain-coloured cotton T-shirt or singlet. It can get tricky when working with delicate fabrics like silk so it’s best to leave this until you’re more experienced.
- Next, think about what kind of pattern you’d like to print. If this is your first time, you’re better off opting for a simple pattern right in the middle of the front or back of the shirt. As you get more advanced, you can opt for patterns on the shoulders or down the sides. Consider something like a few spots, raindrops or a silhouette. Put the top on so you can gauge where you’d like the pattern to go — this is especially important as you may underestimate the 3D effect of your body shape!
- Draw the pattern by hand or print a more elaborate picture from the computer and cut out the bits that you’d like to be filled with paint. Scissors are fine, but a Stanley knife will help you to achieve perfect edges, particularly in more detailed areas.
- Lie the paper flat on the screen and secure with tape. It’s important that the paper sits flush up against the silk of the screen, otherwise paint will be able to seep through the sides and mess up your design.
- Lie your top flat on a protected work surface and pop some newspaper or other paper inside to avoid the paint leaking through to the back of the shirt. Place the screen on top, making sure the stencil is placed exactly where you want it.
- Hold the screen firm and pour some paint along one end of the silk screen, then move the squeegee from one end to the other in one smooth, strong slide. The paint should be evenly distributed across the stencil.
- Gently lift the screen to reveal your patterned top underneath. Wash the screen and squeegee thoroughly, and allow the top to dry.
- If adding other colours, wait for the first colour to dry completely and then repeat the process.
Tip: Avoid ironing the print so the paint doesn’t melt.