Like it or not, winter is coming. The holidays are only a few short weeks away! I’m collaborating with Allie at Indiesew today to offer you a crafty idea for friends and family: screenprinted holiday gifts! Allie has an easy screenprinting tutorial on the Indiesew blog, but below is a list of everything you’ll need (besides the fabric) to get started on your screenprinting adventure. Then, be sure to scroll down to see the details of what Allie and I created with our printed fabric!
Here are the exact tools we used to create our prints. They’re all good quality materials that should last you quite a while. Buy them to make your own fabric print, or give one or more of them as a gift for the beloved craft enthusiast in your life.
(Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I receive a small portion of each sale at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!)
Speedball Screenprinting Frame: This guy is the most important part of the screen printing process. Screenprinting frames are available in a variety of sizes; this one is 16″ by 20″, which gives you plenty of room to develop larger patterns and printing areas. Allie has one of these, which she uses over some cardboard or plywood or something to catch the extra ink. She also has one that’s hinged at the upper edge, with the screen on top and a built-in base on the bottom. That one you can purchase here.
Jacquard Screenprinting Ink: Jacquard is an extremely trustworthy brand of screenprinting ink, which you’ll definitely need. (Don’t try to use fabric paint or other types of ink — this is the stuff you want, and it’s not overly expensive.) Allie used the Jacquard Professional line and I used the Versatex for its metallics. We didn’t notice much of a difference at all in the application, but different screenprinting inks definitely do vary in their washability, opacity, and methods for setting. Make sure to choose a screenprinting ink that’s okay to use on fabric, and read the descriptions carefully and follow all instructions.
Stencil Ease Blank 12″ x 18″ sheets: These thin sheets of mylar are what you’ll use to create your screen printing stencil. Draw directly on the sheet then cut by hand, or send through a Cricut for designing and cutting your stencil at the same time. Get a size that’s closest to your frame. These are 12″ x 18″, which would work for the 16″ x 20″ frame above.
X-ACTO Gripster Knife: Full disclosure: I used a regular X-ACTO knife to cut my stencil and my fingers hurt soooo bad afterward from the pressure required to get through the plastic. I’d definitely recommend this version, which isn’t any more expensive, to cushion your grip. (If you’ll be using a Cricut, you don’t need this.)
Speedball 10-Inch Fabric Squeegee: You’ll use this to squeegee the ink through the screen and transparency film onto your fabric. You want one that’s wide enough to cover a large area, but not one that’s so large that it’s hard to apply consistent pressure for the entire length of the frame. I like the 10-inch one.
You’ll also need:
- woven fabric, washed and dried without soap or fabric softener
- painter’s tape
- a big storage tub or garbage can and a hose for rinsing your stencil
- a flat surface (table, workbench, etc.) with some sort of lip to brace the frame as you’re squeegeeing.
Do you have your materials? Awesome! Head on over to Indiesew to read Allie’s super helpful tutorial for how to prepare your stencils and screenprint your fabric.
Screenprinted Gift Ideas
Once your fabric is completed, it’s time to make some screenprinted holiday gifts! For our demos here, I created a baby quilt and Allie made a tote bag. The same versatile technique created objects in styles that are completely different!
Allie’s canvas tote bag has a bit of an urban nautical look. It’s clean and simple, with the Indiesew slogan in a bright red and the base and straps in a really nice dark denim. (She also rinsed off her screen and made a few in some other bright colors!) I love how she elected to use grommets at the top! The printed words are front and center, and it will make a great conversation starter about sewing for whoever carries it around.
Next up is my quilt. I used metallic inks to create a little grove of trees. I moved my grove around on cotton fabric, rinsing it off after each application, to create a sort of improv repeat. Then I used some gold to hand paint a few extra gold trees on after screenprinting. After heat setting, I made my fabric (about 45″ square) into a wholecloth quilt, quilting horizontal lines about two inches apart and binding it in a metallic gray and gold double gauze. The whole construction process took me only a couple of hours stretched out over the weekend. It will make a sweet baby gift or, with the addition of a sleeve on the back, a holiday wall quilt.
Now it’s your turn! What are you going to create? Both quilters and garment sewists have a ton of options for screenprinted holiday gifts to make! Other ideas might include:
- Tea towels
- Holiday decor like stockings or tree skirts
- Home decor like pillows or lampshades
- A simple blouse like the Beatrix
- Stuffed animals or little quilts for kids
- Printed holiday cards or gift wrap (if you want to print on paper too!)
Each project is completely unique because you’ve created your own printed fabric. Get an assembly line going by printing several pieces to sew up at once, or use the same stencil to make different projects. Whatever you make, be sure to share it with us! We’d love to see what you come up with.