How To Make Silk Screens

Put your own custom design on clothing, baby clothes, or team shirts, when you learn how to make silk screens. Silk screening is easy, fun, and a good way to save money of custom tee shirts. Advertise your business, club, or cause on tee shirts you silk screen at home.

To make silk screens, you will need:

  • Embroidery hoop (large enough for your design)
  • Paint brushes (assorted sizes)
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge (Non-water soluble glue)
  • Sheer fabric
  • Design or drawing
  • Pencil
  • Textile paint
  • Garment
  1. Cut a piece of fabric one inch larger than the embroidery hoop. Open the embroidery hoop and place the fabric over the larger hoop. Insert the smaller hoop into the larger hoop with the fabric in between. Gently pull the ends of the fabric all the way around the hoop to make it taut. Tighten the tension screw on the embroidery hoop. Use scissors to trim the edges of the fabric if necessary.

  2. Lay the hoop (fabric side down) over the drawing or sketch of your design. Use a pencil to trace the drawing onto the fabric.

  3. Use a large brush to apply Mod Podge around the shape of the drawing (anywhere you do not want ink to flow through the silk screen) and all the way to the edges to the embroidery hoop. Use a smaller brush to apply Mod Podge to the more intricate parts of the design. Let the silk screen dry thoroughly according to the direction on the label of the non-water soluble glue.

  4. Insert a piece of card board inside the garment you plan to silk screen to avoid the ink bleeding through. Place the silk screen (fabric side down) over the garment where you want the design to be.

  5. Choose a method for inking the garment. The first method is to place a small amount of fabric paint on a palette and use a flat stenciling brush to dab the paint onto the silk screen. This method is best for small designs. For larger designs, apply a line of fabric paint on the silk screen above your design and use a folded piece of lightweight cardboard (card stock) as a squeegee. Apply even pressure as you drag the fabric paint across the silk screen to create the design.

  6. Gently lift the stencil off the garment. Let the fabric paint dry thoroughly. Follow the direction on the label for setting the fabric paint. Immediately rinse the paint off the silk screen before it can dry so you can reuse the silk screen.


The fabric for your silk screen does not have to be silk. Any sheer fabric will work. If you plan to make a few silk screens check the clearance bin at the store for a sheer curtain panel on sale.


When painting the non-water soluble glue on the fabric, do not lay it flat or it will stick to the surface. The more intricate the design the more difficult it will be to make a silk screen. Keep the design simple for your first silk screen.

Reference: Simple Screenprinting: Basic Techniques & Creative Projects”, Annie Stromquist, 2005

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