how to make screen print transfers

How to Make Screen Print Transfers

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast, a screen printing business owner, or looking for a cost-effective way to produce high-quality prints, screen print transfers are a viable option. This technique offers an efficient and affordable way to create designs that can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as fabric, ceramics, wood, and even metal.

In this article, we will discuss how you can make screen print transfers from start to finish, including the materials you need, the step-by-step process, and the answers to some commonly asked questions about screen print transfers.

What are Screen Print Transfers?

Screen print transfers are pre-made designs that are created using a screen printing process. These transfers are made by printing the design onto a special transfer paper, which is then heat pressed onto the desired surface. This process allows for the creation of high-quality, multi-colored designs without the need to set up and run a separate screen printing job.

Screen print transfers can be used on a variety of surfaces, including t-shirts, bags, hats, and more. They are popular for small businesses, DIY enthusiasts, and creative individuals who want to make customized prints.

Materials Required for Making Screen Print Transfers

To make screen print transfers, you will need the following materials:

1. Screen printing ink
2. Transfer paper
3. A squeegee
4. A drying rack
5. A heat press
6. A design or graphic
7. Screen printing mesh
8. Photo emulsion
9. A screen printing frame
10. A transparency film

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Step-by-Step Process for Making Screen Print Transfers

1. Create Your Design: The first step in making a screen print transfer is creating your design. This can be done using graphic design software, or by drawing the design by hand and scanning it into your computer. Make sure your design is in the correct format for your screen printer.

2. Print Your Design: Once you have your design, you will need to print it onto transparency film. This film will be used to transfer the image onto the mesh screen. Make sure your design is printed in the correct size and in mirror, as it will be reversed once it’s transferred onto the transfer paper.

3. Prepare Your Screen: Now it is time to prepare your screen for printing. To do this, you will need to apply photo emulsion to the mesh screen. This process will create a stencil of your design on the screen. Once the screen is covered with emulsion, leave it to dry in a dark room or closet.

4. Expose the Screen: Once your screen is dry, it’s time to expose it to light. This will harden the emulsion and create the stencil on the mesh screen. To do this, place the transparency film with your design on top of the emulsion-coated screen, and use a bright light to expose the screen for a few minutes.

5. Wash the Screen: After exposing the screen, wash it out with water to remove any excess emulsion. The parts of the screen that were exposed to light will harden and form the stencil of your design. If there are any areas that did not wash out properly, you may need to do touch-ups with a fine-point brush.

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6. Apply Your Ink: Once your stencil is ready, it’s time to apply the ink. Use a squeegee to move the ink across the screen, making sure to fill in all the areas of your design.

7. Press Your Transfer: When your ink has dried, it’s time to press your transfer onto the transfer paper. Place the transfer paper onto your design and heat press it according to the instructions provided with your transfer paper.

8. Peel Your Transfer: Once your transfer paper has cooled down, peel off the transfer paper, leaving behind the transfer design on the desired surface.

9. Dry Your Design: Let your transfer dry for a few minutes on a drying rack.

FAQs About Screen Print Transfers

Q: Are screen print transfers durable and long-lasting?

A: Yes. Screen print transfers are created using high-quality inks and transfer paper, which makes them durable and long-lasting. They can withstand regular wear and tear, washing, and heat transfers.

Q: What surfaces can I use screen print transfers on?

A: Screen print transfers can be used on a variety of surfaces, including fabric, ceramics, and even metal.

Q: Can I use multiple colors in my screen print transfer?

A: Yes. Screen print transfers can use multiple colors to create a more dynamic and detailed design.

Q: Can I create my own design for a screen print transfer?

A: Yes. You can create your own design using graphic design software, or by drawing your design by hand and scanning it into your computer.

Q: Is a heat press necessary for making screen print transfers?

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A: Yes. A heat press is necessary for transferring your design onto your desired surface.


In conclusion, screen print transfers offer a cost-effective and efficient way to create high-quality designs for a variety of surfaces. As long as you have the necessary materials and follow the step-by-step process above, you can easily create your own screen print transfers. With practice and patience, you can produce professional-quality prints with vibrant colors and intricate designs that will last for years to come.

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