Gheto Silk Screening

Hello all,

I am planning on trying to do some Gheto silk screening and was wondering if you had any tips for me.

I dont have any materials to do this, and am planning on using a custom made form from 2x4’s Nylon pantyhose as the silk part, Freezer paper with the wax on it as the stuff to cover up what I dont want to get ink on. And then just Fabric paint to put on the shirts.

If you have actually done any real silk screening some tips would be apprciated.

Also I dont have a design yet, I’m thinking about printing something simple to start, and Dylans Chick Magnet= Unicyclist sound pritty simple so I might try that or some sort of variation on it (Chix’s Dig Unicycles) Thanks

Mike aka Chex

The panty hose part sounds like a train wreck- screen door would work better, me thinks- or order some pro screen; 'tis cheep. Wax papper cut outs should work well- or just about any other material that you can glue to the screen. You can ‘paint’ rubber cement (?) directly on the screen to hand mask details, if you like. Hinge your frame to a larger board, and run a piece of material around the side and hinged portion to form a corner to register paper, or omit the register so that you can streatch t-shirts over the unhinged end. I hear they give away ink sqeugies at gas stations. ;). For multi-colour runs, Photoshop would be great for visualising the layers…

Don’t eat the ink.

-Christopher (and my Sister, Sara Graph)

Should I go for Big holes in the screen (like screen door material), or the tightest mesh I can find?


Go for the tightest mesh you can find. Some craft stores sell a do it yourself silk screen kit. I would also suggest using some kind of glossy paper (like a poster or something) instead of wax paper. Once it gets wet it will stick to the mesh a little better. The paper pattern can be taped to the frame easier than wax paper.
Spread your ink evenly across one edge and then use your squeege to pull the ink across the frame with one pass.

I was going to glue the wax paper to the mesh. I know this doesnt make for a really reusable screen, but I figured it should keep the print from sliding arround. And then Wax paper or freezer paper because its water tight and ink wont go through it…

I am no silk screening expert, but I did do some in my high school “fiber arts” class (yes, I really did take a class called fiber arts). We used two techniques. Both techniques we used involved using “real” silk screening silk.

For the first technique we used contact paper, you know the stuff that’s like a giant plastic sticker. We just used a razor blade to cut out the design. This worked well, but only a few shirts can be made before the contact paper starts coming off.

The second technique was called photo emulsion. This is what you want to use if you plan to make more then just a few. What you do is draw the design, or print it, onto a transparency. Next, you coat the silk with photo emulsion stuff. This stuff reacts to light. When you place the transparency on the emulsion stuff coated silk and place it in light the part that was exposed to the light will harden, the remaining negative will washout with water. Now you have a permanent reusable silk screen

Another method I have used is iron transfers. This is very easy and has pretty good results. You can find iron on transfers at most office supply stores or large computer stores. All you have to do is print you image, flipped, on the transparency from an inkjet printer and iron it onto you shirt. This method is very easy, but the image will fade faster.

What ever method you choose, good luck and please post you results.


I ended up making a frame out of some spare lumber I had arround the house, and using a sheet of particle board the same height as a removable base for the shirts. I got some fine sheer fabric from the fabric store, and used shelfing paper to make a stencle. I simply pulled the sheer mesh fabric across the frame, stuck the shelfing paper to it, then put the shirt on the board and I was ready to print. I picked up some flexable fabric paint (best stuff I could find) from a local hobby/craft shop and used a paper plate as my squeege

I told you we were talking ghetto silk screening here, nothing fancy at all, just look at the paper plate. That might be replaced by an actuall squeege if I can get arround to a gas station to pick one up. But the plate worked ok, and if it aint broke…

I had a little bit of bleeding of the ink on the fist print and I believe this was caused by 2 reasons, 1, I wanted to make sure the paint was all the way on and did 3 or 4 passes with the application. And 2, there were small area’s on the backing of the shelfing paper where the design was cut out that I dont believe were on well enough.

Next time I’m going for 1 pass to get the ink on, and also using rubber sement to adhear the stencle onto the fabric.

All looks good for mass printing though, I just have to make it quick or I’ll be making 5 or 6 different screens to print on.

Place your order now if you want one, Id be happy to send you one.