How To Cure Screen Printed Shirts At Home [6 Affordable Ways]

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    If you’re embarking on the journey of screen printing t-shirts, chances are you’re beginning in the cozy confines of your own home. While the comfort and flexibility of a home setup are undeniable, it also comes with limitation and means getting creative with your process management.

    Curing your tees is the final crucial step to ensure the ink bonds and colors stay vibrant over time, so it is vital to get this step done right!

    Quick Summary

    Curing screen printed shirts at home requires a combination of heat and time. Utilize a heat source at the appropriate temperature for the ink type ensure optimal bonding provided sufficient curing time is allowed. These steps may vary depending on ink type (water or plastisol).

    Did you know? The steps to curing can very depending on the ink type being cured. The two primary inks prevalent in screen printing are plastisol and water-based ink.

    • Plastisol (pvc based) – durable, thick and versatile. Provides vivid colors.
    • Water-Based – less opaque, softer feel, more eco-friendly.

    6 Creative Ways To Cure Screen Printing Ink?

    As stated, depending on the type of ink, you can choose a curing method that works. As most deal with plastisol and water-based inks, are there are some curing techniques work excellently for all of them. These will be the methods focused on in this article.

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      All of them cure when the temperature is around 300 Fahrenheit, so you can use the same technique, and you will get identical results.

      These are some of our favorite methods for curing T-shirts that are extremely fast and suitable even for a beginner in screen printing.

      #1 Heat press curing

      Heat press curing is definitely the best and the most efficient way of curing, but it is also costly, and people who are doing this out of fun usually don’t have, nor do they need to splurge that much money on a device like this.

      Everything is simple with a heat press because it is made specifically for things like this, and it can provide you with the perfect screen-printed T-shirt in a second.

      You will probably need to use some sheet, preferably a Teflon sheet, over the area you want to print, but the whole process requires you to make a few clicks, wait and finish everything.

      It is suitable for printing at home, but you will need a lot of space and time to set everything up, so unless you are a professional, this is probably a too expensive and too time-consuming purchase.

      #2 Oven curing

      Although most people think oven curing is a completely crazy idea, it is some heat source that will help you cure the design without any heat press or heat gun, which can eventually save your design from ruining.

      However, you need to stay near the oven throughout the whole curing process because you don’t want to bake your T-shirt by accident.

      The screen print process will go smoothly, and once you have finished all the steps, just put your screen-printed T-shirts in the oven to extra-cure them.

      They will need just 2 to 3 minutes, but make sure the oven is preheated to around 250 degrees at least.

      You need to be very careful, but if you are willing to experiment and don’t see too many other ways to cure screen-printed T-shirts at the required heat, this is the right choice.

      Make sure the T-shirt is inserted on some metal tray, and be careful so you don’t mess with the screen printing ink and ruin it.

      There will be some vapor released, so don’t worry too much about it, and don’t get it out of the oven immediately because it is a common thing.

      #3 Iron curing

      The iron curing process is probably the most frequent one, and all people who are trying to create their own screen printing frame tend to do it because everyone has a good iron at home.

      It gives a similar effect as a heat press or a heat gun, and it can go up to 400 Fahrenheit, which makes it an excellent option for water-based inks.

      You should ensure that you are ironing over the whole print if you want to ensure it will stay screen printed long enough.

      Don’t use the iron before it gets to 400 Fahrenheit because the iron tends to be way less heated than regular curing devices.

      It also has some air movement so that the print will get cured quickly, and since you can move it around a lot, it will work well with cotton and all other garments, and you can be sure your screen printing ink will stay on the material without any problems.

      Some irons may not be hot enough, so you will need to repeat the process several times, but always check out the state of your T-shirts before you are finished to see how much more repetition it needs.

      Every basic household iron will do the job well, and if you have just started screen printing, it can be an excellent way to see how the ink works under heat and how you should treat it on that type of material.

      #4 Hair dryer curing

      Okay, this is a really time-consuming one, but if none of your other devices seem to be decent enough for you to handle, and you don’t want to experiment with a heat press yet, then maybe you could try to bring your hair dryer to use.

      Hair dryers can’t reach the desired temperature for the heating process, so if you decide to start curing with this, your screen printed design will be good to go after 20 to 30 minutes, which is a lot, especially if you take into consideration the fact that you will need to hold that dryer in your hand the whole time.

      The screen printing journey with this one is quite tough, so unless for an experiment, I would recommend doing it because ink cures will rarely look good this way.

      #5 Heat gun curing

      Heat guns are the best thing for completing a curing process, and they can be a great tool even if you are in a screen printing business.

      Even the cheapest and simplest ones can heat up to 1000 Fahrenheit, which is fantastic and allows you to create printed T-shirts quickly.

      You can get heat guns in every homeware shop, but you will need to have some skills to handle the print well, and it requires you to be very precise and repeat the same sections several times to cure it properly.

      However, with T-shirts created with a heat gun, you don’t need a wash test because you can be sure your print will stay on forever because the heat they provide the ink with is exceptionally high.

      Make sure you have practiced a little before creating screen-printed T-shirts this way because it requires a lot of effort and precision, and you need to have a good eye and a lot of practice to see how you should treat different fabrics and prints.

      #6 Natural process (aka air drying)

      Although the easiest method, it is also a time consuming one (especially with plastisol inks). Therefore, this technique is best suited for water-based inks.

      This process simply requires hanging your t-shirts on a rack or clothes line accordingly. However, makes sure your don’t fold your uncured design directly over the line itself.

      The last thing you want is to smudge the ink.

      Did you know? Certain water-based inks are formulated with additives that accelerate curing, allowing them to dry in as little as 24 hours when exposed to air. However, printing with these specialized inks demands a higher level of skill compared to traditional water-based inks.

      A fan can be used to speed up the natural drying process, but don’t aim the fan directly at the clothing. Do so can risk moving them and smearing the ink.


      The process of screen printing is an important one. Do it incorrectly and the life expectancy of your design will shorten. Effectively you are producing an inferior product which you don’t want to do, especially if this is your line of business.

      It is also easy to recommend opting for expensive pieces of equipment, such as a conveyor belt heater. This the best way to cure screen prints, the reason for this is because the belt is timed to run at a specific speed, long enough to heat the print to the desired time and heat. All the while, you can continue working on your next print and then repeat the process!

      However, not everyone can afford such machinery, let alone fit it on their homes. This is why we opted out of mentioning such machinery in this article and rather provided methods more affordable methods.

      We always recommend testing each of these out and get a sense of what works best for you depending on your requirements.

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