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DIY Screen Printing (Silhouette Tutorial)

Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Cheryl Dewees to the blog. She's been a Silhouette-er and blogger for while and recently she shared with me an awesome Silhouette screen printing project that just blew me away. I thought who better to share a tutorial with all of you - than Cheryl so today I'm handing over the blog.
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I am constantly amazed at all the uses I find for the Silhouette Cameo. One of my favorite things to do is make shirts for my friends, family, and of course myself! As I was looking around at all the possibilities, I came across a screen printing technique using adhesive vinyl and had to give it a try.


If you have a Silhouette Cameo and adhesive vinyl you are already well on your way to having everything you need. In addition, you will need:
  • Screen Printing Paint
  • Large Embroidery Hoop
  • Sheer/Thin Fabric to act as the 'screen'
  • Painter's Tape
  • Flexible Instrument for Scraping (small squeegee, credit card, etc.)
Silhouette Cameo, screen printing, materials
    • Screen Printing Paint - I bought the Speedball Screen Printing brand
    • Embroidery Hoop - I bought one large enough to cover the entire front of a t-shirt. 
    • Sheer/Thin Fabric for 'Screen' - I used a section of an old sheer curtain panel. 
    • Flexible Instrument: I used an old Starbucks gift card instead of a screen printing squeegee. 
    Cut and weed your adhesive vinyl stencil. I used Oracal 651.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing, oracal 651

    Secure the thin fabric in the embroidery hoop. Pull it tight so that there are no wrinkles.

    Trim the excess from around the hoop.

    Flip the hoop and material over so that the thin sheet is laying flat on the surface (not raised up by the hoop). 

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    Using transfer paper, transfer the stencil to the material inside the hoop. I found this the most difficult part of the process.

    I really had to work to make the vinyl stick to the fabric and peel off the transfer paper. I would suggest using a piece of transfer paper that has been used a couple times already so it is less sticky.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing, hoop, material

    Make sure the vinyl is sealed down on the fabric really well. Wrinkles will allow the paint to seep outside of the stencil lines. You will also be pressing and scraping across the vinyl with your squeegee or card so the vinyl pieces need to be very secure.

    Tape around the outside border of the vinyl with painter's tape. This is to protect your material underneath from getting paint on it. You can cover all the exposed material outside of your vinyl or just create a large border like I did.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing, painters tape

    Place the hoop with the stencil flat on top of the material to be screen printed - a t-shirt in my case.   I placed wax paper inside the shirt to keep any paint that might bleed through off of the back of the shirt.

    Dab a little paint around your stencil. And I mean A LITTLE! The paint is very thick and concentrated. A little goes a very long way.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    Using the scraper, pull the paint into the cut-out portions of the stencil flooding all the sections completely.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    Then use the scraper to gently, but firmly, scrape away the excess paint until all of it has been removed. I scraped, then added the excess paint back into the paint container.

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    Gently pick the stencil up from the material. 
    Once the paint is dry, iron over the screen print with a hot iron. This sets the paint and will keep it from washing out.
    Silhouette Cameo, screen printing

    I love the vintage-y feel of the screen printing. It doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, I like it better when it's not. Next on my agenda is experimenting with adding one or more colors when screen printing.
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 

    Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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