How To Do Screen Printing On T-shirts Professionally At Home

how to screen print at home

If you’re new to crafting or someone who enjoys doing things yourself, you might have thought that printing designs on shirts at home would be too hard or expensive to try. There are many ways to customize wholesale women’s t-shirts and other clothes. T-shirt printing methods such as screen printing, heat transfer, and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing offer various options for achieving your desired designs. However, screen printing may be a project that is better done by experts, considering the other options available.

You might be surprised, but screen printing is actually easier than you might think. It doesn’t require a lot of money to get started either, contrary to what many people believe. While you can spend a lot on fancy screen printing equipment for your basement or garage, there are cheaper options available when you’re just beginning. Even with the basic equipment, you’ll have everything you need to personalize clothes for yourself, give them as presents, or even sell them.

Here’s the basic information on how to do It

Screen printing is a process that involves several steps:

  • Choosing an image
  • Putting that picture onto a special screen using special paint that reacts to light.
  • Finally, when you use a squeegee to move ink across the screen, you’re basically pushing the ink into the fabric below. It’s like a fun game of going round and round!

You can do this yourself in any way you like.


  • Screen printing frame
  • Photo emulsion
  • 150-watt lightbulb (or LED equivalent)
  • Screen printing squeegee
  • Printer
  • Fabric paint (for screen printing)
  • 2 pieces of glass (like those from a cheap picture frame)

Choose & Print an Image

Here are some simple steps to help you learn screen printing. We’ll provide a detailed tutorial with each step explained later in the post.

1. Choose a picture you want to print. Start with a simple image for screen printing. Try using a silhouette with only one color.
2. First, take a plain piece of paper. If you have transparency paper, you can use that too, but it’s not needed unless you want to make detailed pictures. Now, print the shape or letters you want on the paper. After that, use a sharp Exacto knife to carefully cut out the printed image.

When you have very detailed pictures, you should use a special paper called transparency paper. The picture you print on it should be really dark and not let any light pass through it. If you’re not sure if it’s dark enough, you can hold the printed picture up to a light source. If light passes through it, it means the picture is not dark enough. In that case, you can either print another copy and put them on top of each other, or you can use a black marker to color the paper.

To create a screen printing frame

Follow these simple steps:

Now you have to get your frame. A screen printing frame is a wooden or metal frame with a special fabric called “silk” on it. But actually, the fabric is made of polyester.

1. If you want to create your own screen printing frame, you can use 2x2s to make a frame. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be strong and level. Avoid using wood that is bent or twisted for this purpose.

2. Next, you use a stapler to attach your “silk” fabric onto it, making sure it’s pulled tightly.
To attach the silk, you can use a regular staple gun. Make sure to pull the silk tight, but not too tight so that it tears through the staples. Another tip is to fold the edges of the silk under to reduce the chances of it ripping.

Make sure you push the staples firmly so that they are flat because when you turn the screen over, it should lie down without any bumps. If the staples are not pushed in properly, the screen will shake or move unsteadily.

3. After you attach your screen with staples, cut off the extra parts.

4. Use painter’s tape to cover both the outside and inside of the silk fabric. This will prevent the paint from dripping through. Painter’s tape is the recommended option, but if you don’t have it, you can use duct tape as a temporary substitute, although it’s not the best choice.

Prepare and Burn Your Screen

Getting your screen ready for use involves 4 simple steps:

1. To make the screen look different, you can use a special kind of paint called emulsion. First, you need to go to a room that is completely dark. Then, you can apply the paint to the screen. After that, you have to wait for a few hours until the paint dries.

2. After your cut-out image is completely dry, carefully put it on the screen that you prepared.

3. When you turn on a light, it helps to dry and set the photo material. The material that is exposed to the light will become permanent, while the material underneath the printed image won’t be affected by the light and can be washed away later when the screen is cleaned.

1. First, gather your screen, squeegee, and photo emulsion. Then, follow the instructions on the package to mix the photo emulsion.
(photo emulsion is made up of 2 parts. There is one bottle of emulsion and one bottle of activator.)

2. In a room that is not very bright, apply a thin layer of a special substance called emulsion on the upper part of your screen.

3. Take your squeegee and use it to spread the emulsion all over the screen on both sides. Try to make the layer of emulsion as thin as possible. Make sure it’s spread evenly, but do it fast. Start with one side, then do the other side, and right away, find a dark place to let the screen dry.

If you’re in a place with a light, work fast so the liquid doesn’t start to harden. Once you’ve covered the screen, take it to a dark room right away for it to dry.

Warning: To make your screen dry, it’s important to place it in a room that is completely dark.

4. Put the frame flat on the ground, not standing up, in a very dark room to let it dry. How long it takes to dry depends on how thin or thick you put the liquid on the frame. It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.

Exposing Your Screen

After the screen has become dry, you can put the image you want to print on the screen. Many people find this step challenging because they are often told to use a lightbox. However, it’s important to know that a lightbox is not necessary.

If you’re new to this, the simplest way to light up the screen is by using a 150-watt lightbulb. You can use a regular 150-watt incandescent bulb or a 20-watt LED bulb, which gives the same amount of light.

The jar with the special liquid for your pictures will give you instructions on how much time you need to let your image be exposed. The instructions will depend on how big your screen is. The jar will also tell you how far your light should be from the screen.

If you don’t have something to focus the light from your lightbulb, you can do two things. One, you can make a reflector using a tin pie plate like McGyver does. Two, you can keep your image exposed for an additional 3 minutes.

You also need something that is not shiny and is completely black to place your screen on for exposure. An old chalkboard is a good option, or you can use a black piece of cardboard or bristol board.

1. Put a bright light on top of a dark surface using either a 150-watt traditional lightbulb or a 20-watt LED bulb. It’s best to use a black matte surface like Bristol board.

2. Take the screen you have prepared and bring it to the place with the light. Make sure to keep the screen covered with a towel so that light doesn’t touch it until you are ready to start using it.

3. Put the screen you prepared on your black flat surface. The part of the screen that doesn’t go inside (the flat part) should be facing upwards.

4. Put your cut-out picture (or a printed image on transfer paper) on the screen the other way around.
Tip: Take the picture and hold it in your hand. Look at the picture the way you want to see it on your T-shirt. Then, turn the picture around and put it on the screen.

5. Put a clear piece of glass on top of the picture to keep it firmly in place on the screen.

6. Turn on your light. Keep it on for the necessary amount of time.

Start a timer and don’t touch your picture. Don’t try to move it or disturb it in any way. Simply walk away and stop thinking about it.

When the time is over, take off your glass and paper cutout (or transparent sheet if you’re using one). You will immediately see a faint picture.

The stuff around your picture is now dry and hard. The part that your picture covered up is still wet and will disappear when washed.

Clean your screen by using a strong tap or a hose. If you have a shower head or an outdoor garden hose, they will do the job. Spray lukewarm water on the screen, especially on the part where the pictures or videos appear. Remember, the water should not be too hot or too cold.

Just keep spraying and you’ll start to see the picture showing up more and more as the stuff on the screen gets washed away. Congratulations, you’ve successfully created your first silkscreen. You did a great job!

Screen printing is a way of putting designs on your actual T-shirt

1. Spread your T-shirt flat and make it nice and smooth.

2. Take the silk screen you made and place it on top of your t-shirt. Make sure the part of the screen that is lower than the rest is facing upwards.
Before you print something, bring your screen close to a light. If you notice any tiny holes in the screen where the covering is not fully there, use a small piece of tape to cover that area. If you don’t cover the hole, ink might leak through it.

3. Take a little bit of paint and spread it at the top of your screen. The paint will look much darker after it dries compared to when it’s wet.

4. Take the paint and spread it gently on your picture using a tool called a squeegee. Don’t push too hard. This is called flooding the image.

5. Next, continue moving in the same way and use the squeegee to go over the picture once more, applying some force to make the ink go through the screen and onto the fabric.

6. You’re finished! Gently take off the screen from the t-shirt (it might stick a little) by lifting it up carefully.

7. Put your item in a place where it can get dry.

8. After you finish printing everything, make sure to wash your screen immediately by running cold water on it.

9. When the ink is completely dry, use a dry iron to press the image and make it stay in place.


With the right equipment, materials, and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking screen printing on t-shirts from the comfort of your own home. Remember to start with high-quality designs and properly prepare your screens to ensure crisp and accurate prints. Practice good ink management and curing methods to ensure long-lasting and vibrant results. Don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your skills over time. With dedication and patience, you’ll be able to produce stunning custom t-shirts that showcase your unique style and creativity. So, get ready to unleash your inner artist and enjoy the rewarding process of screen printing at home!

The following two tabs change content below.

Rose Frank

Rose Frank is a young enthusiastic girl who loves everything about fashion. She believes in expressing her passion in a language that everyone can connect with. She is part of the LooksGud team, which loves to reach out to maximum people and inspire them to express themselves through fashion.