Hi everyone 🙂 Today I will be looking at screen printing with your Silhouette or Circuit. The lovely people at Silhouette UK sent me their new screen printing kit this month to review for you and I’m super excited about it and really happy with the results.
Screen printing kit
T-shirt that you would like to print on
Our seahorse file which is free at the moment!
Opening the Screen Printing Kit
The screen printing kit contains a wooden frame which you will need to assemble. Three pieces of white heat transfer vinyl, three pieces of silk screen, the silhouette vinyl tool, black fabric ink and the scraping tool. The first thing that I did was assemble the frame. I found that assembling the frame was quite easy as you have to put numbered corners together with the slots cut into the wood facing outwards. The screws were quite difficult to get into the frame but with a bit of wiggling I did mange to get them into the frame well.
Cutting the design on the Vinyl
I wont talk about specific cutting software here as we cover it in some of the over posts I will just give some quick tips on using the vinyl for the screen printing. Firstly make sure that your design is in the centre of the vinyl. This will mean that your design will be central when you put it into the frame. I would also recommend using a design that was fairly simple for your first screen print 🙂 When you place the vinyl on the cutting mat make sure that you put it shiny side down so that you’re cutting the design into the mat side of the vinyl.
Ironing the vinyl and assembling the screen
Once you have your design cut weed the outline of the design. This is slightly different to what you would do normally. Normally you would weed out the negative space but for the purposes of screen printing we want to keep the negative space so that we print the outline of the design. Once you have weeded your design you will need to iron it onto the silk screen from the kit. To do this you will need to layer the materials. Place the white vinyl shiny side down with the screen print material on top. The instructions then tell you to iron straight onto the screen print material. This is how I did it to start with but I did find that it didn’t give me a great result and I did melt some of the vinyl onto the iron. Some of my fellow crafters in the Silhouette Design team have had much better results using baking parchment between the silk screen and the iron. Then, using a hot iron, press the material firmly. With this I think there is a big learning curve and you will need to have some practice before you get it perfect.
Putting the Screen onto the Frame
Once the vinyl has stuck to the silk screen peel off the shiny backing and you are then ready to place it in the screen. Lay the screen onto your work surface with the vinyl side down. Then place the frame over it so your design is in the centre. To make it easier to attach the frame cut a small square out at each of the corners so you can fold the fabric round the frame. Then use the additional pieces of wood to slot into the frame to hold the fabric in place. You are now ready to print from your screen.
Now you are ready to screen print 🙂 I would highly recommend practicing before you print straight onto your final project. I did this as a project with my niece so I wanted to make sure that we got a good print on the final project. To print the project place the frame on your fabric and put a line of ink at the bottom of your design. Then use the scraper tool to scrape the ink over the design. You may have to do this a few times to get the ink into all off the different parts of the design.
So a few things about the video, I’m not getting a great result with this printing. The main problem that I had was that the vinyl didn’t stick properly to the screen when I ironed it on. This was difficult to solve after I had started printing, but the project was salvageable so don’t worry! If your having the same problem the first step to solving it is you need to wash the ink of the frame screen and wait for it to dry. Once the screen and frame are dry again you can reposition it onto to your test material or onto your final project. We then used a sponge to dab the ink onto the screen. This then gave us a much better finish and we were happy with the design when we printed it onto the final tshirt.
I really liked the screen printing kit it came with all the materials we needed to make a start and ‘give it a go’. It also let us make a few mistakes so that we could get comfortable with the technique. We did get some quite variable results but that was mainly because I didn’t iron the vinyl onto the screen properly so one of the key recommendations I would make would be to make sure that you get the ironing step right. It does need to be done well to get the process to work. If you have problems (like I did) then you can always used the sponging technique that we did in the end. I can see that with practice this would be my ‘go to’ technique for any project where I had to make large print runs or I wanted the screen print effect rather than a vinyl finish.
I will do another post when we have had some practice with this method so you can see it when it goes well too!
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