{week 2} screen printing

This week’s craft is one that I’ve been putting off trying even though I was desperate to have a go. It looked just too difficult.  But I couldn’t have a printing month without trying screen printing could I?

And actually it wasn’t difficult at all.

In my crafty studio

There are lots of different screen printing techniques but I chose to use a paper stencil.

If you want to try it too you need: a wooden frame, screen printing mesh, staple gun, printing ink, a squeegee, something to print on, masking tape, paper, plastic spoon and a craft knife.

If you’re handy with a hammer you can make a frame from 4 pieces of wood but I used an old picture frame (my husband’s idea actually) and then stapled the mesh really really tightly to it. You could of course use a pre-made screen.

Then I chose the image that I wanted to use for the stencil. Last week I sketched an artichoke from my garden so I traced it onto a piece of paper with a sharpie (so the lines were nice and thick) and cut it out with a craft knife. This took ages and you would probably be better off choosing a simpler shape but I got there in the end.

Artichoke sketch

Cutting the stencil

I taped the stencil on the flat side of the screen (I’ve seen tutorials that say you don’t need to tape it down but I decided to) and then laid the screen on a scrap piece of paper to test the stencil. I then taped all round the edge of the screen (so no ink could get through where I didn’t want it to).

Screen ready for printing

Using a plastic spoon I dolloped some ink along the top of the screen and then (holding the frame down with one hand), used the squeegee to pull the ink over it. I pulled back the other way and then repeated again. Finally I gently lifted the screen to reveal the design and held my breath! It worked!

The screen after printing

I printed the artichoke on canvas tote bags – if you’re printing things like bags and t-shirts, remember to put some paper inside to stop the print going through two layers.

Finished printed bag

I’m really pleased with how they turned out – I think these will make perfect grocery bags.

So, have you tried any screen printing this week? Printing is the theme for the whole month of July and you can choose any method at all. Share your projects in the comments here, on Twitter (using the hashtag #52crafts52weeks), on Facebook or Flickr.

Thank you for all the lovely comments about my craft video last week! I was really nervous about posting it but I might make another one soon.

Flasback: Week 2 in year 1 was all about Freehand machine embroidery (a favourite!)

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5 Responses to “{week 2} screen printing”


  1. 1 Barbara July 11, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Hello, Thank you for these good tutorials and the encouragement to get busy. I did some potato printing today. I cut out a sun with nice rays, perhaps because it was really hot and sunny outdoors. I printed in metallic blue ink on black paper. They turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. Now, I will move on to something else, perhaps the screen printing, or maybe some something else using stencils. Happy crafting, Barbara


  1. 1 Is there a low-tech way to screen print? « 52 crafts in 52 weeks Trackback on July 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm
  2. 2 {week 3} lino printing « 52 crafts in 52 weeks Trackback on July 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm
  3. 3 {week 4} mono printing « 52 crafts in 52 weeks Trackback on July 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm

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