Written by Olivia Kanaley
These collegiate-inspired felt flags are a noteworthy way to celebrate your favorite graduate. And in the spirit of learning, I thought I’d explore a new-to-me printing technique and break it down into a handful of easy steps. This project is more involved than our usual DIYs but if you’ve every been curious about screen printing, this is the perfect introduction. Make several “Congrats” flags to wave at the commencement ceremony or DIY them for a festive wedding send-off.
Click through for the step-by-step instructions…
• Screen printing kit (you will need the frame, squeegee, drawing fluid, and screen filler—these can also be purchased individually)
• White screen printing ink
• Flag and hand-lettered templates printed on plain paper
• 12″ x 18″ piece of felt (we purchased here)
• Masking tape
• Fine paintbrush
• Large paintbrush
• Plastic spoons
• Fabric glue
• 1/2″ twill tape (3/4 of a yard per flag)
1. Place the screen face up (the Speedball logo should be visible) on a protected work surface. Place the lettering template face down in the center of the screen and use masking tape to hold in place. Flip over the screen and trace over the lettering using a fine paintbrush and drawing fluid. Allow to dry completely and remove the lettering template.
2. With the screen still face down on a protected work surface, tape off the edges with masking tape. Stir the screen filler until well-mixed, then spoon onto the screen, along one side. With the squeegee, apply slight pressure and pull the screen filler across the lettering. Do this only once, or you may start to remove the drawing fluid. Use the large paint brush to clean up any drips and fill any missed areas, taking care to brush away from the lettering and not over it. Set aside until completely dry. If necessary, apply additional screen filler to cover the screen completely.
3. Rinse the screen in the sink using cold water to remove the drawing fluid. Let dry completely.
4. Cut flag out of felt using template and scissors.
5. Place a felt flag on a flat, protected work surface and secure it at each side with masking tape. Lay the screen on top, face up. While holding the frame firmly against the work surface (an extra pair of hands is helpful here), spoon ink along one side of the screen and pull it across the stenciled area with the squeegee—hold the squeegee at a 70-degree angle and apply pressure so that the ink is pressed through the open part of the screen onto the felt underneath. Drag the ink across the screen twice more.
6. Lift the screen off the felt in one fluid motion, as though you are opening the cover of a book. Let the ink dry.
7. Using fabric glue, trim the flag using twill tape. Cut two 7″ lengths of twill tape and fold them in half. Glue to edge of flag where shown. Cut a third piece of twill tape, about 7″ long, and glue to the edge of flag. Let dry.
8. Tie flag onto dowel.
Tip: To make flags stiff, spritz the reverse side with spray starch and lightly iron.