18 Jul 2014

A simple stencil screen-print DIY

A simple stencil screen-print DIY
This project is designed to give you a quick and easy taster into screen-printing on fabric. You can play with the placement of the motif to create you own design or make your own motif to create a totally unique design.
Make sure play on lots of scrap fabric before you start your finished project- even I do that to get in mood and find the right pressure for the screen! And whatever you do RELAX and enjoy it – its meant to be fun!
You will need a large table or to work in stages for this scarf, and make sure you protect all surfaces from paint as you work! Nothing ruins the joy of finishing a project more than danmaging the furniture in the hurried pursuit of crafty goodness!

You will need……
A stretched screen –A4 size or larger
Fabric printing ink/acrylic paint mixed with textile medium
Squeegee (that fits your screen)
Muslin fabric – 2mt by 70cm for a big generous scarf but you can use what ever size you like.
Masking tape
Plain A4 paper
Crafts knife

I’ve Provided……
The artwork, as a pdf template. Download here and print out before you start.

Step by step

1.    Download and Print out the motif attached – or draw your own onto a piece of A4 paper - to fit the screen size you have, allowing at least 2 inches around all edges of the screen.
2.    Using a sharp craft knife and a cutting board carefully cut out your motif.
3.    To attach the stencil to your screen, lay the stencil down on table then place screen on top, hold in place and turn the screen over (this will ensure your stencil is the right way around) then tape it in place, tape all around the edges so no paint can get through other than the image itself.

4.    Next you need to prepare your fabric and your surface ready for printing. You will need a large table or be able to work in sections moving the fabric along as you go. Iron the fabric as it’s easier to print on lovely flat fabric. Cover your table with newspaper or a sheet as the printing ink will go through. Lay out your fabric flat and with no creases.
5.    Before you start printing, have a bit of a plan as to how you are going to lay out your design. I wanted to have a completely random pattern and make sure that all the prints faced different ways- you might want to print a line of birds down the centre or a curve from one corner to opposite corner on the other side – anything goes but just have a little plan in you head so you place the first print in the right kind of place.

6.    Place the screen down onto the fabric where you want your first print to be and put a generous line of ink along the top of the screen about 3 inch in from the edge, put your squeegee behind the ink, hold the screen down firmly and drag the ink across the screen with firm, even pressure, pushing the ink through the stencil, push the ink back across the screen then a final pull across the screen without the ink to make sure you have an even print. Carefully lift of screen to reveal your print.

7.    Continue to build up your design by printing in the same way all over the fabric- Take care not to put your screen over a wet print as it will leave a mess on the back of the screen that you could accidentally transfer in your next print! if you want to print motifs close together use a hair dryer to dry each print before you carry on.

8.    Once you are happy with your design, leave the fabric to dry and wash your screen and all equipment straight away. Remove and throw away paper stencil and all the tape then use a shower head to blast ink from screen. Once the fabric is dry, iron it to heat set the ink so it can be washed in the future.

9.    To finish the scarf sew a small neat hem all around the raw edges and then its ready to wear and enjoy!

•    Never let ink dry in screen – it will ruin the screen for ever- if you need to stop for more than a few minutes mid project wash your screen and start again later.

•    Cut more than one paper template in-case it degrades during your print run – if you get lots of bleeds and imperfections stop printing , remove stencil and clean screen – once its dry start again. ( with complicated design I have to do this all the time it hasn’t gone wrong its just the nature of paper stencils)
•    If the back of your screen gets messy – gently wipe clean with baby wipe or damp cloth.

Trouble shooting
•    Edge’s of print bleeding out – too much ink and to much pressure or the stencil used to much time to change it
•    Image faint – not enough ink, not enough pressure or enough pulls across screen Mess marks all over fabric- back of the screen need cleaning
•    Image over lap – you have not lined up the prints correctly, go with it, it could create a whole new design!
•    It looks a mess – embrace imperfections that’s the nature of hand printing and just have fun! Or start again and make this one your test piece!

some links to credit me please 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!
Ebay is great for fabric or use your local fabric shop

Happy printing


  1. I truly detest this technique. So much hassle if you don't have the right ink...but yours turned out quite exquisite with such a simple and beautiful pattern!

    1. Ha ha - I know what you mean Lynet - it can be a really pain- too much/ ink too little! trial and error gets it right- again i have picked the best bit for fabric to share and cut off the messed up bits! xxxx

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