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DIY Screen Printing with Mod Podge (Easy!)

DIY screen printing doesn’t have to be expensive! Do it with Mod Podge – you won’t believe how easy it is and how good it looks. Scroll down to see a video of the process in action . . . with two bonus techniques as well!

Skills Required: Beginner. If you’re doing a simple design, you don’t really need any prior crafting skills. Just work slowly if you haven’t crafted before.

DIY silk screen

I finally did it! I tried DIY screen printing with Mod Podge. I’ve talked about this before, always wanted to do it, and I finally did. Let’s not talk about the fact that I want to use wallpaper with Mod Podge too and haven’t done it yet – no, let’s not even go there.

Homemade Screen Printing

I’m so pleased with the results of my fashion craft that I bring you this DIY screen printing tutorial. I’ll start with something easy and then tell you about my shirt above.

Here’s my first try, the snowflake tote:

Snowflake tote made with a DIY screen print

Before I dive into the tutorial to show you how it’s done, I wanted to go over a few commonly asked questions I’ve gotten about DIY screen printing with Mod Podge. It’s a really easy craft, but there are some things to know.

DIY Screen Print vs. DIY Silk Screen

Essentially the two techniques are the same. “Silk screen” is traditionally called that because silk is used in the process. The panel I used in this process is polyester, but you might be able to use silk.

I was just looking for something with fine holes that seemed reasonable for a DIY silk screen or screen print and the panel I found worked well.

NO Emulsion, NO Sensitizer

The awesome thing about this tutorial is that you don’t need any emulsion or any sensitizer. I love that you don’t need any chemicals! You still get the crisp lines as well. It’s pretty awesome.

Mass Production

You can do several t-shirts with this method – you can reuse the screen. You might have to touch up the Mod Podge in some places depending on how many times you used it/how thick you applied it.

But if you are making shirts for a summer vacation (for example), you’ll be able to produce your t-shirts using one screen just fine. If you’re planning on mass producing t-shirts, I’d go with a different method.


Are you ready to learn how to print on shirts and other goodies with my technique? Learn how below.

DIY Silk Screen

To do screen printing yourself, you need to gather a few supplies. Here’s what I pulled together.

  • Embroidery hoop – doesn’t matter if it’s wood or plastic
  • Sheer curtain panel – I got mine for $1 at the dollar store (I’ve also heard IKEA is good source)
  • Screen printing ink – any kind or colors, Speedball is great
  • Fabric Mod Podge
  • Flat paint brush
  • Sheet of paper, any kind
  • Pencil
  • Cotton bag
  • Scissors
Pull a screen across an embroidery hoop

I like to jump in, so you should to. Take your sheer curtain panel and fasten it into the embroidery hoop. Screw it closed and pull the curtain tight, tight, tight.

Trimming around the screen using scissors

Now turn your hoop over and cut the excess curtain material around the frame. Put the extra curtain aside and then pull your screen taut again.

Drawing a design on paper with a pencil

Now get as crafty as you want to! You’re going to need an image, so either hand draw one or print something off of the computer. I wanted a simple snowflake, so I hand drew mine (I first marked off the hoop so I wouldn’t do it too big or small).

Notice it would have been easier for me to print something or use a ruler, but I like to make things as difficult as possible and do lots of erasing.

Tracing a design onto a screen with a pencil

Go ahead and place your screen on the design you just drew (or printed). Trace directly onto the screen with a pencil. All the tutorials I’ve seen use a pencil, so that’s what I used. Not sure what happens if you use a pen, but I really didn’t want to mess this up so I didn’t try and find out.

Filling in the negative space with Mod Podge

Yay, my favorite part! Using the brush, paint Mod Podge on your screen where you DON’T want the ink to go through. This is called the “resist” because it resists the ink coming through the screen.

I thought about it long and hard, and I decided to use Fabric Mod Podge. Because if it’s washable, then it would be easy to wash the ink out (Mod Podge staying behind) and then use the screen again for multiple prints. I know, I know – I’m smart.

Let your Mod Podge screen dry for a few hours until it’s completely clear. I did a few layers of Mod Podge because I was nervous about the ink getting through in some areas if I didn’t do it well enough. Your host is also a neurotic screen printer.

Painting on the DIY silk screen with Speedball paint

This is the second fun part – place your screen down on the bag and paint! One important thing: place something between the layers of fabric, so that the ink doesn’t bleed through. You never know.

Be sure when you are painting through the screen to get the corners well. I did several layers of paint before I pulled up.

Snowflake tote made with a DIY screen print

Pull the screen off and allow to dry. Check out my finished DIY screen printing project again! If you found you messed up in any areas, go back and touch up with the brush.

Follow the directions on the packaging of your screen print ink to finish your project (wash or heat seal, etc.).

Completed screen with dried Mod Podge

Once I did the bag I was more confident, so I created this mini snowflake screen in the same way that I did the large snowflake one for the bag.

I grabbed a gray t-shirt and mixed together some black and white screen printing ink, then followed the steps I listed above. You’ll notice I did several shades on the t-shirt.

Gray tonal makes me happy, so printed one snowflake, then added more white. Then did it again. And again. And one more time. Finished t-shirt!

DIY screen printing

To completely finish her off, I added some buttons, because you know I love them. Great thing is that the screen is reusable, you have tons of curtain material from your sheer panel to make more and now your friends and family all want you to make them a shirt. Are you ready to try DIY screen printing now?

Yield: 1 project

DIY Screen Printing

Screen printing is fun, but it can be expensive and uses toxic chemicals. This DIY screen printing with Mod Podge is easy, non-toxic and budget friendly!

Use this screen printing method for DIY t shirt printing and more! Silkscreen your favorite design - all you need is an embroidery hoop, Mod Podge, and a sheer curtain.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Dry Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $2

Materials

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Sheer curtain panel
  • Surface - t-shirt or cotton bag
  • Screen printing ink
  • Fabric Mod Podge
  • Flat paint brush
  • Sheet of paper, any kind

Tools

  • Pencil
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Fasten the curtain panel into the embroidery hoop. Screw the hoop closed and pull the curtain tight, tight, tight.
  2. Turn the hoop over and cut the excess curtain material around the frame. Put the extra curtain aside and pull the screen taut again.
  3. Print out or hand draw an image that you will screen print. Keep it relatively simple for your first design.
  4. Place the screen down onto the design. Trace directly onto the screen with a pencil.
  5. Using a paintbrush, paint Mod Podge on the screen where you DON’T want the ink to go through. This is called the “resist” because it resists the ink coming through the screen.
  6. Let the screen dry for a few hours until it’s completely clear. Apply an additional layer of Mod Podge and let dry.
  7. Place the screen down on the surface and paint. Tip: place something between the layers of fabric, so that the ink doesn’t bleed through. Be sure to get the corners well.
  8. Pull the screen off. Touch up any areas that need it with ink and a detail brush. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

Notes

I had a t-shirt, tote, embroidery hoop, and Mod Podge on hand. The only thing I had to purchase was the curtain panel for $1.

Recommended Products

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Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


Now that you’ve seen the tutorial, check out the process in action. Simply click “play” on the post video! You’ll also get two bonus techniques with Mod Podge on fabric. You’re going to love them – promise!

@Whatwonders_ Whatwonders.com

Thursday 21st of July 2022

Used this hack to make a checkerboard pattern on a screen. I taped off the pattern with painters tape and dabbed the glue on the negative spaces. The results were crisp lines and a screen I can use forever! Thank so much for the tip!!

Amy

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

WOOT! Glad it worked!

Ashley

Thursday 30th of June 2022

Legend thankyou for this post! Its exactly what I've been looking for! My brain had been looking for a simpler and less expensive way to do it! Thankyou!

Amy

Monday 4th of July 2022

Pleasure!

Akinfiresoye sam ade

Monday 31st of January 2022

Interesting ideas i used in 1988 through year 2000

G

Monday 23rd of December 2013

Can you clean and reuse this screen print in the future?

Amy

Monday 23rd of December 2013

Hi G - Yes, you can! Though you might have to touch up the Mod Podge in some places depending on how many times you used it/how thick you applied it.

Rebecca F.

Saturday 24th of August 2013

i tried this, and it worked great! i ended up using fabric paint instead of screen printing ink because it was easier to get a hold of, but it worked wonderfully. Thanks for the tutorial! https://justbeccaz.tumblr.com/post/59203744750/guys-guys-guys-my-camp-half-blood-t-shirt-is-a

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