Mastering the Art: Top Tips for Cutting Paper Stencils in Screen Printing

Mastering the Art: Top Tips for Cutting Paper Stencils in Screen Printing


Screen printing is a versatile and creative craft, and cutting a paper stencil is a fundamental skill every enthusiast should master. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your technique, these expert tips will guide you through the process.

  1. Choose the Right Paper: Select a sturdy, high-quality paper for your stencil. We use either copy paper, Yupo Paper or Freezer paper as they are less likely to tear during cutting.
  2. Design with Simplicity in Mind: Keep your design relatively simple, especially if it’s your first time creating a stencil. Intricate details can be challenging to cut and may not transfer well onto the substrate.
  3. Use a Pencil or Fine Marker: Sketch your design lightly on the paper with a pencil or fine marker. This allows for easy adjustments before committing to the final cut. Or Download one of our free designs
  4. Focus on Negative Space: Remember that you’re creating a stencil, so you’ll be cutting out the areas where you want the ink to pass through. Pay attention to the areas you’re leaving intact.
  5. Secure Your Paper: Use a Low Tack tape to secure your paper stencil to a clean, stable surface. This prevents it from moving while you’re cutting.
  6. Sharp Cutting Tools: A precision cutting tool like a craft knife is crucial for clean, accurate cuts. Ensure the blade is sharp for the best results.
  7. Start with External Edges: Begin by cutting the outer edges of your design first. This provides a clear outline and helps establish the boundaries for your stencil.
  8. Work from Large to Small: Move from larger areas to smaller, finer details. This approach helps maintain stability in your stencil as you progress.
  9. Use Short, Controlled Strokes: Instead of trying to make long, continuous cuts, use short, controlled strokes. This gives you better control over the cutting process.
  10. Rotate the Paper as Needed: If the design has curves or intricate parts, it may be helpful to rotate the paper rather than trying to manoeuvre the cutting tool.
  11. Check and Adjust Frequently: Regularly hold your stencil up to the light to check for any missed cuts or areas that need refining. This helps catch any mistakes before you move on.
  12. Test the Stencil: Before using it on your final project, do a test print to ensure the stencil covers the area correctly and that there are no leaks.

By mastering the art of cutting paper stencils, you’re unlocking a world of creative possibilities in screen printing. Remember, practice and patience are key. With time, you’ll develop a steady hand and an eye for detail. Happy crafting! 🎨🖌️

Brand Focus: Speedball

Are you ready to dive into the colourful world of screen printing with Speedball? Speedball, is a renowned name in screen printing craft industry, and we are proud to be distributors. Join us as we unveil more information about the brand and the products they offer.

The Heart-warming Tale

Speedball Printing is like a time-traveling artist’s dream come true! It all started back in 1899 as the “C. Howard Hunt Pen Company,” crafting those cool dip pens. But as the years passed, they didn’t stop at pens. Nope, they added all sorts of stationery, office supplies, and even furniture to their bag of tricks.


Then, in 1997, they renamed and transformed into “Speedball,” after a brand they’d launched back in 1915. Today, Speedball is like an art supply wonderland. They’ve got everything for printmaking, all the awesome writing tools, and a treasure chest of art materials. In a nutshell, Speedball is the crafty chameleon of the art world, constantly evolving and offering artists a rainbow of creative possibilities! Here are Crafty Screen we are a distributor of their printmaking products, specifically screen printing and block printing.


However, Speedball is not just about ink and tools; it’s about the heart-warming story behind each product. Their motto, “Together, We Make,” celebrates the interconnectedness between the Speedball team, it’s distributors, artist partners, and the community they serve. Every product reflects the dedication and craftsmanship invested in its development. 


As a distributor, we value our association with Speedball not just for the quality of their products but also for their unwavering commitment to the understanding of the screen printing community and the support they give. 

The Treasure Trove of Products

Let’s delve into the treasure trove of products that Speedball offers. From vibrant inks that bring designs to life, to versatile products that empower your creative process, the Speedball range provides a comprehensive choice of tools and materials. Whether you’re a beginner embarking on a creative journey or a educational professional seeking the tools to support your teachings.


We are delighted to present Speedball’s extensive product catalogue, which encompasses a wide range of offerings, a treasure trove for all crafters.


Our favourite Products

It’s like having access to a world of creativity at your fingertips. In conclusion, Speedball is a well-known brand name across the globe, and you can find it right here at Crafty Screen. If you have any questions about the products, feel free to get in touch with our team who will be happy to help you bring your ideas to life.




Berkshire Printmakers are husband and wife – Sarah and Cipriano Martinez,  who work together teaching silkscreen printing workshops and courses for anyone from 5 years upwards to 95, in schools, colleges, art centres and even festivals.

They print on both paper and textiles, and there most popular workshops are t-shirt printing,  even running Print and Sip events  giving people the opportunity to print, and be creative.

photo of man removing tape from screen

Photo credit Si King

How and where did you learn to print? 

Cipriano studied printmaking as part of his Fine Art degree in Venezuela.  After returning from studying his master at Chelsea College  of Art, he went on to teach screen printing to Fine Art degree students at the Reveron Institute  and the architecture students at the UCV in Caracas, Venezuela.

I studied Art Textiles GCSE at school and was introduced to screen printing then. Our school had strong history of  printing and had a vacuum print table,  this is where I learnt how to screen print lengths of fabric with my own repeating patterns, our teacher Miss Drown was an  inspiration.  In the holidays I would print t-shirt commissions from friends inspired by their favourite album covers.

photo of berkshire printmakers students

Why Screen Printing?

Screen printing runs in our blood, both of us had printmakers in the family, my Aunt studied textile design at Loughborough Polytechnic and the RCA in the 1960s, Cipriano’s uncle in Venezuela ran a print business and he remembers him hand printing the posters for the bull fights.

It was this strong love of silkscreen printing between the both of us made us want to pursue it further and to deliver workshops

Where do you work from?

Cipriano has a studio where we develop our own printmaking practice and plan the workshops. During lockdown our back garden was our studio.  We have run our workshops in fields, halls, under gazebos in the grounds of Winchester cathedral, a long as we have access to water we can print.

Why did you start Berkshire Printmakers?

When our boys were small, we were gifted a large batch of wooden screens, and squeegees.  We started running workshops in the boys’ primary and subsequently other local schools. We were then asked to set up the screen print studio at our local secondary school.  In 2010 I studied for a PGCE in Art, during this year on my placements, I saw how little screen printing was being taught in schools.  Leading on from the workshops and after spending most of Covid in the garden printing, Cipriano and I formally set up Berkshire Printmakers .

We decided it wasn’t enough to teach primary and  secondary school students, we wanted  to make screen printing accessible to more people by taking it in to the community. Now we teach in art centres  and run workshops for Diwali parties, birthdays, youth and church groups and print with adults, disabled people and families .

What is your favourite printmaking product?

We love using aluminium screens from Crafty Screen.   We used to use wooden screens and they were a nightmare to dry and held ink and water in the corners, aluminium screens don’t do this. We have been using the re-stretching service through Crafty Screens, this means rather than using nasty chemicals to clean the screens, we get the heavily blocked screen stretched instead.

The development of water based inks has been fantastic.  They are safe for school environment; in primary school we chose the low odour inks too, as younger children don’t like strong smells.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

For both of us it is our teaching – students get really excited about the physical act of creating through making  They love the immediacy of the process, and we never get bored of seeing people’s faces when their print is revealed upon lifting the screen.

The big moments – selling out 15 t-shirt printing workshops and printing over 150 t-shirts at Carfest 2023.

Small moments – I caught our 90 year old  workshop participant at Marlborough Summer school WhatsApping photos of her prints to her son in Texas.

What will we be seeing from you next?

By the end of the year we will have a secondary school’s print studio set up and ready for the new GCSE and A level fine art and photography students. All the equipment was bought from Crafty Screen. We are looking forward to seeing the students results.

In 2024 we are returning to my roots and we will be running dyeing and fabric printing workshops.

Environmental issue – I have joined the NSEAD Art Education for the Environment & Climate Emergency group, and this has made us look at our own practice. The group has prompted us to offer workshops around environmental issues and let the students use second-hand clothing within workshop.  Additionally, we have started working with the local Swap Shop, dyeing, and printing clothes which would otherwise be thrown away.

This year Screen printing was listed as a Heritage Craft, this feels like validation for all the education and workshops we are running.  We have joined the list of artists and we are interested where this will lead us next.

And of course we will be looking for more opportunities to work with Crafty Screen


Too book one of these courses you can find the Berkshire printmakers using the links below.





What is Screen Printing? Your Ultimate Guide

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a captivating art form that combines creativity, technical precision, and tactile engagement. It offers artists and designers a versatile medium to bring their visions to life on various surfaces, from clothing and accessories to posters and art prints. In this blog post, we delve into the art of screen printing, while exploring its history, process, and the unique qualities that make it a favourite among artists and enthusiasts.


collage of screen printing photos

The History of Screen Printing:

Its history is rich and  dates back over a thousand years. Its origins can be traced to ancient China, where stencils were used to create intricate designs on silk fabrics. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it gained popularity as a commercial technique in the United States.

The Process:

Its process  involves transferring ink through a mesh screen onto a substrate, creating a vibrant and durable image. The process begins with creating a stencil, often using photo emulsion or a hand-cut film. This stencil is then affixed to a screen, which acts as a framework for the ink transfer.


Once the screen is prepared, ink is applied to one end of the screen, and a squeegee is used to push the ink across the mesh, forcing it through the open areas of the stencil onto the surface below. This repetitive action ensures consistent and precise ink deposition, resulting in crisp and well-defined prints.

Why is Screen Printing so Popular?

  1. Versatility: One of the most alluring aspects is its versatility. Whether on fabric, paper, or other materials, it allows artists to experiment with different textures, colours, and effects. It offers endless possibilities for creating unique and eye-catching designs.
  2. Vibrant Colours: This art is renowned for its ability to produce vibrant, opaque colours that truly stand out. With the ability to layer multiple colours on top of each other, artists can achieve a wide range of hues and gradients, adding depth and dimension to their creations.
  3. Durability: Screen printed designs are known for their durability and longevity. The ink is cured or heat-set onto the substrate, ensuring that the print withstands frequent use, washing, and exposure to the elements. This durability makes the art  an ideal choice for apparel and other items that require long-lasting designs.
  4. Handcrafted Appeal: Each screen-printed piece carries a distinct, handcrafted appeal. The tactile nature of the process, from preparing the stencil to pulling the squeegee, infuses the artwork with a sense of craftsmanship and human touch. This personal connection between the artist and the medium adds a unique charm to screen-printed creations.

5 EASY Ways to cure a screen printed t-shirts at home

Curing is a crucial step in the screen printing process that ensures the longevity and durability of your prints. While professional print shops have specialised equipment for this task, curing screen prints at home is entirely possible with the right techniques and materials. In this blog post, we will guide you through different ways of effectively curing your screen printed t-shirts in the comfort of your own home.


How to cure a screen printed t-shirt with a heat press: A heat press is a common method used to cure screen-printed garments. It applies heat and pressure to the printed area, helping to bond the ink to the fabric.

To use a heat press, set the temperature according to the ink manufacturer’s instructions, place a protective sheet over the printed area, and press it for the recommended duration. This method is effective and relatively easy to do at home if you have access to a heat press machine.




How to cure a screen printed t-shirt in your oven: If you don’t have a heat press, you can cure a screen-printed t-shirt in a regular household oven.


Preheat the oven to the temperature specified by the ink manufacturer (most likely 160 degrees), and place the t-shirt on a clean baking sheet or directly on the oven rack. Make sure to put a piece of parchment paper or a clean cloth between the printed area and the baking sheet or rack to prevent any sticking. Keep a close eye on the t-shirt as it bakes, and remove it once the recommended curing time has elapsed. Let it cool down before wearing or washing.


How to cure a screen printed t-shirt with a heat gun: Another option is to use a heat gun, which blows hot air directly onto the printed area. This method requires some caution and precision to avoid scorching or damaging the fabric.


Set the heat gun to the recommended temperature and hold it several inches away from the printed area. Move the heat gun in a consistent motion, evenly distributing the heat across the print. Be careful not to concentrate the heat in one spot for too long, as this can cause the ink to burn or the fabric to scorch.



How to cure a screen printed t-shirt with an iron: Ironing is a less reliable method but can work for simple designs or smaller prints.


Turn your iron to the highest setting without steam, and place a clean cloth or parchment paper over the printed are

a. Gently press the iron over the cloth, applying firm pressure for the recommended time. Avoid sliding the iron back and forth as this may smudge the ink. Repeat the process on the reverse side of the t-shirt for added durability.



You can cure a screen printed t-shirt by letting it air dry: With certain types of inks you can air dry the print.


Find a suitable location to hang the t-shirt for drying. You can use a clothesline, hanger, or any other convenient place where it can hang freely without touching other surfaces. Selecting a well-ventilated area ensures good airflow, which helps expedite the drying process. Air drying may take longer compared to using heat-based curing methods, but it is a suitable option for those who want to avoid heat or do not have access to specialised equipment.



Remember to always follow the instructions provided by the ink manufacturer for curing temperatures and times. Different inks may require specific curing conditions, so it’s essential to read and adhere to their recommendations.


Additionally, allow the cured t-shirt to cool completely before testing, washing or wearing it to ensure the ink has fully set. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and fine-tune your curing technique to achieve the best results with each print.


Happy curing and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your screen prints come to life!


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Screen Printing with our Super star Craft Kit.

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Creating your Paper Stencil

Draw or trace your design on to your Stencil Paper, You can get creative and   create your own  unique design, but bare in mind they have to be ‘stencil style’ designs when you are making a design out of paper. Alternatively you can use the templates provided in the kit, we also have lots of other free designs available to download for free form our website

Cut out your stencil using a craft knife or scissors depending on how detailed your design is, remember to take care during this stage and if you are using this kit with kids make sure you do this stage for them.

Taping your Stencil to your Screen

Place your stencil over your Screen, taping it to the underside of the screen to secure. You can also tape up the areas of the screen around your stencil to stop your ink escaping through onto your garment, this is called blocking out your screen and makes the process a lot less messy. 

Then you can flip your screen so the stencil is facing down.

Prepare your garment… we are printing a tote bag.

Next grab the item that you are printing onto, this could be paper, cardboard or fabric as our Waterbased inks will print on to any of these. We have chosen to print this design onto a Canvas Tote bag, we flatten this down, and even iron it to create a smooth print surface, we also ad a piece of scrap paper inside the bag to give it a more rigid surface and prevent ink transferring to the back of the garment.

You can then place your screen, stencil side down on top of your garment, we have place our screen in the centre of our Tote bag but you can experiment with print layouts.

Add ink to the screen.

Place your ink at the top of the screen just above your image, for this print i thought I would use a combination of  Baboon Bum Red Waterbased Ink and Sealife Blue Waterbased ink  to create a Ombre, blend effect.

Time to print!

Place squeegee onto the ink and pull towards you, and repeat if necessary. Make sure your squeegee is at a 45 degree angle. Anything less and it wont push the ink through correctly.


Lift your screen to reveal your print! We are going to repeat the design all over the frontside of the bag. To do this we use a heat gun/hair drier to touch dry the print , to prevent any ink transfer or smudging your print.

Leave your print to air dry, once dry you can seal with a hot iron or a heat press. if using an iron protect your print with heat resistant paper, make sure your print reaches 160 degrees.

Clean up!

Make sure you wash your screen out once you have finished to prevent ink blocking the screen, we use a kitchen sink to clean ours, simply run water over your screen and scrub both sides of the screen to remove all excess ink. you can use washing up liquid to help it along and for added cleaning power you can use our eco Cleaning solution.


For more information on this kit and all of our other Screen printing kits visit our website.

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Which Screen Printing kit should I choose?

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Our Kits have been put together by experts, with many years of screen printing experience. All our products are used by professionals and could have been used to print the very T-shirt you are wearing right now. Our inks are perfect for crafters, as they are waterbased meaning they are safe & easy to use, they are also environmentally friendly, meaning you can clean your inky screens in household sinks. Our ink is super Opaque and produces great print results on light and dark coloured paper.

We also pride ourselves on the wide range of kits that we have on offer here, starting at kits for crafters, all the way up to expert! Here we explain about our beginners’ kits and the options that we have and if they will be best suited to you.


We use a squeegee rating system to rate the skill level of each kit , this works a bit like a star rating, starting from 1 squeegee for the easiest to use kit up to a 4 squeegee rating for the most advanced level that we have available

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We have designed a range of kits with complete beginners in mind, all these kits are great for getting you started, small enough to be stored in a cupboard, under a bed, in a box or a craft room. They are really easy to use and are perfect if you want to try this craft out but also produce decent quality prints. we give these a 1 squeegee out of 4 for skill level meaning it is simple enough for anybody to use and with a bit a supervision the perfect option to keep kids entertained during the holidays.


Our Intermediate Kits have been curated by our experts for artists/crafters who have a little bit of experience with screen printing or for creators who want to dive in at a more advanced level.

Some of these kits may need a bit of assembly, but are extremely easy to use and put together.


Here at Crafty Screen, we make it our aim to set you up and get you started on your journey to becoming a master screen printer!

These kits include everything you need to produce screen prints using the emulsion method, so involve a technical level of print knowledge.

Here at Crafty Screen, we make it our aim to set you up and get you started on your journey to becoming a master screen printer!

These kits include everything you need to produce screen prints using the emulsion method, so involve a technical level of print knowledge. They include screen printing presses and have the potential to do many print runs. Essentially you could start a small business with one of these kits.

if you are looking to expand your horizons and grow your hobby, you can visit our big Sister company Screen Print World where we have a massive range of equipment, supplies, and pro kits.

printing with craft vinyl

How to Screen Print with Craft Vinyl


We love using our Vinyl printing kit, it contains all you will need to create a vinyl stencil.

  1. Squeegee
  2. Screen
  3. Black Waterbased Ink
  4. Yellow Scraper
  5. wooden sticks
  6. Craft Vinyl
  7. Transfer Tape


  1. Hinges or a hinge board kit
  2. Squand Squeegee Stand
  3. Goop scoop
  4. Eco Cleaning products
  5. Heat Gun
  6. A Vinyl cutter



Design and cut your vinyl with your vinyl cutter, you can also cut this by hand with a craft knife if you don’t have a vinyl cutter.

We use a stencil that we drew in Procreate and cut around using a craft knife for this demo.



Carefully weed your design then put transfer tape on top of the vinyl and remove the paper backing.



Place the frame face down on a firm surface and apply your vinyl design in the centre of the mesh screen on the back side of the frame (the side that touches the shirt). Putting the design on the back of the screen  keeps the vinyl from peeling up while pulling the squeegee over the design.



After you get the design smoothly applied to the screen, carefully peel the transfer tape away.

Once you get the transfer tape off the vinyl, Clear low Tack  tape to cover the open areas of the screen, if you have any to prevent the ink transferring on to your garment.

This is where screen printing becomes more economical (and time saving) than iron-on vinyl (HTV). HTV can get expensive when doing a bunch of shirts. With screen printing, you can reuse the same stencil over and over.

Place the screen on to your garment.



Spread a spoonful of ink across the top of the screen above the design and squeegee the ink over the design by pressing down firmly and pulling toward you.

water based inks are the key to making screen printing at home possible. You don’t have to worry about getting them on your skin and  can be washed down the sink when your finished. You also don’t require any fancy equipment to cure the ink, they can be cured simply with a hot iron.


Hinge Board flat lay image

How To Make a Hinged Board for Screen Printing

Using a hinged board to screen print onto paper is an easy way to create professional prints at home, essentially you are making your very own print press, that is portable, cheap and can be used to print paper, card, or fabric. It allows you to register layered prints and print in identical editions. Why wouldn’t you set one up!


Ideally You will need a board at least the same width and slightly longer than your screen. It needs to be a smooth, rigid, wipeable surface. Laminated melamine. We use our hinge board Print kit to create this as it includes all the bits you will need for the job.

However, you could use any sturdy board that you have, MDF would be perfect! We suggest the board being at least 20mm in depth.

You may want to use your board for different sized screens so make sure your hinge clamps are close enough to accommodate all the sizes you would like to print.


Here is how we made ours


STEP 1 . Use a marker pen and a ruler to create a guideline and to mark through the holes on the hinge clamps.



STEP 2. Drill holes where you have marked the board, using an electric drill.



STEP 3. Screw the hinge clamps down to the board.



STEP 4. Secure the screen into the hinge clamps by turning the wingnuts. You should now be able to lift your screen up and down.