November 28th, 2011

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DIY: Silk Screen Tees

When Plaid offered to send me their Simply Screen Kit to create a DIY project, I jumped at the opportunity.  Silk Screen has always looked interesting – but incredibly complicated.  Luckily, the kit makes things very easy.  In less than two hours, I was able to create two fun Ts…  easy!  The kit can be bought at Hobby Lobby.  (They also sell refill screen packs, in case you get addicted!)  There were a few tiny hiccups (which I’ll go into during the tutorial,) but the end result was still fabulous and professional looking.

I have always had a thing for skulls, so choosing a skull for one of my designs was a no-brainer.  As for the second, I went for a wolf print… inspired by this Elizabeth and James top.

What you need:

Simply Screen Silk Screen Kit
Simply Screen Paints
Pre-Washed T Shirts – I went for these from American Apparel
Full tutorial after the jump.

Possibly the most important step:  Don’t throw out the box!  Kind of cool – the box doubles as the light box.  I assembled the light box easily, following the kit’s instructions.  Once the box was assembled, I dimmed the lights and affixed my print design to one of the screens.  As instructed, I utilized the squeegie that came with the kit to firmly bond the design to the screen.  I also taped the screen to the design just for added support.

I then let put the design/screen into the light box, turned the light on, and let it “bake” for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, I took the screen out, removed the printed design, and let the screen sit in the basin that comes with the kit (filled 1/3 with tepid water.)  Using the sponge that came with the kit to wipe away the emulsion and reveal your design.  Allow the screen to dry, and you are ready to paint!

Painting is easy.  Simply squeeze out a line of paint and use the squeegie tool to evenly distribute the product over the screen.

Remove the screen and voila!  I did have a minor issue where the paint didn’t always go through the screen where I wanted it to.  In these cases, I just faked it afterward – I used the thin tip of the paint applicator to fill in any holes or areas where the paint didn’t fully permeate the screen.

And here we have the end result…

Easy and fun.  I could see myself using this kit again.  How perfect would it be to silk screen your own Ts for a bachelorette party or bridal shower?  Or creating your own monogram?  The possibilities are infinite.

Disclosure:  Plaid sent me their Simply Screen Kit and paints for review.  I was compensated to write this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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