Screen (I like Blick 12XX pre-stretched frames)
Cheapo Paint Brush
Drawing Fluid (I use Speedball)
Screen Filler (Speedball again)
Screen Printing Tape (water resistant tape)
Rubber squeegee (at least as long as design width)
Small Spatula and/or Plastic Spoon
Large Sink or Bathtub
Pre-washed t-shirt, dried without dryer sheet (start with undesirable practice T, though)
Fabric Screen Printing Ink (Speedball)
**Supplies purchasable from online art stores like dickblick.com.**
1. Think of a design. Print/ draw it out, and figure out what parts will comprise the negative and positive spaces.
2. Place screen over design, but elevate it so that it is a 1/8 inch or so above your design (prop screen up on chopsticks, perhaps). Using cheap paintbrush, use Drawing Fluid (DF) to fill in POSITIVE SPACE.
3. Let it dry. Make sure it's completely dry before next step. Use hairdryer if impatient.
4. Tape edges of screen to form a tape frame around design. Prop up screen slightly (e.g. one end lifted up by toothpaste box on side). Shake Screen Filler (SF) and pour out a strip of SF along the top of the design (it's viscous enough that it won't run downhill).Using a firm grip on the squeegee, spread SF down over design, covering all area within tape. Do one more swoop upwards. No more than 2 swoops or the DF will start dissolving prematurely. Wash/dry squeegee.
5. Allow to dry completely. Then rinse: DF will dissolve away, leaving water insoluble SF to block out negative space, like a stencil! Neaten if necessary; dab SF on missed spots. It's hard to remove dried SF... I use a pin tip and run it gently against the screen. Dried SF will flake off in tiny bits (Very tedious; not for uncovering large areas).
6. You're ready to print. Place scrap paper/magazine page inside t-shirt to prevent ink from staining other side of T. Place screen on T, on sturdy horizontal surface. Use spatula/spoon to dollop ink in a strip across top of design. Be generous - you can salvage excess ink later.
7. Use one hand to hold screen down in place, use other hand to firmly swoop squeegee down screen so the ink spread over the design. Reverse pass, then repeat. I'd say 3-4 swoops total (up, down, up, down) is enough, but it depends on the fabric; some take ink faster). Peel off screen slowly. If you are ink-miserly like me, use spatula to scrape excess ink from screen & squeegee and put back in ink container. Immediately rinse screen, squeegee and spatula thoroughly. Do NOT let ink dry on your screen.
Allow first print to dry before printing again on same T. Make sure screen is dry when re-using. When design is complete and dry, iron inside out for around 2 minutes to set ink.