By using a homemade screen print technique, you get a reusable template so you can make matching gear for the whole team. Using bleach instead of paint or dyes gives a simple but graphic effect that looks cool and professional. There are quite a few tutorials on the web for homemade screen printing and bleach-graphics, so I’ll just go over the basics and add some of my favorite tricks and tips.
For the screen print, all you need is some sheer fabric (cheap-O curtain fabric from JoAnn), NON-water soluble craft decoupage, an embroidery hoop, and a bold image.
Place your fabric in the embroidery hoop, trace your image onto the fabric, and then completely paint in the negative space with the craft decoupage. Let dry and you have an awesome, completely reusable screen print template. Now you’re ready to transfer that image onto anything and everything!
I wanted a subtle, worn, kind of retro-look to my shirts. To get a watermark effect, look for shirts that are “heathered”. They’re super popular this season, so easy to find. I bought all of mine at Old Navy.
I use Fun Foam sheets under my projects when screen printing. The foam is flexible, reusable, and doesn’t get soggy or let anything get through.
I always use a bleach pen. You can find them in the laundry section at the store. The bleach in the pens is suspended in gel, so unlike straight bleach from the jug, it stays in place and doesn’t run as much, or evaporate as quickly. Place your template in the desired location and use the “scrubbing” side of the pen to really press the bleach through the screen.
I always have my sink full and ready with warm water and about a cup of vinegar. The vinegar neutralizes the bleach, stopping the reaction. So after you’ve bleached the image, remove the screen and let the bleach sit for a couple of minutes. It really doesn’t need long at all. Three minutes seems to be the magic number for me. Then just submerge your project in the water/vinegar and watch your graphic appear.
Now just wash as normal and you’re ready to outfit the dugout! If you use a non-heathered shirt, your end result will be much more bold, as full-dyed fabrics bleach really well. But don’t stop at shirts! If you’re a true fan, you need to really declare your loyalty! Plus, the templates are reusable, so put them to work!
I picked up a drop cloth for about $7 at the hardware store.
and my three-year old and I spent a morning screen printing.
I let him choose the colors out of our stash of paints.
And just held the stencil in place while he did the rest.
And now we have somewhere to relax and cheer on his older brothers during their games this spring. Or just nap in the sun. Baseball screen printing, it’s a homerun! Come on, you had to see that one coming, right?!