Silk Screen T-Shirts

Silk screening is a great way to personalize your t-shirt.  With silk screening, you can virtually put any picture or design onto your t-shirt resulting in your own one of a kind fashion statement.  Silk screen t-shirts are great for sports teams and showing off your sense of style.

Silk screening has been used commercially by many businesses thought the years to put designs on t-shirts.  The screen in silk screen printing is actually the fabric that you are using.  Silk screen printing fabric such as a t-shirt has holes or pores in it causing a screen effect which either paint or ink is pushed through.

The company takes a fabric that has no stretch to it of a uniform size, place it is a frame shape to hold it flat, and coat it with a light sensitive solution.  Once this has dried on the fabric, the image you wan to appear on the fabric, we’ll say a t-shirt in this case, is placed on a transparency.  This is commonly a simple one color transparency using black as the color for the image that you want to appear on the silk screened t-shirt.  The fabric, with the transparency on top is than exposed to light.  When it is exposed to light, the light is stopped by the black parts of the transparency.  The image is than cleaned off with water.  This makes the light sensitive solution that was not exposed to light wash away which is where your design is going to be.  When the paint is put on the t-shirt, it will go right through the parts of the light sensitive solution that washed off, leaving your design behind.

The process of silk screening a t-shirt of your own is really quite simple.  When screen painting at home, you do not use the light sensitive solution and the painting process is a bit different.  The materials you will need are:

  • A t-shirt (a plain one works best)
  • Water based glue
  • Any photo that is black and white (Simpler photos work much better than intricate ones)
  • Ink (fabric inks or paper inks will work if fabric screen printing ink is not available.  Just make sure it won’t wash right off)
  • Squeegee
  • Thin fabric or old stockings
  • Paint Brushes
  • Pencil
  • A frame such as an embroidery frame to stretch your t-shirt in ensuring that it is flat.

To start out, you want to get your photo ready by making sure that it is a simple black and white picture that will be easy to trace onto the thin piece of fabric or stockings.  Stretch your thin fabric or tights into the embroidery hoop making sure that it is flat and tight. You want to than transfer your picture onto your fabric by placing it behind your t-shirt and tracing it with a pencil taking care not to rip or tear the material.  Next step is to paint all the areas that you don’t want to have paint showing with the glue.  Note you do not have to cover all of the spots that you don’t want to have paint on, just the fabric right next to where paint will be. Once the glue is completely dry, place the glue covered image face down onto your t-shirt.  Slowly start covering the image with ink and using the squeegee to ensure the paint is going completely through onto your now silk screen t-shirt.

Silk screen t-shirts are a great way to experiment with your own style and create new fashion statements.  Whether you are making t-shirts for a team sport or for your own personal wardrobe, silk screen t-shirts are a great way to make a statement.