How To Pinch Pennies On Baby Clothes: Silkscreen Your Own Cute Designs

Baby clothes can be surprisingly expense; and even if you have a baby shower, you may just receive newborn clothes rather than a variety of sizes. If you want to save some money, but still dress your baby in new garb, why not make some custom baby t-shirts instead? One great way to make cute designs is through silk screening. Read on to learn some basics on how to construct a screen and how to use it.

Building a Silk Screen

You'll Need the following Materials:

  • Painter's tape

  • Scissors

  • Staple gun

  • An old picture frame

  • A piece of silk that can stretch over the picture frame. Other mesh material, like nylon, is acceptable.


1. Remove any glass from the old picture frame.

2. Cut your piece of silk or mesh so that it is slightly larger than the frame. You can always trim it down to size, but it's better to have more so you can really stretch it over the frame.

3. When the silk is taut, staple it down to the frame. Trim away any excess silk on the edges. Use your painter's tape to cover up the edges. The tape will protect your frame from snagging or fraying.

Silkscreen Your Baby Clothes

You'll Need the following Materials:

  • Blank onesies or t-shirts from a dollar store

  • A stenciled design

    • Tip: If you aren't particularly artistic, you can find a funny or cute saying, type it up, and print a stencil in a font that you like instead.

  • Old cardboard that can get paint on it

  • Ink or paint that will look nice on your fabrics

  • A small squeegee (if you don't have one, a wood block or other flat object can be used to spread and smooth paint into the fabric)


1. You can cut your stencil in any sturdy craft paper, adhesive sheet. If you don't have a home die-cutting machine for designs, try using a razor blade for more precise cutting. Remember that any area you cut out of your design will be the area that receives paint.

2. Cover your work area with cardboard.

3. Put a small piece of cardboard inside the baby's t-shirt. This will prevent wrinkles and prevent paint from seeping through both sides of the garment.

4. Tape your stencil onto the t-shirt.

5. Put the t-shirt underneath the silk screen.

6. Pour the paint into the silk screen just above the stenciled area. Use the squeegee to spread the paint in even, firm strokes.

7. Wait a moment for the ink to settle, then lift the screen slowly off so that the shirt's paint can release from the screen.

If you are happy with the result, you can keep using the paint for more stencils. When you're done, make sure you wash your screen with warm water so you can use it for later projects!