How I Designed and Printed My First T-Shirt

This was my first foray into screen printing it is an ambitious 5 colour print using equipment that I had made myself.

I began with a sketch of an old man set in his ways shouting at the telly.mean old man sketchmean old man sketch

The telly is out of view so the design needs another reference to give the narrative more clarity.  The image also needs to be cleaned up using graphic editing software.

7 Colour Screen Printed T-Shirt
5 Colour Screen Printed T-Shirt

So I added a remote control to the design and cleaned up the sketch by first scanning it into the computer and then tracing the image with a vector graphics editor. This is how it looked on the monitor but I still needed to compartmentalise the image into a series of film positives that could then be used to burn the individual screens for each colour.

Film positives
Film positives

This is how the screen positives look (one for each colour) stacked on top of one another. Each positive will be stuck to a screen that has been coated with light sensitive emulsion and then exposed to ultra violet light for a given time. The emulsion that has been exposed to light will harden but the light blocked by the screen ‘positive’ will wash out to reveal a negative image.  The screen can then be flooded with ink and a squeegee dragged across it to produce an image of the design.

Screen (after 'burning')
Screen (after ‘burning’)

This is the finished result on a white t-shirt.

5 colour screen print
5 colour screen print

I also created a seasonal variation.

grumpy old fart 3 colour screen printed tee
grumpy old fart 3 colour screen printed tee