I love using my Cricut to make shirts with vinyl. But some projects call for a different kind of look.

That’s why I tried out the screen printing method. And after a few tries, I’m hooked!

Here’s a simple how-to and a few things I learned along the way.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

This post contains affiliate links, which allow me to receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase. All opinions are authentic and my own.

What you’ll need to get started:

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

1- Screen printing frame


2- Screen printing ink


3- Squeegee


4- Painters tape


With the exception of the painters tape, the links above will take you to all the same products that I used.

I didn’t have any painters tape so I improvised with duct tape. It worked fine.

Cutting your design

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

You can cut your design on a couple of different materials. I cut my first design on white ‘sticky’ vinyl like you would any other vinyl project, with no mirroring.

I cut my second design on the leftover backing of the vinyl I used for the first design.

Some people use parchment paper.

Use whatever works for you… but I found different types of material should be used in different ways with your screen print frame. More about that a bit later.

Weeding your design

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

You have to weed your design the opposite way you would usually weed vinyl.

You need to weed out everything you want to see in the ink.

Notice my design? I’m a big fan of classic horror movies. Click here for more designs from classics like Friday the 13th, Halloween and Jaws. You can download the SVGs to DIY some awesome Halloween shirts!

Putting your design on the screen print frame

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

If you’re using regular ‘sticky’ vinyl, the best way I found to put your design on the screen print frame is to do it like you would any vinyl design… by using transfer tape to adhere the design onto the inside of the frame.

You also want to border it with something like painters tape. As I mentioned above, I didn’t have any painters tape so I used duct tape. Whatever you use, be sure to tape all around the image so that you don’t get any ink on the shirt outside the design.

You’ll see the other method I used to put the design on the frame when I used the vinyl paper backing a little later in this post.

Inking your design

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

Start by pouring some ink at the top of your design on top of the tape then pull the ink down with the squeegee to cover the entire design.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

A little bit of ink goes a long way. If you have some left over, scrape it off and put it back into the jar.

Completing your design

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

Carefully pull off the screen print frame and admire your masterpiece, then let it dry for a while. I let mine dry for several hours or a whole day.

Once it’s fully dry you need to heat the ink to set it into the fabric. I pressed my shirts on my heat press for 20-30 seconds at 300 degrees.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

You’ll also want to rinse your screen print frame and squeegee. I rinsed mine right after I inked each design and the screen came clean really quickly and easily.

My first shirt was by no means perfect. But I liked the rustic, imperfect quality of it. I mean, it is from a vintage movie after all.

Ultimate Cricut Crafters Gift Guide - 30 Accessories, Supplies & Vinyl Under $30

Reusing your design

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

Always wanting to stretch resources as much as possible, I learned you can definitely re-use the design before taking it off your frame. After rinsing the frame, I just reapplied ink to another shirt.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

This is a great option if you want to do the same shirts for a group of people.

Using different material

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

As I mentioned above, for my second design I used the backing from the vinyl that I had left over from the first design. I cut it on the cardstock setting. But since the backing isn’t sticky I couldn’t stick it to the frame. And without it sticking, I didn’t think there would be any way I could keep it from pulling up the design. So I placed the design right onto the shirt and put the screen print frame on top of the design.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

I was also kinda lazy and didn’t border the design with tape so I had to be super-duper careful not to get any ink on the shirt outside the design. Thankfully, I didn’t.

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

It turns out, I actually liked this method better. With the design on the other side of the frame, I didn’t have to worry about pieces of the design coming up or scraped by the squeegee.

'We're All Mad Here' design inspired by Alice In Wonderland - Scary Cute Halloween Shirt Designs - 2 New SVGs

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

What I learned

  • You need to work on a completely flat surface. An uneven surface could cause ink to be applied too light in some places or not show up at all.
  • A little ink goes a long way. Start with a small amount and apply more if needed. And put the excess ink back in the jar, it will last you through several projects.
  • Pull the ink down with the squeegee slowly. If you go too fast you might scrape up small pieces of your design, which results in getting ink where you don’t want it.
  • You need to apply somewhat strong pressure when filling in your design with ink. If your touch is too light, you won’t get enough ink through the screen and onto your fabric.
  • Make sure the ink is distributed across the whole design equally or you will see variations in the ink in the final design where it is thicker in some places and thinner in other places.
  • Make sure you have the design covered with ink the way you want it before you pull up your screen. If you try to put your screen back down for a second application of ink, it won’t match up exactly, making your final design look a little funky.

Experiment • Have Fun • Good Luck!

You might also like:

A Cheapskate's Guide To Getting A Cricut & How To Start Creating   Glass Etching With Your Cricut Or Silhouette   Classic Horror Movie Shirt Designs With SVGs   Party Photo Frame - Pretty Pusheen & Cupcake Party Ideas   Unicorn Party Printable Bundle   Unicorn Lollipop Valentines Free Printables

Screen Printing With Your Cricut Or Silhouette

25 comments on “Screen Printing With Your Cricut or Silhouette”

    • Thank you so much!
      For these designs, I used a couple of t-shirts I got at Walmart. They often have solid color, comfy shirts for about $5. But yes, you can pretty much use any type of shirt.
      Other sources I like for blank shirts are JiffyShirts.com and HappyCrafters.com.

    • Thanks! And great question! Since the boat sails and the center of the ‘Os’ weren’t connected to the rest of the design I had to place them onto the shirt separately in the position they needed to be before placing the screen on top of the design. Luckily for this design, there weren’t a lot of small pieces like that. But for a project with lots of small, unconnected pieces, it’s probably best to go with the sticky version. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for your interest! -Tracy

    • After the screen printing process, you need to let your shirt fully dry. I let mine dry for several hours or sometimes a whole day. Then press the shirt in your heat press with a silicone sheet on top of the shirt. Therefore, your press doesn’t actually come in contact with any ink. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for your interest! -Tracy

        • Thank you so much!! Yes, you can use an iron. Heat presses are best if you’re selling your shirts because they have more heat consistency. But I only used an iron for a while before I got my press and it does the job. 🙂

          • How do it iron it? From the backside? I assume you dont put the iron directly on the image….

          • You first need to let the ink fully dry for several hours or a whole day. Then when using a heat press or an iron, you need to put a teflon sheet between the heat and the image. Heat presses come with a sheet, or you can buy them here (affil link): https://amzn.to/2DbePvB -Tracy

  1. Looks great would love to try this. Since you said you liked the one with the design between the screen and the shirt, could you mirror the design and put it on the front of the screen? That way you wouldn’t have to handplace the pieces not connected.

    • The screen is made in such a way that you can only put it on one side of it for it to lay flat. If you don’t want to deal with hand placing the small pieces, I would recommend doing the first option I show in this tutorial, using adhesive vinyl and transfer paper. Both options work. I hope this answers your question! -Tracy

    • I can’t be sure, because I’ve only used screen printing ink. But from what I’ve read online, apparently screen printing ink is used for more consistency and quality because it sets into the fabric instead of just drying on top of it like fabric paint. So screen printing ink is supposed to last on your shirt longer. Hope that helps!

  2. Any tips on getting the vinyl to stick to the screen? I can’t ever get mine to transfer from the transfer paper onto the screen.

    • I didn’t have problems getting mine to stick. Perhaps it’s the transfer paper you’re using. I get very frustrated with Cricut brand transfer paper because it also prevents my vinyl from sticking on my project and pulls it up. I used this brand and it worked great with this project: (affil link) https://amzn.to/2q2vGrT I hope that helps! -Tracy

  3. How do you get the vinyl to stick to the screen with the transfer paper? Mine will stick to the paper and not adhere to the screen. So frustrating!

    • Perhaps it’s the transfer paper you’re using. I get very frustrated with Cricut brand transfer paper because it also prevents my vinyl from sticking on my project and pulls it up. I used this brand and it worked great with this project: (affil link) https://amzn.to/2q2vGrT And here is the screen I used: (affil link) https://amzn.to/2Ex6hAE I hope that helps! -Tracy

    • I would think so. It’s a lot like the second method I showed with the Amity Island shirt when I put a cut-out stencil on the shirt, then the screen on top of that. Although I have never put sticky vinyl on fabric, so I’m not sure if that would be difficult to pull up when you’re finished with the ink. Let me know if you try it and how it goes! -Tracy

  4. I’m assuming that if you use the 2nd method, it would only be good for one application..? Is the paper really messy to pull up with wet paint on it? Thanks for the tutorial. I have been really looking into screen printing recently.

    • That’s a great question. When I did the second method, luckily the design stuck to the frame and not the shirt. So there were no concerns with the shirt. And I did not try to re-use that design, but I would imagine you could just rinse the frame along with the design and use it again. It would probably depend on how intricate your design is. I hope that helps. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it! -Tracy

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