Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Screen Printing--The Dollar Tree Way

I covet Yudu's Screen Printers. I don't love the price tag or the price of the supplies. I headed over to my neighborhood Dollar Tree and pickup some things that I thought might work for DIY screen printing.

I went.
I tried.
I painted...

And now you get to benefit from my trials and errors.  Here's what I did.  First, gather supplies...

(From Dollar Tree):                                   
Splatter Screen= $1
Princess Tutu= $1
Paint Scraper=$1
Alphabet Stickers=$1
Contact Paper= $1

(On Hand):
Fabric Paint
Small Embroidery Hoop
Craft Knife
Scrap Frabic/Paper for practicing
T-shirts (or whatever you want to print on)

(forgot the kitchen sink!)

Method One
Step 1:  This was already getting hard. I couldn't decide what image to print! ;)  Start simple. I drew a heart on the contact paper and cut it out using a craft knife. (see that cutting board-- it's the flexible ones from Dollar Tree, 2pk for a buck! They work great.)

Step 2:  Stick contact paper to the screen. I was worried it wouldn't stick to the mess but it did just fine.

 Step 3: Grab your paint scraper (I left the rubber edge protector on). Squirt a row of paint above the image on the contact paper.  See how much I did?... double, maybe even triple it! It wasn't nearly enough.  Also make sure the ends of the paint line goes past the image on either side.

Step 4: It is impossible to do this step and take a picture! (I enlisted my 7 year-old to help later on.)
Put screen on top of your scrap paper or fabric. Starting with the scraper almost vertical, drag it through the paint and across one side of the heart to the bottom of the image.  Then repeated for the other side. (See not enough paint!). I did need to go back over it one or two more times to smooth out the paint. 

Carefully lift screen off. The thickness of the screen gave the paint a nice thick texture.

 Step 5: Time to try it on the real thing. Same as above.

Awww... pretty!

If you clean the screen immediately before the paint dries you can reuse it. I used an old toothbrush to scrub it.

The textured look was fun, but it probably wouldn't work for small details. I moved on to the purple Princess Tutu. Really I was just looking for small holed netting while walking the isles of the store. They had some tulle in the wedding section, but I wasn't sure if it would fit in my hoop frame.

Method 2
Step 1: Cut the tutu to fit in a small embroidery hoop. (If you don't have one, tape the tutu fabric to a small cardboard frame cut from a sturdy box.) Pick of the glitter spots inside the hoop. They come off easily.

Step 2: I wanted to print words so I picked up this sticker pack and spelled out my phrase "Cutie Pie". I needed a border for the paint so I cut out another heart from the contact paper and placed it around the words.

Step 3: Lots of paint and drag the scrapper through it like I did above.  Next time I'll drag from the edges to the center of the design. There was a bit of seepage at the bottom. The more you go over the image with the paint the more seepage you'll get. That's why it is so important to start off with lots of paint.
**Remember that plastic cover I left on the scraper, well it was a pain to clean the paint that seeped under so I covered the edge of it with a scrap piece of contact paper. Great for easy clean-up too!

See the bottom of the heart? Need to fix that.

Ah. That's better.

Then I wondered..."Stickers on the wire mesh screen I used first?" They stuck pretty good and the paint had that thicker, textured look.

I printed 3 more hearts using the same pattern. On these I used two colors of paint. Pink on one half, white on the other. Squirted at the top like before, they blended nicely when drug across the screen.  By the 3rd time the pattern wasn't as sticky and it really seeped. So I had to embellish that one too. ;)

My mind is already turning at what I could do next.  I picked up a bunch of reusable shopping bags in a solid color that I'm for sure going to screen print for a fundraiser for our elementary school.

**I'm entering this project on Dollarstorecrafts.com 's July $5 Craft Challenge sponsored by The Dollar Tree.**

Also linked up at:


  1. I also covet the Yudu, and I'm excited to try this! I found you over at the contest (I entered, too :D) Good luck!

  2. Oh this seems so simple thanks for this!

  3. Nice ingenuity coming up with a DIY screen printing process. i enjoyed reading through your techniques. Thanks for joining the $5 challenge!

  4. I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information?
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