Silkscreening t-shirts for a Pokémon birthday

For my son's 7th birthday party, I decided to silkscreen t-shirts for all the guests to take home with them. Archer is really into Pokémon right now, so he and I looked through several books to find the right Pokémon character for our tees. We finally agreed on Fletchling. It's a cute, typically-peaceful Pokémon, and I felt it could be simplified fairly easily.

After I received my Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit and my t-shirts, I procrastinated for several days before even opening the packages. I haven't attempted a silkscreen print since the 90s, and I don't remember ever using drawing fluid, so I was pretty nervous about the results.

Eventually, I brought out the screen, and sketched Fletchling onto it with pencil. Then, with as steady a hand as I could muster, I painted with the Speedball Drawing Fluid. It looked like this:

After the drawing fluid dried completely, I squeegeed on the Speedball Screen Filler....

After the filler dried, I rinsed the screen under cool water, which dissolved the drawing fluid, and I set it out to dry again:

It came out okay, but, as you can see, there was screen filler in his eye, and the filler had also bled into the top of his beak and wing (I'm assuming my drawing fluid was too thin). With a cotton swab and detergent, I scrubbed the Screen Filler out of these areas, and then touched up the edges with Screen Filler and a paintbrush.

Once that dried, I was ready to print. I stuffed a piece of waxed paper inside each t-shirt to prevent the ink from bleeding through. I then laid the screen on top of the tee, added a thick line of fabric ink at the top, and my son squeegeed the ink across the screen and onto the shirt.

It was a fun process to do together, and we ended up with about 30 tees that looked like this:


Overall, it was a success. The kids seemed to like them a lot, Archer and I were able to create something together, and I tried a new art process.

Have questions or suggestions? Your comments are always welcome!