4 Jul 2013

Homemade screenprints

This is a great way to try out screen printing, with practice you can get a lovely clear print each time, its great for a repeat design and with care your screen will last a while.

The basic idea is that you paint on your design onto the screen with the drawing fluid, coat the screen in a thicker screen filler, once its all dry you wash out the drawing fluid, leaving your design as a permanent stencil in the screen.

You can use any size hoop but 10” is a good working size, the best fabric to make your screen from is a very fine nylon mesh, look for net curtain fabric or voile in your local fabric shop, you can buy screen printing mesh which is perfect from screen printing specialists.

The screen drawing fluid & screen filler are available for any good art shop and last a long time and will make many screens, they come in a few different big name brands – I prefer the speedball ones as they are more familiar to me but take advise from others and your art shop.

Fabric paints come in many different brands- I always use acrylic paints mixed with fabric medium- just so I can use what’s already in my studio and to have more colour choice- again take advise form others and your art shop.

You can improvise your design but it may be helpful to have it drawn out first so you can trace it onto fabric, this will help you get the sizing right and play with your ideas before you commit it to the screen, for a 10” hoop you art work needs to be no bigger than 6”x 6”.

Practice- practice- practice- always except your first few screens not to work very well, it’s the only way to learn – it’s a tricky process and it will be trial and error till you get it right. (it took me 3 attempts to perfect the screen in the tutorial! Image to thin then to messy, then perfect!)
Right here we go- good luck

You will need
Embroidery hoop 10” or larger
Fine mesh nylon fabric
Fabric for printing on
Screen drawing fluid
Screen filler
Old credit card
Parcel tape
Fabric paint
Hair dryer (optional)


Step by step
1- First you will need to cut your mesh slightly bigger than your hoop and stretch it over, tightening the hoop as you stretch, until you have a drum tight screen. 
2- Now you can paint your design onto the screen using the ‘screen drawing fluid’ this has a runny PVA type of consistency, take care not to drip it any where on your screen, you need to achieve a good solid line for your design – too thin and it wont work- practice makes perfect. You can draw your design onto the fabric in pencil or trace it directly from an image underneath- make sure you screen is mesh side up when you paint your design on. Allow it to dry fully, you can use a hairdryer on low heat if necessary. This should take 5-10mins.
3- Once your design is dry you can coat your screen in the ‘screen filler’. Do this with a credit card or squeegee if you have one. Pour a blob on the card and drag it across the your screen covering the surface in a thin even coat, take care not to over work this process as the drawing fluid will start to dissolve- one or two quick smooth scraping across the screen should be enough ( practice –practice – practice) allow to dry fully, use a hair dryer in you like. This should take 5-15mins.
4- Once the filler is completely dry you need to wash out the drawing fluid under running water. Allow the water to run over both sides of the screen and after a few second you should see the blue drawing fluid start to disappear, you may need to rub gently in some areas – be careful as to much rubbing with ruin screen. Hold it up to the light to check its clear- the edges of your design should be clearly defined and clear of both the drawing fluid and filler. Once its clear allow to dry.
5- Prepare your screen for printing by taping all the edges so no extra ink can get through to the fabric. I use parcel tape as its water proof and easy to remove- but masking tape would do too.
6-Lay out your ironed fabric on a clear protected surface ready to print, lay your screen onto the fabric where your design is to go, place a generous blob of paint above your design on the screen and use your credit card to smoothly scrape the paint across the design, pushing the paint through the screen 2 or 3 passes will be enough. Carefully lift the screen off the fabric and allow paint to dry.
7-If your design is repeated, use a hair dryer to dry the first print then place the screen on the fabric where the next print is going and repeat until you fabric is covered. Always iron your finished fabric to set the fabric paint.

Never allow the paint to dry in your screen, wash is immediately after you have finished printing- if you are doing a large piece of fabric with a repeat design you may need to stop half way through and wash your screen (make sure its dry before you start printing again)

I have made my fabric into a simple zipper purse as an example, but you can make anything you want, the possibilities are endless!

I hope this has been a helpful tutorial- if you have any questions just get in touch
Id love to see what you do and feel free to spread the word about this via pintrest of facebook or any other way!

Happy printing

some links if your are going to share

EXTRAS- here are a few links to where I buy stuff from
www.handprinted.co.uk - great for everything handprinted!
the fabric I used is 32T mesh 1/2 metre- £4.50
the drawing fluid (big pot lasts for ages)
Filler - (big pot - lasts for ages)


  1. thats great jenny - i really like the idea of using a hoop, as you often don't need a huge screen for a repeat pattern - have tweeted a link and shared - https://twitter.com/kerivalentine

  2. This is great and I love that you're using a credit card to spread the paint :)

  3. Really useful tutorial using low tech equipment. I will use this idea with pupils - thanks. Could I ask where so you buy your filler, fluid and nylon from please?

    1. Thanks, I get my filler and drawing fluid from my local art shop but it available online- evil amazon or somewhere like handprinted.co.uk which also stocks the screen printing mesh (you only need 32T and half a metre as its very wide)
      Ill put some links in post xxxxx

  4. This was great! took me back to my art school days in the printmaking studio :) must try sometime, thanks!

  5. I was so thrilled to find this simple screenprinting technique - I have always fancied it but been put off by the expensive of getting the equipment. I have shared it on my Facebook page Crafting in France - would love for you to pop over and say hello

  6. I saw this post via Janet and would love to try my hand at this, one day hopefully. Great tutorial and pictures and love the finished makeup bag.

  7. Great great pattern! Love it! Plus that color! (heart eyes emoji). I tried this once, but the nylon kept getting looser and looser and some of my prints came out a bit smudged.... :( I love screen printing and this tut is top notch!

    1. Thanks Lynet - it is trick and practice makes perfect - plus I havent shown all the mistakes and mesed up prints here! he he x happy printing xxx


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