Did you know you can screen print with your Cricut?!? Yeah, it’s totally a thing! I never would have even thought to try it except I got this super detailed design job from my husbands job. I tried doing it with heat transfer vinyl, then with printable heat transfer vinyl and didn’t like either method. The heat transfer vinyl took SO FLIPPEN LONG to weed and the the print and cut HTV just felt like a big thick sticker slapped on the back of the shirt. The printable stuff will be great for smaller designs but for that project, not so much.
Like anyone super excited about learning a new skill I threw myself in. I went on Amazon, ordered the Speedball Intermediate Kit to be delivered the next day and took to YouTube to figure out what I was getting myself into.
Well, don’t do a what I did. Do your research BEFORE you buy anything. While this kit came with a lot for the money, it came with way more than I actually needed. It came with everything to make the negative as well and I didn’t need all that since I was going to be making the negative with my Cricut.
The screen print kit comes with
Now if I had known what I do now I would have skipped buying the whole kit. Then just bought the Speedball ink, some silk screens, the squeege and a big pack of popsicle sticks. From what I researched any screen with a mesh of 110 to 160 will do the job. When I need another one I will probably just go with a generic brand one off Amazon.
Simple steps to get started with screen print
First up, pick out your design! This shirt is going to be for my 9 year old Leila so I had her take to Pinterest to get some inspiration for a design. She did great, and a super simple (funny) first project!
The picture above is also the second step, making your negative. Make sure you MIRROR your design! You are going to be using regular vinyl. I used this cheap removable vinyl from Amazon I bought when I first started Cricuting and had no idea what I was doing. I have since learned that Oracal Is the way to go!
Make sure you put a piece of paper inside the shirt you are working on just in case it seeps through the first layer of material. It should also be noted that it should be done on something you don’t mind getting messy and not on your new hardwood floors your husband just installed. (Oops) the floor is fine though and I read it just washes off with water though I had no spills.
Center your design on your shirt or other item and get ready to go. Mix your ink (not sure if you have to mix but it just felt right) I used the included Speedball Black Ink and put a healthy layer above each word with a popsicle stick. You are going to then use your squeegee and pull the ink down at a 60 degree angle.
I passed over the design 4-5 times going from top to bottom With the Speedball black ink. Once done you immediately peel off the screen print. When I peeled off the screen I also pulled up the frame from top to bottom and just had my daughter Hold the shirt down for good measure but it was probably not necessary.
Lastly, and the hardest part for my daughter apparently was to wait for it to dry completely. Since I up and decided to make it at 10 at night we just went to bed and woke up ready for the last step. The last thing you are going to want to do is cure your ink. I cured by using my trusty Heat Press which I love and adore. I pressed at 320 for 15 seconds. Speedball recommends that you put a sheet of computer paper over your design while pressing. That is just in case a little ink transfers, though when I did it none did. If you don’t have a heat press and want to use an iron that works too! Set at the cotton setting and press each section well until it is all done.
Make sure you rinse the screen in the sink when you are all done using it, it can be used for multiple shirts!
Silk screen printing is seriously the BEST and only one project in and I am hooked! As much as I absolutely love Siser Heat Transfer Vinyl this is WAY better since the feel of it is smooth and doesn’t have that plasticy feel to it. It may not be the right choice for all projects but definitely for simple ones like this. Now that I got my first project out of the way I am ready to take on that super detailed project for my husbands unit! I will update when I get one of those screen print shirts done.
More Cricut tutorials
Ive put together a list of helpful Cricut tutorials that walks you through various skills that help you become a better designer and crafter.
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