Mini Screens and Clothing Labels (A Tutorial)

I’m so excited to launch a small trunk show line this coming spring for my tiny clothing line….but phew, SO much work. My biggest concern with branching out from my online store was that I had to come up with a way to better label my clothing so it meets FTC requirements. I don’t like putting any type of tag in Lil Blue Boo clothing for comfort reasons (Boo is pretty sensitive to anything with tags)…..so I came up with an easy way to silk screen all the information using little handmade “mini” screens:

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
I found these little $1.00 wood photo frames at my local craft store and knew right away that they would make the perfect little screens. I purchased about 20 frames and I ordered a pack screen printing fabric sheets.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Step 1: I cut the screen printing fabric large enough that it would wrap just around the edges of the frame.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Step 2: I used binder clips to stretch the fabric as tight as I could across two sides of the screen.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Then added 2 more clips on the other sides. It is important to work across and around the frame to get the fabric as tight as possible.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
I stretched the opposite corner last to pull out every last bit of slack.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Step 3: Using waterproof wood glue……

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
……I used a brush to apply a thick layer of glue all the way around the wood screen, using pressure to work the glue through the fabric.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
After the glue was COMPLETELY dry, I removed the clips and applied glue to the spaces where the clips had been and then once the glue was dry I trimmed all the excess fabric off using a razorblade.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Step 4: I applied emulsion to each frame using a tiny squeegee (the one I am using is from the Yudu line).

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
…and stuck push pins into the bottom for the screen to rest on as it dried in the dark.

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
NOTE: You can find my entire photo emulsion silk screening tutorial here for all the details of this process because I am kind of glossing over a few details:

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Step 5: I set up my registered trademark, sizes, and clothing information for each label and printed it onto transparency film:

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Each label was exposed onto a screen. I made one screen for every clothing size that I regularly produce:

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Washing out the emulsion after exposure:

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com

Now with a little ink and a tiny squeegee I can easily add my logo, size, Made in USA and all the care instructions to every piece of clothing!

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Very professional looking!

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
It might seem daunting to make so many screens, but if you do it in an assembly line manner it isn’t as much work as you think. It took me one Nanny McPhee movie with Boo to stretch and glue all of these screens!

How to make mini silk screens (to make your own clothing labels or small silk screens) via lilblueboo.com
Total cost for 20 screens? $47

Comments

  1. Audra Lynn says

    It made me laugh to see you measure time in children's movies. I made a wreath recently that took me the length of Peter Pan. 😀

  2. Megan "the" Bug Creator says

    ugh!!! I have been trying to figure out how to label all mine and remain tagless! I was going to resort to transfer sheets which can get expensive! This is going to be so much easier and I can silk screen a massive amount of labels too on fabric so that i can tag all my softies easier!!! I love saving money 😀

    I too love the children's movies… my recent was two fabric christmas trees in the time it took to watch one jungle junction and a mickey mouse clubhouse!

  3. picknstitch says

    I really really, really MUST dive into silk screening. I'm not sure why it scares me so. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution. You can bet I'll be coming back here for info. when I do take the plunge. Thanks for all your advice on this!

  4. Sascha says

    Is it just me or does silkscreening seem way less daunting when done on such a cute mini scale? I feel like I could totally do that.

  5. Tiffany says

    My daughter hates tags too, they itch, scratch and irritate her. Good luck with your line in the Spring!

  6. Heidi Ferguson says

    Ashley, you continually amaze me. 1) with all your brilliant ideas, 2) with how much you can accomplish in a day, and 3) with your originality.

    I SO want a Yudu, so I'll have to save my pennies for one. I just love seeing you screen stuff all the time, makin' it look so easy.

  7. rahel says

    This looks somehow so easy and I would love to try it… but I am still a bit "scared" of it and I would also have no idea where to purchase the materials… maybe one day I will.

  8. Kathrin says

    You are a genius! What a fabulous idea! I was talking a couple of days ago with a friend about printing with fabric paints and had no idea how to make it work.LOVE your tutorial. Now I just need to find a place to purchase the sheets over here in Germany. That wont be easy. ack!
    Thanks bunches for your efforts to make an tutorial for us!
    And funny that you measure time in children's movies too!LOL

    Many greetings from Germany,
    Kathrin

  9. Jen Ell says

    This is awesome. I use the same principle and print the labels on thrift store tees and then cut them out.

  10. Pascale says

    Now that's what I call a cool tutorial! Though I had some woven labels made, I think a printed label looks much nicer. I really need to try this. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Sweeter Hours says

    I am so scared of screen printing. I don't know why. Perhaps the chemicals? I have been having thermofax screens made by someone on Etsy but its a pain to wait for them.

  12. says

    screen printing in mini, love it! it does make it seem less daunting. It looks like you print onto fabric squares and then attach that to the items, how do you sew them on?

  13. Terri Ann says

    What a perfectly timed tutorial this was for me! I was just looking to price out some tags but I realized I’d need to label multiple types of fabrics and was worried I’d end up having to buy 1000+ tags to just start my shop! And it’s much easier to adapt silk screen color to fabrics than having a bunch of different color tags!

  14. candace says

    http://ezscreenprint.com/
    i use these ezscreenprint sheets. it already has emulsifier. you just lay your image on top of the screen, take it outside in sun, bring it inside and soak in water and you’re done.

    though- i never thought to use a wooden picture frame- awesome and cheap! thanks!

  15. allsaints says

    Wow, this piece of writing is good, my sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.

Trackbacks

  1. […] It all starts with a one dollar wooden frame! Ashley from Lil Blue Boo made a bunch of pint-sized silkscreens so she could add tags to the garments she makes and sells. She was nice enough to share the entire process of building the screens, and I was completely fascinated! I thought you might be too. Although all the components for this project can't be found at the dollar store, it all starts with the dollar frame! Use these little screens for making custom t-shirts, greeting cards, fabric, and more. [how to make mini silkscreens] […]

  2. […] have always wanted to learn how to screenprint, because I love the results. I stumbled upon this tutorial for mini silk screens over at the Craft blog. I love it, and I can see lots of different applications for it. I’m […]

  3. […] NOTE: You can find my entire photo emulsion silk screening tutorial here for all the details of this process because I am kind of glossing over a few details: Mini Screens and Clothing Labels (A Tutorial) | Lil Blue Boo […]

  4. […] Screen printing has been on my Crafting To Do List for ages but it’s always seemed a bit daunting, this tutorial by Ashley breaks it down into steps that make it look a lot easy, I might just have to give it a go this year!+  {Image 2} […]