Art, DIY, East Bay, Featured, Life, Physical Art

Screen Printing Infant Onesies

While shopping for gifts for our family last Christmas, we came across a really cool screen printing kit made by Ryonet through their DIYPrintShop.com website. They offered a complete starter kit for printing either tshirts/textiles or posters/paper. We ordered the one that was geared towards tshirts/textiles, but the basic elements of the kit can be used for both. Since getting it in December, we’ve expanded our ink and screen options so we can do anything from tea towels to large poster prints.

In addition to us expecting a baby boy this July, our brother-and-sister-in-law are expecting their second child in a couple of weeks.  Always looking for an excuse to screen print something, we spent last weekend trying to figure out how to print infant/toddler onesies. Here is what we did.

Screen Printing Infant Pallet

First off, we needed a new pallet that would be small enough to fit a onesie. We got some onesies from Old Navy and brought them with us to Anthem Screen Printing San Francisco. They had all sizes of pallets from infant to XXL adult sizes. Originally, I was planning on just making my own pallets from a sheet of melamine (from Home Depot), but the $25 bucks they were asking seemed reasonable. The other sizes get pretty pricey and I’ll likely just make them if we need those shapes. After test fitting the onesie onto the pallet, we headed home and worked on the artwork.

Archer Artwork

We make all of our artwork in Photoshop with only the occasional use of GIMP. For this project, we created a new document that was 5″x5″ with a dpi of 300. Annie used the pen tool to draw the arrows and gave it a really cool hand drawn feel. We then exported it to a .PNG file and printed it on paper to gauge the sizing on the onesie. Once we liked the size, we printed it onto an inkjet film (transparency) and got ready to burn the screen.

Archer Artwork

Next step was to burn the image onto the screen. This is a relatively easy process, but has many steps and takes a few hours from coating the screen with emulsion to being able to burn the image onto the screen. I recommend you hit up YouTube if you are interested in the process. Ryonet has an extensive 3+ hour tutorial on YouTube covering all the steps. Another great resource is Jonathan Monaco from CatSpitProductions (great videos).

Infant Onesie on Pallet

We put the burned screen into our press and aligned it so the image would be in the center of the onesie. This was made easier by using a sharpie to put lines on the pallet that mark the center. We then load the onesie onto the pallet and align it using the center marks (you can see through the white garment  – might not be so easy if we start making colored onesies).

Teal Ink on Screen

Archer Print on Pallet

Annie wanted to make a custom color for this print, so we combined two plastisol inks (kelly green and royal blue) to create a dark teal color. We inked up our screen (156 mesh), and did a test print. It turned out great. We went with a 70 durometer squeegee and used a flood, push stroke, and then an additional clear stroke to make sure that the ink had been released from the screen. Using our temp gun, we cured the ink to 325 degrees with the help of a Wagner heat gun.

Archer Final Print

Here is the final print — pretty sweet. We’re already sketching out ideas for more onesies. Hit up our Etsy shop to see the recent additions – FoxandFarm.

 Archer Print on Onesie