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Home > Howtos > Screen Print T-shirt Using Two Colors and StencilPro or PhotoEZ

Circuit Bridge Project Guide - Screen Print T-shirt Using Two Colors

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Screen Print T-shirt using PhotoEZ or StencilPro stencils
Materials and Supplies
 • PhotoEZ™ or
   stencil film
• Liquitex BASICS Red or
   Versatex Bright Red
• Artwork (black and
   white computer
   printout will do)
• Versatex Ink, Black
   or Liquitex BASICS,
   Mars Black
 • Blank T-Shirt    • Plastic tray   
 • Exposure Frame    • Squeegee   
 • Plastic Frame
• Brush   
 • Plastic Canvas    • Palette Knife
This project guide will show you how to screen print a t-shirt using two colors, our silkscreen stencils (photoEZ or StencilPro), and your artwork.

Read all instructions before beginning your project. Read manufacture labels on products and supplies being used. Have FUN!
Project By:  Circuit Bridge
Time to Do:  3-5 hours
Skill Level:  Beginner to  Intermediate
Screen Print T-Shirt - Artwork Step 1: Prepare your artwork

First, we came up with the concept for our design, the theme and the color scheme. Of course, it is completely up to you as to what you want to express or portray in your artwork.
T-Shirt Artwork - Color Separation I
T-Shirt Artwork - Color Separation II
T-Shirt Artwork - Alternate Color Separation I
T-Shirt Artwork - Polar bear halftone detail
Step 2: Separate your artwork into colors and convert each color layer to black and white

Since our artwork has two colors, we only need to separate it into two layers or images - one red and one black. There are two ways of doing this:

1). Create another copy of your image by using the Copy [Ctrl+C] and Paste [Ctrl+V] (a new layer will be created) or by duplicating the current layer. Then, using the Pencil tool or Paint Brush tool, set to the color of your background, block out the parts of the image that are not the same color. For example, using the artwork in our example, we will create black color separation by removing or blocking out all red parts of our image and do the opposite for the red. An Eraser tool can also be used to remove unwanted areas of the image.
2). Select each color using the Magic Wand tool, Copy [Ctrl+C] and Paste [Ctrl+V] the selections back onto the image (a new layer will be created).

Alternatively, since we only have two colors to deal with, we can create the outline of our image by making a one color separation for the entire image. This way, we'll print the entire image in black, then do an overprint in red using our red color separation (see image on the left, "Separation I - Alternative").

As far as the polar bear, we have several choices: 1. create a stencil for each shade of grey, 2. convert it to halftone, or 3. use one of the graphics software filters/tools/effects, such as Rubber Stamp effect in Photoshop, which will make the polar bear more high contrast and solid; thus, suitable for use with our silk screen stencils.

We have decided to convert the polar bear to halftone. Halftoning is a method of representing shades of grey by adjusting the number of black and white dots. Most graphics editing software supports the creation of halftones. Remember: Grey scale is not the same as black and white in the context of StencilPro and PhotoEZ. Make sure your final drawing is truly black and white only, no grey levels in between.
Expose StencilPro or PhotoEZ stencilsPrint your artwork to use with StencilPro or PhotoEZ

Step 3: Print your artwork and make stencils

For best results, we recommend printing on transparency, available here. Plain white 20lbs. or less (laser, inkjet, or copy) paper can also be used. Instructions on how to make your stencils are here.


T-Shirt - Position your StencilPro or PhotoEZ stencil

Step 4: Position your PhotoEZ or StencilPro stencil on the T-Shirt shiny side down

Use the plastic frame to evenly distribute the pressure over the stencil, as well as to prevent stretching and distortion. We have also inserted a piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt for support and to prevent bleeding. Notice that this time we chose to print the outline layer (see "Separation I - Alternative"on the left).

T-Shirt - Spread Black Paint

Step 5: Spread Versatex Black or Jackard Black silk screening ink onto the stencil

Hint: make a neat thick line of paint. There should be enough paint to cover the entire image on the stencil.


TShirt - Apply Black Ink Step 6: Spread Paint evenly onto the stencil with the squeegee

Use the following tips to avoid bleeding and pinholes:

• Use plenty of paint.
• Keep squeegee at no lower then 45 angle. This will help prevent
   bleeding under the stencil.
• Use even strokes and go back and forth only once. Avoid
   the tendency to paint.
• Lift the stencil slowly. Lifting too fast will create bubbles
  and possible pinholes.

TShirt - Remove Stencil

Step 7: Lift the PhotoEZ or StencilPro stencil and verify that you have even ink coverage

You may need to carefully lower the stencil back on the T-Shirt and make another pass.
If we were making a one color print t-shirt, we could stop here; otherwise, read on to find out how to apply a second color.

TShirt - First Layer Complete Step 8: Rinse the used PhotoEZ or StencilPro stencil with water and dry

Brush and rinse with water. Use a plastic canvas to support the stencil during rinsing or cleaning screen printing ink.
TShirt - Spread Red Paint Step 9: Repeat steps 4 through 8 to apply

You can use the Liquitex BASICS Red, Versatex Bright Red, or Jackard Bright Red. Start out by placing the second stencil on the T-Shirt and aligning it with the image that we had applied using the separation II (see "Color Separation II - Print II" on the left).
TShirt - Spread Red Paint evenly Step 10: Spread Paint evenly onto the stencil with the squeegee.

Use the following tips to avoid bleeding and pinholes:

• Use plenty of paint.
• Keep squeegee at no lower then 45 angle. This will help prevent
   bleeding under the stencil.
• Use even strokes and go back and forth only once. Avoid
   the tendency to paint.
• Lift the stencil slowly. Lifting too fast will create bubbles
  and possible pinholes.

TShirt - Carefully Remove the Stencil

Step 19: Carefully lift the stencil, rinse it with tap water and allow it to dry before next use. Allow the freshly applied paint on the T-Shirt to dry until it's a little bit tacky

T-Shirt Complete Congratulations! You have completed the Screen Printing a T-Shirt Using Two Colors project!
The information in this project guide is presented in good faith, but no warranty is given, nor results guaranteed. Circuit Bridge, LLC disclaims all liability from any injury to anyone undertaking the construction of this project as a result of improper safety precautions. Since we have no control over physical surrounding the application of information herein contained, Circuit Bridge, LLC disclaims any liability for untoward results.

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