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Make Mini Silkscreens

11 November 2011 24,428 views 7 Comments

by heather

DIY Mini Silkscreen

It all starts with a one dollar wooden frame! Ashley from Lil Blue Boo made a bunch of pint-sized silkscreens so she could add tags to the garments she makes and sells. She was nice enough to share the entire process of building the screens, and I was completely fascinated! I thought you might be too. Although all the components for this project can't be found at the dollar store, it all starts with the dollar frame! Use these little screens for making custom t-shirts, greeting cards, fabric, and more. [how to make mini silkscreens]

Project Estimate:

  • Flat wooden frame, $1
  • Screen printing fabric sheets, $27
  • Binder clips, on hand or $1
  • Waterproof wood glue

Total: $28 and up

Obviously if you are making one, you should be making like 30 of them. They cost Ashley about $2 each, which is a huge bargain if you want to make mass-produceable designs.

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  • tara said:

    i thought this would be an awesome project for the $30 or less, but the REAL price came only after following the link. :P i mean, not many people generally have *emulsion, *a small squeegee, and *transparency sheets just sitting around the house. i’m sure you could probably find something to “make due” for the squeegee (maybe?) but definitely not for the transparency sheets and emulsion.

  • heather (author) said:

    @tara, this project is a specialized one, and not for everyone, but I thought it was worth sharing for those who could use it. It’s true that you have to buy a lot of specialized supplies, but if you are doing professional-looking silkscreening, you are going to end up doing that. If you make your own small screens with $1 wooden frames, you still end up saving a lot of money and about $2 per screen is a good deal. There’s an up-front investment, but I think it could be worth it depending on the project you are working on.

    There are screen-printing hacks, though! How about this cool one where you make a silkscreen with mod podge? http://www.modpodgerocksblog.com/2009/11/i-finally-screen-printed-with-mod-podge.html

  • Kate said:

    GREAT IDEA!!!!!

    NOW for my comment. No some people dont have emulsion at home true. However if your scrapbooking you own some kind of glue if not really you can buy it for less then a dollar. and i know all of you had a transparancy sheet in your house and if you all think im crazy then remeber this….. you come home from your favorite dollar store with something you have been itching to get, a clear stamp maybe, and you open the package and pull off the CLEAR PIECE OF PLASTIC and extend your arm out to throw it in the garbage ….WAIT!!!! SCREECH SOUND BACK UP! That right there is all you need as long as its some what firm! I bet there is something in everyones craft room we all can come in there and find something to pick from that can be used for the”emulsion part” all you need is a white glue! paint it smoothly on plastic and let it dry completely!!! Do this a couple of times but make sure its smooth. Carefully cut your design. As for a small squeegee, we are all on these points clubs and have a billion and one useless cards in our wallets. If not ask your husbands! alot of the time parts and or tooles come with decals that they can put on thier tool boxes, They come with a card (squeegee!) Now you may all be wondering how I know this. Well see I took a sign program in collage and this was one of our tasks was to make a screen out of stuff we had at home. So expiriment and try thats what we do!! If we cant afford it EXPIRIMENT!

  • Heather's Mom said:

    How could I not love a little silkscreen! So cute!

  • Jillian said:

    Just for a little cheaper option, you can use mod podge to make your screen design :) cheap… Just google “mod podge screen print” time consuming but way fun :)

  • Rob said:

    For those crafters who have one a cricut machine and either vinyl witch you can get at Walmart or some form of contact paper can be used to stick on and use once for a single print or you can use the mod podge method and glue over the whole thing then peel the vinyl or contact paper off before the glue dries. A side for using the vinyl though, I have used regular old vinyl for single use products but have had the trouble of the vinyl not sticking to the the screen printing mesh which causes it to pull off easily when i’m taking off the transfer tape. I find that if i’m patient and go slowly that i can get the whole design onto the screen in fair amount of time and then it will work perfectly for that one time project. As far as contact paper goes, I have not tried that yet on the screen itself so i’m not sure how well it will stick.
    All in all though i do like the vinyl contact paper method just because it does offer a cheaper and fewer steps version of screen printing. Although it takes getting used to i think it will open up a lot of possibilites for crafters and again this is using a cricut machine. if you don’t have one then i’m not sure.

  • elyse said:

    For everyone suggesting the Mod Podge route…it is a cheap and relatively simple process but you will not get the same results as the photo emulsion process. The edges will not be clean and crisp unless you have a VERY steady hand to paint small details. If you are using Mod Podge then make it a simple design. If you decide to use photo emulsion, which I suggest for small detailed work like the one in the photo, then buy a kit. They cost $22 and you can use the materials over and over to make cool screens. You can also use embroidery hoops if you cannot find the wooden frames in the tutorial.