Screen Print Your Very Own Unique Fabric | Skillshare Projects

Saffron Craig

Saffron Craig



Screen Print Your Very Own Unique Fabric



Fabric Design how to screen print your very own unique fabric using the paper cut technique.


Class outline

My course is divided into Segments





Cutting the stencil

Setting up the table

mixing the colours,


heat setting the fabrics. 

Project Title

Create Your Very Own Fabric By Hand.

Design and Screen Print your very own unique design.


Technical Infomation.



48t mesh screen for printing on fabric


Squeegee, long handles piece of equipment that squeegees ink through the screen onto the fabric.


Project Idea

In todays project you will learn how to screen print fabrics by hand.  

You will make two design using your own motives such as a flower as well as a stem for the flowers.

Cut out your design of a flower and is it to create your very own fabric

Project Description

Fabric design take your favourite motive and create a fabric. Flowers. Animals. Children.


The assignment for this course is to create your very own unique fabric using a random free form repeating pattern by hand printing your motive onto fabric. Your final pattern should be one or two color, printed closely together to create a beautiful unique fabric.

Enjoy drawing your motive by hand or trace an object from nature'

Such as a gum leaf/

, you can start by thinking about shilouttes or solid shapes, then choose a color palette that includes your favourite colours and you will end up with a fabric that you love.


When you're ready, begin uploading your process, your inspirational motives, sketches of your leaves flowers and plants, then your colours the first print and the last. Please share what you are creating. I am especially excited to see your final pattern on the student project gallery. A complete student project should include:

  • Inspirations for your first motive.
  • Sketches
  • Color palette
  • Motifs
  • Final Printed Fabric


Below are a few of the tools that will be helpful in this course.

  • screen and squeegee 
  • Screen printing inks
  • Teaspoons
  • Scaple (Sharpe knife for cutting)
  • scissors
  • A4 copy paper
  • masking tape
  • tea towel 
  • fabric 100% cotton or  cotton linen mix.
  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil and dark black pen
  • table to print on
  • Cloth to protect the table
  • Camera or Smartphone

Optional Hair dryer

Optional Iron and Ironing Board


Explore the attached resources


MY LINKS - see you around the web! :)






Trailer 2 minutes. Cool Music. Images of my work with snippets from the best part of my class. 



Hello I am Saffron Craig, I live in Sydney Australia, I am an artist specialising in print and pattern design. I have been hand printing fabric most of my life. I still ember when I decided to only work with print and pattern and was thrilled.

I have licensed my designs to large manufactures as well as run my own fabric business selling my fabric all aver the world. My fabrics have been turned into everything from Heirloom quits to bags, clothing and interiors.

I also love teaching and Screen Printing and fabric design has been my most popular class.

The more that I teach the more I evolve my class, so I do have a lot of tips and tricks to share with you. 

In my class I will teach how to screen print your very own design using the paper cutting technique.

In my class we will cover

design inspiration, Images of books and objects that I love. 

creating your own screen print, images of printing the fabrics. 

how to create the colours you want to use in your print- images of me stirring the inks

and then print your design by hand leaving you with a beautiful hand printed finished piece of fabric. 

Im really passionate about hand printing. Its



Images of fabrics I have printed, the equipment and a head shot of me talking about the class. 


I love colour and pattern and I’m inspired to make the world a more colourful happy place. Colour adds happiness to my world. 

Print and Pattern these days can be printed onto all and everything. This technique I am going to show you is super easy and fun and you will create long lasting beautiful fabrics.

If you are joining me today it’s likely that you have always wanted to lean how to print your own fabrics. Or maybe you haven’t printed fabrics for a long time and you are interested in a refreshing your skills. This course is suitable for any level of student. I promise you will learn a lot. 

In this class will cover how to create your very own unique motive from your drawing, specifically looking at organic images such as flowers, leaves and stems. I will demonstrate my own tried and tested  method of screen printing, demonstrating cutting your screens using the paper cut technique of and print it onto fabric by hand which you can do from your Kitchen table or introduce it as a new technique to your own studio practice. 

I would like to encourage you the end of each step of my classes to share what you are making, your drawings, what you are cutting out, as well as the colours you are using as it is really inspiring to other creatives also what you create will help the other class participants to learn, as you will when you see what is created by hand. 

Todays project is learning how to print a length of fabric by hand printing, making the screen form a paper cut. It’s a fun easy class where you will learn how to print your very own fabrics by hand. This class is suitable for all levels from a beginner to a more advanced student wishing to add to there existing practise. 

My goal is to inspire you in your own creativity, you will learn a new technique that you can add to your existing skills, in doing so you will create your very own uniquely hand printed fabric. With your very own unique signature on it. I am more than happy to share with you my very own expertise spanning most of my life. 

What is screen printing?

It use to be known as silk printing but the silk would often be eaten by moths so  with the invention of Nylon the silk was replaced. Now  Polyester is commonly used for screen Printing.

To print on fabric you need to use a 42 mesh which is fine enough for the ink to move through and makes beautiful prints.


Hi and Welcome back

I think that Its important to surround yourself with inspiring and beautiful things. Take your time to make your space interesting and inviting.

Most days I start with a walk around my neighbour I notice the flower and the trees leaves animals children all of these are reflected into my work.  

I have numerous sketchbook that I use to keep my ideas in also I just allow myself to dodge in there it doesn’t have to be perfect its just a habit of being in the creative mindset. Keeping a sketchbook and drawing in it. 

Show my various sketchbooks.

I set challenges for myself to keep me present and in the moment. Right now I am looking for the colour purple so I collect purple images. 

Show what I collect.

What I collect flee markets Ballet photo. Keep things around me that make me happy. New Objects. Cloth fabric. Marremekko. 

I also pin interesting projects to my Pinterest boards

I like to write notes in Evernote. 



Hi and welcome back 

In this unit we are going to turn our inspiration into a design. 


By drawing your our motive by drawing it onto paper and then cut it out. 

the design can be intricate if you are confident with your cutting skills.

Or you could choose a shiloutte shape. Which always works really well. 

When I apply a drawing to a fabric I start thinking of it in terms of a motive. 

Motives can be thought of in categories such as, organic designs, spots and dots, Geometric Designs, Line, floral, as well as animals. 

When you start to visualise the design that you are going to create take a moment to think about the scale, what size do you want your print to be? 

Scale Large prints look  bold and are really suited to hand printing. 

Perhaps your prefer a medium size motive and small as well as the liberty style prints. Its also nice to have a few varying scales as it creates visual interest. 

The larger the print the faster you will print your fabric as the surface will be quickly filled up. 


I enjoy playing with geometric shapes and enjoy the challenge of creating a new design with them. Triangles, hexagons and circles are so much fun to play with when printing fabrics. 

in this class I am going to create a large size motive and combine it with a smaller size motive. 



Placing parallel lines together creates a stripe.

Stripes can be traditional or modern, colourful or monotone. I particularly love using stripes for binding on my quilts.


Creating Stripes with by screen-printing.


Cutting paper into lines and rearranging them on the screen with varying gaps create fabulous stripes. Another quick way is by using masking tape simply by sticking masking tape to the screen you can create all types of lines in varying thickness. If you like lines with a more blurry edges I have had great results by ripping masking tape and I appreciate the torn edges as they create blurry lines.



Turning your shiloutte into a line drawing

Keep all your cut out pieces of paper in a careful spot.

Cutting Out Your Pattern.(video title)


Hello and welcome back, 

Now it's time to cut out your design. The paper that is cut away leaves a gap for the ink to print through.  The paper that is left behind stops the ink from touching your fabric or surface.

If you have a complicated drawing you might like to colour all the shapes you are cutting out in a black sharpie or textas so that you have a clear idea of what you will be cutting out.


Using a fine tipped scalpel knife cut out the design from the paper, which I have drawn my design onto on a green fabric cutting matt, sometimes I use the back of a sketchbook as well.

Demo Cutting the stencil left handed tip.Be careful to pull the paper other than push.

You can also use scissors to cut out your design just seal the cut with masking tape to prevent ink from seeping through.


Floating pieces.


More complex designs will have floating pieces that will “float” in your design. These pieces will not be joined to the outside piece of paper. Say an eye of an animal—this will be a floating piece, or the stamen inside a flower. Add marks so you know where to place the floating pieces. 


If I have a have a complex design I always draw lines through the image, which I can use as reference points for, when I add the design to the screen.


When I have a lot of pieces I labels the shapes with numbers or letters. Right to left and top to bottom. IA IB IC. Etch. It’s good to use a logical system that you enjoy using.


Very small pieces I usually cut out of masking tape to stick directly onto the screen, such as scales on a fish or spokes on a wheel, windows in a house.


Once the main design has been cut out from your paper add the paper to the screen with masking tape. Simply lay the floating pieces down on the table face up. Hover the screen over the floating pieces taking not of the reference lines until they are in the correct place and lay the screen down on top. Without moving your screen you can start printing. Once you have made your first print the ink will stick to the screen.


Diagram. (video)


Setting up your print table at home.


For years I printed on my mums dining room table. She would sit around and chat to me as I created all kinds of fabrics. Her design eye was terrific and I trusted her sense of colour. 

At the end of the session I would pack it all away into a boxwhich I used to contain all my equipment and it iseasily transported. I often do this today when I am traveling teaching Fabric Design workshops. 


Whether you are using your dining room table or a trestle table place a piece of fabric on your table as a protective tablecloth; a flannelette sheet is my favourite. You can masking tape the protective tablecloth into place, stretching out any wrinkles in the fabric.


At one end of the table place a few sheets of newspaper for you to place your inkpots, teaspoons and squeegee on, if the newspaper is soiled you can replace it with a fresh sheet. A tea towel is useful to dry your fingers on. Wet fingers will satin fabric while dry fingers wont.


Once you have set up your table then you can lay out the fabric that you are planning on printing on. To start with use a thicker fabric like homespun or a linen as it wont print through onto your table cloth. I like to print on a linen cotton blend. I would print on 100% linen but it’s quite costly.

Colour (video title)

Step Five Set up table and Mix colours



I like to use profession inks designed for fabrics. These inks are the finest on the market having had the pigment grinder three times. Making them very fine and easy to push through the mesh of the screens.

When printing please keep in mind that inks will  dry darker when they are dry. as the water evaporates. So if you are after a particular colour please try out the ink on some cloth first as a test.

Colour- pots of ink— colour- pantone reference book. 

In my work I use every colour I possible can. I just love colour. I never tire of mixing pinks and purples. I also love blue at the moment. 

its likely that you have a colour palette that you love. So stick with that today or else you can experiment with something new. 

My studio is a haven of colours bouncing off each other happily or subtle blending. I am a gypsy when it comes to colour and play all the time with new colour pallets. I love all colours and enjoy using them and watching what happens when they sit next to each other, some vibrate while others hum. Currently I love adding metallic inks to my fabrics as well as colour. I  have designed many ranges with soft pastel colours, which I particularly love to use when designing for young children. If you are not a colour person, I am sure you have your own colour aesthetic which suits your own style. If not why don’t you start with black and white for a bold and great print. 


Colour when printed on fabric behaves quite differently especially if the fabric is an off white. Printing on white fabrics always gives the best result as the white is reflective and the inks are can be pure colour. I do love to print on nature linen as well as it is so beautiful. I suggest that you have some time playing with various fabrics and experiment. Experience will guide you.  

I start 5 pots of colours and mix them, I prefer to work with cold colours and mix from those to create other colours. I do have a pantone book which I refer to but its not necessary just a bit of a luxury.

I use the three primaries blue yellow and red and also have white and black handy. Inks straight from the pot are usually on the same hue so they mix beautifully together.

Or you can purchase the colour you are looking for and use the colour straight from the pot. 


Inks will always dry darker, it seams once the water evaporates from the inks the colours are often a few shades darker. So if you are after a particular colour please dry the ink on some cloth first as a test and look at it in day light.



Hello and Welcome back 

For the most part printing your design into fabric can be breathtaking. Many times I let out a sigh of delight as I watch a plain piece of fabric  interesting with the addition of a print or pattern.


Imagine that your screen is a bowl; the inside of your screen holds the ink. The outside should remain free from ink. Though that is quite tricky, if you can manage this you will have a cleaner workspace. You can wipe down the outside with your tea towel as you go.


Once the screen with my design on it is positioned exactly where I want the first print to be go I can start printing.


I like to print systemically left to right top to bottom.


I place the ink into the top of the screen in a long thin line or the width of your design. I find that two tablespoons of ink is usually enough for the first print. Though I notice that if the design is missing ink I drop another tablespoon of ink onto the screen and squeegee it across.


I hold my screen with one hand by placing pressure onto the screen the screen tends not to move or slip around on the table as I am printing. Then with the other hand I hold the squeegee for printing. If you are printing for the first time why not ask a friend or relative to hold the screen in place for you.


With your squeegee tipped to 15 degree angle towards you—use the edge of the squeegee and press against the mesh on the inside of the screen then gently pull the squeegee to the bottom of your screen, if you can—watch the ink as it rolls down the screen, the ink will reduce as it is pushed through the mesh onto the fabric. Repeat this by bringing your squeegee up and rolling it down the screen a few times to make sure your design is full of ink.


This is a good time to scrape any excess ink in the screen and squeegee back into your ink tub. I like my screen to have very little ink in it at the end of each print.


Once you are sure the design is full of ink, do a final pass by pressing your squeegee down with a bit more pressure to take any excess ink from the design.


It’s great to have a thinly printed design especially if you are gong to sew with it. This will take a bit of practice to achieve for some. You need to have a gentle smooth pressure as you use your squeegee.


Once you have made your first print, pick up the screen and place it down where you wish to print your design again. I have printing 50+ times with one piece of paper.


It’s a good idea to keep printing, moving ink through the screen and not stop between each print as the ink can dry in the mesh blocking the screen permanently. Be especially careful of the ink drying in your screen on warm hot days.

Don’t forget to take a picture of your fabric and upload it to inspire the other creatives in others in class. 




There are so many ways to repeat your motive when you are hand printing.


Such as 

There are many types of repeats,

one directional,

a flip print, and

tight repeats.

This is my favourite part of creating my own fabrics. 



Drying Your Fabrics. 


Now is a good idea to think ahead! Where you will be drying your fabric? It is a warm day, sunny, windy! Ect Windy days are to be availed as you don’t want the fabric to flip and ruin the print.

I dry my fabric under the print table or pegged onto a drying rack. I find that against the skirting of a wall works well placed along the outside of the room where it won’t be walked on. Once the fabric is dry, usually within an hour I fold the fabric up. You can tell if your print is dry as its shinny when wet and matt when dry. If in doubt touch your design, if ink comes off on your finger then it’s wet.


If you are drying the fabric out side place it somewhere flat so that a breezy does not flip the fabric around, hold down the four corners of the fabric with weights sometimes a stone or anything that comes to hand. You need to do this so it doesn’t get caught in the breezes that can pick up your wet design and then stamped it back onto the cloth. It’s sad when this happens. All that printing ruined.


You can also use a hairdryer to dry the motives on the cloth to speed things up.




Hi and Welcome back, 

Now the the first layer is dry you can add the second print to your designs. You can fill the gaps of the fabric to create a wonderful all over printed fabric. 

You can change the gradient as you go, in the exercise I have added a teaspoon of white each time 

Taking care of your equipment. 


Hello and welcome back 

I have screens that are 10 years old and in perfect condition. They are easy to take care off, you just need to wash the ink form the screens quite quickly after you have used the screens. Especially if you are printing in conditions where the inks are drying fast. 

Your screen will look a bit stained after each use. 

Heat Setting 

All the prints needs to have the inks heatset into the fabric to make your design long lasting and also to make the fabrics colour fast. You can heat the fabrics with a hairdryer and iron or leave in the sun on a hot day which is great if you live in a hot climate. The manufacturing instructions say 1 minute heat setting. I like to headset each motive with the iron once it is dry. I prefer to iron on the back of the fabrics so that the print will not be damaged. 

Video Lesson Outline Screen Printing Fabric


Unit Title


Video Lesson Title

Video Lesson Type(s)



Talking Points & Key Concepts

Get Started   


Talking Head, Physical Demo

2 min.

- Who am I? What do I do?

- My favorite past projects

- Why I love what I do.

- What will this class cover how to create your very own unique motive and print it onto fabric by hand using a screen printing with the paper cut technique.

- What will students do for the class project?

Step one 


Scale and motive explained

Physical Demo of drawing the element

- Explain what students will create in a bit more detail. 

-You will draw your design onto paper. come up with two designs

Step two

Create Your Screen

Make the cut out stencil

Physical Demo of  cutting the drawing out

6 min.-

- Stanley knife cut out your design.

- floating pieces


Step three


Put the design onto the screen

Physical demo of the screen

2 minutes


- Attaching the design to the screen with masking tape

- place the floating pieces of the fabric


Step 4


Mixing the ink for screen printing.

Physical Demo of 

mixing colours

8 min

Mixing the colours 

Step 5

Work Space

Set up the space.

Physical Demo

2 min

Set up the table, newspaper.


Where are you going to dry the fabric?

Step 6



Physical Demo

7 min.

-place the screen on the fabric

-print from left to right or top to bottom, make sure that the screen doesn’t touch the wet inks.

-Basic ink to screen, don’t use too much ink

- Printing position the squeegee

- three swipes with the squeegee  Tips for applying the ink

Learning a basic repeat.

a half drop repeat

a full repeat

Same colour three times.

Print there colours over the top of each other. Maybe even print the 

_add the second Motive. 

roning the fabric 

Step 8.

Care for your equipment 


Cleaning your equipment. 

Talking Head

Physical demo. 3 minutes

4 min.

Wash in Sink

Dry the screen

Use your screen to print two colours and create interesting effects. Hot pink and chocolate.

See image.

- Reminder to create your own motives and upload them to the class project gallery

- Overcoming the fear of starting a project - thing about what inspires you

- Importance of committing and doing it publicly, 100-day commitme



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