By Jennie Lennick

Easy Printing With Vinyl Stencils

Do you love the look of screen-printed products but dislike all the crazy chemicals involved in the process? This tutorial covers a chemical-free technique using stencils! With this method, there’s no need to process screens with emulsion or strip them with solvents! This technique is perfect for short runs of prints- if you want to create a permanent screen, you will need to use chemicals.    

In this tutorial, I used my Cricut Maker 3 to create stencils for my screen, but you can easily replicate this process with an X-acto knife and contact paper.  

Ready to get started? Let’s do this! 

This post is sponsored by Cricut and contains affiliate links where I earn from your qualifying purchases.

Gather Your Materials

Step 1: Create Your Stencil

I am using a graphic from Cricut's Design Space for my screen print. Look for simple images that don't have a lot of intricate parts. This smiley face will work great!

Create a template in Design Space that is the size of your screen. My screen is 11x13.

Scale your graphic so it is slightly smaller than your squeegee and position it in the center of your printed material. My squeegee is six inches, so I made my graphic 5 inches. I always recommend having at least two inches of space between your image and the screen frame.

I rotated my smiley 90 degrees so it would print vertically on my 11x 13 piece of vinyl. 

Load Smart Permanent Vinyl into your Transfer Tape, and hit play!

Step 2: Stick Your Stencil to Your Screen

Carefully weed your image from the background. The Cricut Weeding Tool made this super easy.

Place a piece of Transfer Tape over your graphic and rub it on with the Scraper Tool.

Peel the vinyl away from the backing and stick it to your screen. Smooth out any bubbles. 

Seal the edges of the vinyl with painter's tape.

Once your vinyl is adhered to your screen, carefully remove the transfer tape. 

Step 3: Practice Print

It's best to test your print on scratch paper before moving to your fabric. 

Lay your screen on top of your practice paper. Add a little pool of ink to the top of your screen

Flood your screen by pulling the ink down with your squeegee and without pressure. The purpose of this is to make sure the screen is completely covered with ink.

Pull down again, this time with a bit of pressure. Hold the squeegee at a 45-degree angle.

Carefully lift the screen and check out your creation!

Step 4: Print on Your Final Piece

Once you are satisfied with your practice prints, it’s time to print on your final piece! I decided to print my smiley face on this tee I ice-dyed. (Want to learn how to ice dye? Check out my tutorial!)

I printed the smiley on the front and back of my tee. I love this cute shirt!

Step 5: Heat Set to Make it Permanent

Heat setting is a super important step of printing on fabric. After heat setting, your fabric will be ready to be worn and washed! 

Allow your print to dry completely. If you’re short on time, try a hairdryer!  Once it is dry, heat-set it by ironing for 3 minutes with a hot, dry iron (no steam) OR tumble it on high heat in a clothes dryer for 30 minutes.  

Wear and love your shirt! 

Want more printmaking tutorials? Check out these articles!

Want to learn more about using a Cricut for your small business? Check out these blogs!

Have you made anything with a vinyl cutter? Share your projects, tips, and tricks in the comments below!   For more inspiration, check out all things Cricut here!


Designer, entrepreneur, and lover of crafts! Boss Lady at Jenny Lemons in San Francisco


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