The Great Jelly Roll Bash is on September 21st – Join me!

Custom Screen Printed T-shirt DIY

In support of my husband’s first Half Ironman triathlon in Oceanside California, I decided that I wanted to do something extra special, but what would that extra special thing be? I didn’t know what to do right away. And then it hit me – I can make him a Custom Screen Printed T-shirt. He loves unusual T-shirts. He buys the most colorful and outrageous shirts from a website called and wears them knowing that no one in our area will have the same one.

But how do I make my very own Custom Screen Printed T-shirt? The process is actually easier than you might think.

I bought a package of printable transparencies from Michaels. Using Adobe Illustrator I designed something “Very Vale” and printed it out on the transparency. I cut out the design using an X-Acto knife and a cutting mat making it a stencil. Then I taped down the stencil to the back of a screen printing screen and started production. First I placed the T-shirt on a flat steady surface covered with paper. I placed the screen on top of the T-shirt. Here it would be helpful to have two sets of hands or a Yudu because you don’t want the screen to move once you put the ink/paint on it. The second set of hands can hold it in place as you work. On each shirt, I squeezed a line of ink/paint above the artwork and then pulled it down with a screen printing squeegee and spread it across the stencil. Set the ink with the heat of an iron. I made seven shirts in all — different sizes and colors for different people. It was a great way to make T-shirts without having to deal with chemicals and emulsion. I think they turned out great and would definitely use this process again.

The Ironman took place a couple months ago. Vale did great! Team Titin had a fun time. We ate delicious tacos, enjoyed the peaceful beaches, and planned on stealing all the lush, steroid-enhanced plants to transplant them to my desert home – all while wearing our one-of-a-kind custom-made T-shirts.

Leave a Comment