Thursday, December 1, 2011

DIY Screen Printing

keeping it DIY... my hand-made one-color press

I'd been itching to design and print my own line of shirts from age 10, and now as a late-twenties illustrator, graphic designer, and MFA student with a curious energy to spare, the timing felt right.

I spent a couple weeks initially researching the logistics of doing this from my one-bedroom apartment while making up lists of materials and processes. 

Screen printing is deceptively complex... a massively multi-step process and an art in and of itself.   Much more akin to darkroom photography and traditional printmaking than making a quick digital copy, there are multitudes of steps and variables to account for within each piece of the broader puzzle. Very involved, in so many words.  Fortunately I am a very process oriented person and enjoy subjecting myself to masochistic projects. It's strangely meditative for me.

a small sample of supplies

A benefit of my working in black and white is that the drawings translate really well to one-color printing. As my aesthetic and process have gotten more consistent this year, it suddenly occurred to me that hand-printing shirts and posters would be a natural creative outlet for me (with added selling power) that would harken back to my undergrad foundation in photography and printmaking.

With a couple hundred bucks in materials and a handful of hours reading forums and watching YouTube, I got myself off to a good start, more or less.

The experience hasn't been without forehead slapping failures, but the learning process has been so rapid that any expense in ruined shirts is worth the price of admission. The way I see it, if I'd be willing to pay for a class, why not eat the cost in materials and teach myself on the job?

So after some early failures I pulled plans off the Internet and built myself a new one-color press out of 2x4s and plywood.  So far so good!

Check out my ETSY shop as I continue to post new items... 


  1. Hello
    Need your help to build a diy silk screen for t-shirts
    could you help me with the plans
    Hany Reyad

  2. Hi Hany, I found my blueprints out on the internet, a quick google search should bring you a number or options for a one-color press (more than I can offer anyway). Thanks for reading!

  3. hey brad albright.may i know how many watt is that bulb?

  4. You have done great work, I have my on DIY press.