Screenprinting at Home with a Vinyl Cutting Machine | Melanie Yarbrough | Skillshare

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Screenprinting at Home with a Vinyl Cutting Machine

teacher avatar Melanie Yarbrough, Hand letterer, illustrator, and designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Gather Materials


    • 3.

      Design Setup in Silhouette Studio


    • 4.

      Vinyl Setup


    • 5.

      Send the Design in Silhouette Studio


    • 6.

      Cut and Weed the Vinyl


    • 7.

      Apply the Vinyl to Your Screen


    • 8.

      Screenprinting in White


    • 9.

      Screenprinting in Glow in the Dark!


    • 10.

      Thank you!!


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About This Class


Join Melanie as she demonstrates her favorite technique for creating simple and professional screenprints at home; using a vinyl cutting machine or a decal you've purchased, create personalized tees, sweatshirts, tote bags, or greeting cards! Cut your design out of vinyl once and get myriad uses out of it.

She'll walk you through setting up your design for cutting, cutting and weeding the vinyl, applying the vinyl to your screen, and printing the design onto a sweatshirt. This is a great technique for printing multiples of a design for a wedding, bachelor or bachelorette party, or even printing your business's logo onto products you've made. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Melanie Yarbrough

Hand letterer, illustrator, and designer


Melanie is a hand letterer, illustrator, and designer based in Arlington, MA. She works in tech learning by day, and spends all of her free time creating beautiful letters and illustrations. She has a passion for bright colors, correct grammar, and turning her designs into products you can use. 


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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: welcome to screen printing at home with a vinyl cutting machine. I'm Melanie Yarbrough. I'm a hand letter and designer based in Arlington, Massachusetts. And today I'm gonna teach you how to turn this simple sheet of vinyl into this a screen so you can make this glows in the dark too. So I hope you'll join me today. 2. Gather Materials: Okay, So before we can begin, we should gather all of our materials. Um, I do plan to create a class where you can screen print using a design that you cut up a hand, but for this class will be using the silhouette cameo. If you have something like a cricket or really any kind of machine that can cut vinyl that you can put a design into, it should work. But for this one, I have the silhouette Cameo three, I believe, um, and pretty much just speed the vinyl into here, it'll cut the design out. Um, this is good for more intricate designs. Um, if you have ah lot of different small pieces in there, it can cut it out. Makes a lot easier if you're gonna do something like a serif of San Serif font in like big block letters. That should be pretty simple to cut out by hand. Um, but for this one will be using this machine. It's a lot. He's It's a lot faster. Um, other things you'll need. So the silver cameo comes with a cutting mat. Um, it's 12 12 so that kind of informs the size of vinyl you can use and how big your design can be, which will be doing a sweatshirt today. So it doesn't need to be any larger than that. Um, this is some vinyl. This is just white vinyl that comes in sheets, and I believe you just 12 12 as well. You can also buy vinyl and rolls sometimes a little more cost effective. Uh, this is from Amazon. She's a black matte believe it's, um and then we have transfer paper. So, um, a lot of the like vinyl things that you get if you buy, like, a bundle or something will come with transfer tape, which is a little too sticky. I find, um because you want to have, but you're we're gonna use it to move it from the backing tape onto the screen. So transfer paper is generally a little less tacky. I've also reused it in the second time's a little bit easier. This is my favorites from Amazon, so and it has the grid on it. So it makes it a little bit easier to measure, um, scissors that you can use for paper vinyl. Um, speedball makes this block out tape. It's similar kind of two vinyls glossy, and it's a little thick. It's good at keeping the paint from bleeding through. Um, if you don't want to buy this, you can also just use extra vinyl that you have or scrap vinyl. And then once we have our design, uh, we'll put it on the screen. So that's another thing you need. Um, I just got mine. On Craigslist, people often will be getting rid of old screen printing supply so you can find stuff for pretty cheap there. If not, you can look on Amazon. Really. Any art supply store will have it. Another option is to buy the screen. This, um, it's fabric sheets, and it's pretty much this, Um, and you can make your own. Yeah, you could buy the the wood frames themselves for a little bit cheaper than the screens and then just looking up on YouTube and see how to make it. I've never actually done it, but I have seen people do it in cross stitching hoops. Eso is almost pulled tot. If you're not gonna do it, use the screen the design too many times. It should be fine. Um, I have this. It's to clean a cast iron pan, but it's a hard plastic card, and it makes it easy to clean up the fabric paint. Um, so you don't waste it. This brings into fabric paint. I've been using speedball fabric paint. It works great opaque fabric for whites and lighter colors. Um, and then I got this glow in the dark pain, which I'm excited to use, um, squeegee I'll Scott to some Craigslist, but you can get it anywhere you could find screens, and that's it. Um oh, another thing, which comes with the thes machines. Something like a weeding tool that will just help us get the the little pieces out of the vinyl before you put onto a screen. So get all of your stuff together and then see in the next lesson and we'll get started 3. Design Setup in Silhouette Studio: Okay, so we're here in silhouette studio, which is thesis where that comes with the silhouette cameo. And you can, um, first, we're going to start in the design tab, which gives you kind of a mock up of the cutting mat. Um, and you want to just open the file? Um, and I've provided the It's relaxed. Underscore skill share dot pain in the your project tab. Um, and you can use that if you like, for your project, or you can create your own design. Uh, my hand lettered this inappropriate app on iPad. Um, but you can just use a thought. You love really anything. The one thing to remember is, if you're going to use text, you need to flip it. So the way we're gonna put this on the screen is it's gonna be backwards so that when we print put the ink through it, it'll print how it looks on the screen right now. Um, said eligible but to do to flip it, we just right click and then flipped horizontally. Perfect. So, um, this is convenient cause it gives you a little measurement. Um, that's how big the text is. Do we want this a little bit smaller, Um, seems about good, and then leave it there. And then because we brought this in, we need to trace it. So over here and there's trace panel that you can open select trees area and then just reverb and select around your design. And then there are these options. Just click trace the entire image. Um, and you can see this red, thin red line that goes around it, and that indicates where it will cut. Um, so now that we have this ready, we can jump over to the Seine Tab top. Right. Um, there are all kinds of materials have been cut with this machine, but we're gonna be using a glossy vinyl. So you want to select that? What happens if you select the wrong material is that it will either cut too deep or not. Deep enough, um, and one way you can double check is down here. They have these options for test cut. Um, and all of these instructions come with your machine. But if you just want to make sure that it's gonna cut enough, but not too much do a little test cut. It'll cut a little. I believe it's a square with a triangle inside. So you can even check and make sure that the final comes out. Um, the way it would here. So when you select the material, you want to see these red lines everywhere that it's going to cut and then we'll just weed out the final extra vinyl. Here, Here, here. So this is good. Um, I have an auto blades. That's usually what I use. Um, okay, so my civil, it is not actually connected right now, I want to jump over and just show you how to set up the vinyl before we actually print this . So check out the next lesson, and then we'll come back into the silhouette studio and finish it up. 4. Vinyl Setup: Okay, so, um, I just wanted to show you this set up with the vinyl before we cut it. Um, I have my silhouette cameo already. Um, and it has an auto blade. And there. All right, so this is the cutting map, this little protective sheet off. And take your vinyl, This is or a coal 6 51 and they just come in sheets like that. I got mine with a bundle. Masilela cameo bundle came with vinyl sheets on all kinds of colors. So just stick it on there. It should stick to the map. And then there are these arrows over here, little blue arrows, and you just want to line up the edge of the cutting map with that, um, go kind of sit, but it snugly and then you'll hit over here. It says, load and unload. Just click. Make an ugly sound and load it up on their. So now it's ready to cut the vinyl. So what we'll do is we'll jump back into silhouette, cameo into the silhouette studio and click Send and then I'll show you had cuts 5. Send the Design in Silhouette Studio: Okay, so we're back in silhouette studio. We have our design traced. You see the red lines where we want it cut. We have our correct material chosen. And all we have to do is send, um, whether it's hooked up via Bluetooth or cord. Um, it'll show up. Status is ready. Double check that your text has been flipped that it will be legible when you screen printed and then click start. Um, and it'll make some ugly noises. It will cut the vinyl for you, Um, which I'll show in the next video. 6. Cut and Weed the Vinyl: Okay, so I am going to hit send, and I'll show you how it cuts. And then, well, we the vinyl radar screen. And then we can screen for it. E just click start auto Blade sets itself up time for whatever material you chose. Teoh. Okay, hate mounds cutting. It's pretty cool. You. I mostly use my machine for screen printing designs and put them on mugs. Really? Anything along kinds of material it cuts. So you can just use it for the way the final and use the vinyl itself is designed. Yes, they all kinds of different kind of final, like permanent indoor. Um, okay, so now you'll it's finishing working. And then the little screen over here says Unload, spits it out and then can kind of see lines that it created. Push this out of the way, Turn it off on, then we can weed for vinyl. Um, e usually like to weed it out on the cutting mat and then all to get off and cut it. So this is pretty simple. You'll show you I just use this little tool. You could probably use a toothpick, too, if you didn't have one. Um, and it pulls the vinyl and then you should be able to just pull it up. It's pretty cool. Um, I usually have little piece of scrap paper around to put the final sheets, the extra buying alone. Um and then So I think I said it backwards when I was showing it to you in silhouette Studio that we would read out of the extra vinyl, which is not the case. What we're doing is we're weeding out the letters that we just cut out so that when we prince, when we put it on our screen, that is what that's what were the equal goes. So if you wanted the relief, if you wanted the outside, um, and the the letters themselves to not have ink on them, you would whole the out the extra vinyl out leave these letters as the vinyl so that they would resist the ink when you push it through. Whether this will just be printing text, what we have are, well, vinyl weeded out, and then you can just take it off screen, make sure you put your protective she back over. Otherwise it'll attract flint stuff. And then, um, I usually just like cut around it, and then you can use the extra vinyl as tape. If you like, You can also just place this whole thing on there. If you cut, it makes it a little bit easier for the transportation. So next video, we'll apply the troops for cheap and then put our design on our screen. 7. Apply the Vinyl to Your Screen: So now we're ready to transfer our final design on tour screen. I've cut out a piece of the transfer paper. That's the same skies because my design and how this works is you want to pull the edge, Uh, on the side with the grid is the sticky side. So basically, I like to put it on a corner, match it up with a corner, and then just pull the backing tape off. Um, and Leif laugh as I go. No, you stillson bubbles, but not too many. And then we're gonna use our card, the cast iron large card to you. Make sure this is really on. So this is pretty simple design with more intricate designs is very important because might have little tiny pieces that you want to make sure you catch, Um, so this should be good. You can also kind of check it as you go, so we'll pull up the vinyl in a corner. Um, you also wanna have your screen ready so you can put it on there as soon as you pull this up. So I'm using this kind of big screen. I don't really need this size, but that's what I have on, but you want to do so there's see how there's a lip here. We're gonna apply the design to the back of the where there is. No, but you can see that it's gonna print, um, eligible. So have this upside down ready to go start pulling your vinyl off. So it's sticking to the transfer to, um and there might be instances where doesn't stick and you just push it back down and, um, run the card over it a few more times. This one worked, so know the final. It's sticky, and you just want to place it on your screen usar card again. Really help it here to the screen. And then you're gonna wanna pull be, um, transfer tape. So, like I said, with newer transfer tape, it's pretty sticky. So you want to help it along so you can kind of see here, um, pulling this back. This piece of the vinyl wants to go with it. So I use this card a lot for holding things down as it pulled a to keep up. And you just want to be patient. The in general, when I do it slowly and keep pushing the vinyl back down. I don't get too many bubbles, but vinyls pretty forgiving, doing pretty well. So yeah, it took me a few tries to get really comfortable with this process. Um, I would suggest starting with simpler designs such as this one, Um, and then getting more intricate as you go because is this part itself can be very frustrating when you're trying to get very intricate designs to stay down. Um, So, like I said, this transfer table work a couple more times at least one more time, so I usually just stick it back onto keeper backings. It doesn't want to cooperate right now, but just those side cool. So now we have our screens can see how it'll print, Um, And on the back, we're gonna put use extra final that you have or that blue tape that I showed you. Um and I'm just gonna go through, cut these pieces, um, and fill in this base because over gonna do is put the ink here and the mother squeegee. Pull it through. So if you have these open spots, thanks. Gonna go through there too. So let's cover all that up. And that would be good to go. It's, um, this first a lot easier. It's just squares of vinyl. Just kind of fill it and where you can trying not to waste. I needed travails, if you can. Okay, - so this method, um, using vinyl like this, I find it works best for designs that you're gonna use over and over. Um, set up for the screen is a little time consuming, and the mature used the cost. Kanada. So I would suggest doing this for, uh if you want to make multiple T shirts if you want to make a bunch of tote bags. I recently made kopecks for factual right party. I went to, um so things like that where you're gonna make several at a time. Um, this would also were four. If you're going to make, um, cards, you could use, um, a smaller screen and then use ink for paper, and then you could make postcards or sets of no cards. The other class I'm gonna create, which is where you cut the design by hand. It doesn't hold up as well because you're using paper, but, um, that would be good for just one off projects This is better for because the vinyl holds up so well for multiple uses. The beauty is also after May make this. Today we can rinse off the screen and just save it. Um, if you want, if you think in the future you'll want to use the same design on. And that's also the plus to having multiple screens, because then you can just have some waiting. This is what it looks like. Not particularly pretty. But you just want to make sure all of the edges are sealed off. Um, and now it can screen for it. So all right, see in the next lesson. 8. Screenprinting in White: Okay, Now we are ready to screen, print or design on a T shirt, sweatshirt, whatever you decide. I'm going to do that blue sweatshirt. So I laid it out, um, on my table, and I have my sweet you here my card. Clean up my design on the screen and you just wanna lay out your shirt as flat as possible . If you have a light colored shirt, I would recommend putting some kind of cardboard underneath so that it doesn't bleed through. But this is a thicker sweatshirt, so I'm just gonna do it as is. So you want to center your design as much as possible? Um, and I like to use, um, plastic spoons toe, lay it out. You can use your card or whatever to lay out the fabric paint. Um, so I have this white opaque fabric paint, which I'm gonna lay down first, and then I'm gonna do the glow in the dark on top of that, Um, so I have a little cart over here, which I like to use, but, um, I recommend using, like, a paper plate, something that you don't mind getting paint all over, so I just have my pains over here. Just give it a quick little stir. Um, and the general rule is you can't have too much pain on your screen. Um, you can clean it off later. It's better to have too much or you can't have too much. Um, better to have more than two little, um, So even though my design, even though the top of my design is over here, I'm going to screen print from one side to the other. You can really do this anyway. You want? Um, I just make sure your squeegee is the the same with or larger than your design. So the trick to screen printing is you want even pressure? Um, a lot of pressure. And you want to do one swift motion, We're gonna go towards us away from us and then towards us again. And then we'll lift the screen and then flood the screen, which just keeps, um, the ink from drying in our design. Right. So here we go. Just you want to hold your screen unless you have it bolted down. Um, using clamps, which I don't pull towards you and then away once more. Do it one more time just to be safe. Okay? Lifted it and flood the screen. That's especially important if you're gonna read, do more than one designed at a time. Um, this one. I'm just gonna clean off the screen, actually. And then I'm gonna put in the, uh, glow in the dark paint. So to clean us off, just use your card and wait, boss, into your paint container. I just wanna waste as little as possible. Um, and one of these jars will go very far if you make sure clean it up each time there, and then you can just go through clean the paint off the screen like that. All right. So I'm gonna go clean off my screen. This pain is non toxic, and I will just sprayed in my kitchen sink with some warm water, and then I'll let it dry off, and then I'll do the, um, the glowing dark. But I just wanted to show you this, um, how it turned out. So there's our design. Wait, um, and the opaque is good, because it actually it shows up really well on darker fabrics like this. So I'm gonna go rinse off my screen, let it dry, and then we'll come back and do the glowing in the dark, and then we'll be done 9. Screenprinting in Glow in the Dark!: Okay, so I cleaned out my screen, I let it dry. Um, and now I'm just going to set it back on to my sweatshirt, and you just wanna line it up? Um, with the design that's already been screened, printed and almost there. Thank that's it. OK. Yeah. So you just want toe get it as close as possible. Um, okay. She pushed down on it. Make sure it's not, You know it harder than I thought it would be. Okay. Perfect. No. Okay, so now we have our well in the dark paint, and I just want to say, if you want ah, white design or just one pain, that's fine. I just wanted to show you, in case you wanted to do something like this. Um, the white underneath helps the glow in the dark show up. Um, you could also experiment and try to do, like, a an invisible design and just do the glow in the dark. I haven't tried that, but this method works well, So skit are glow in the dark pate here. Andi, sweetie. All right, So now you want to do the same thing? Um, strong pressure, even pressure back. Enforced So go one. You on this one. I'm just gonna keep go back forth a few times because you can't really see the glow in the dark, but I want to make sure it's on there and show me design emitter. Okay, that should be good. So now I'll just clean off excess paint like before, and you want to let your designed dry. Um, your paint will usually give you how long it takes to dry. I usually like to do it overnight. Um, about 24 hours. And then, um, you're paint will have the instructions if you need to, Like heat said it. Usually with speedball fabric paint. You'll need to turn it inside out. And I earned the backside of it on, and that'll just heat said it. Some of them You can, um, dry them in your dryer, and it will have the same effect. Otherwise, after that, you should be able to machine wash them, um, and the last for years to come. So upload your designs, upload, um, your process and you're finished garments. I am excited to see them. All right. Let me know if you have any questions. 10. Thank you!!: here, It iss. I just wanted to say thank you for taking this class. Um, hope it was informative. And I hope you need something. Um, if you made something, whether or not it's cool in the dark, I hope you'll upload a photo of your process on. Let me know if you have any questions at all on the community board. Otherwise, good night.