Silk screen printing is a bit intimidating at first, but it's easier than it looks and it's possible to set up a printing area in your own home for cheap. We'll show you how you can do it with a minimum amount of materials.
The basic idea behind silk screening is pretty simple and works similar to a stencil. Instead of cutting out shapes individually, you coat a screen in photo emulsion, then cut an image out using a bright light. The video above walks you through the process, but let's go into more detail, starting with the supplies you need.
Step 0: Get Your Supplies
First things first, you need to get your supplies in order. Here's what you need:
Step 1: Create Your Image
For your first attempt, start with something simple without a lot of thin lines. A standard silhouette using Photoshop is an easy way to go. You need a solid black image because its only real purpose is to block the light. The image you pick will be burnt into the emulsion in step four. Once you settle on an image, print it out on a laser printer onto transparency paper (if you don't want to buy a box of transparencies most copy shops copy onto a transparency for around a dollar).
Step 2: Coat the Screen in Emulsion
The emulsion comes in two parts: the sensitizer and the emulsion. Mix them together according to the directions on the bottle. Lay down your screen on a garbage bag. Pour a little of the emulsion mixture on the screen and spread it out on the screen with the squeegee. The emulsion should cover a slightly larger area than the image you want to print. If you need to, repeat the process until the screen is coated and you can't see through it. You want a thin, even layer across the whole screen.
T-shirt makers: I did some brief research on this and I found that one can get t-shirts printed cheaply at many vendors if it is one-side and one-color. Two sides or more colors and the price goes up very fast, making it hard to imagine being able to sell any at a profit. If you want to do your own printing, I imagine you have to buy or lease a machine, which may be thousands of dollars. Are you looking for a service or a machine? Many of the machine vendors have video tutorials on their sites, but I haven't really looked into this. Heat transfer seems to work on t-shirts and mugs, but different machines ($$$)