How to Dry Screen Printed Shirts

Making screens is generally followed by transferring the screen onto a T-shirt using screen printing ink. The artist must apply pressure when dragging the squeegee across the design to pass the ink directly onto the T-shirt. This process is known as silk screening. The ink must also be applied smoothly onto the T-shirt to avoid paint blobs. The ink must be thoroughly dried to ensure that the ink cures and adheres to the textile fibers.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt
  • Hanger
  • Dryer
  • Mild laundry detergent (optional)

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Hang your screen printed T-shirt in a well ventilated area. Make sure the screen printed area does not have any fabric folds or creases to avoid the paint rubbing off onto an unwanted area. Make sure the T-shirt is away from other clothing to avoid fabric paint rubbing onto other garments.

Read your fabric paint's suggested drying time. Each brand has a specific time needed for the ink to adhere thoroughly to the textile fibers prior to using a dryer or washing. You are usually advised to wait a minimum of 24 hours.

Turn your T-shirt inside out so the screen will be on the inside of your T-shirt. If after waiting the recommended time, the T-shirt is damp and not completely dry, proceed to turn it inside out.

Set your dryer to a tumble dry, low heat setting. Make sure that the screened artwork is on the inside of the T-shirt prior to placing it in the dryer.

Wash your screen T-shirt with mild laundry detergent, if you wish. Make sure the shirt is inside out. Repeat steps one through four before wearing your dry, screen printed T-shirt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although the low heat will help the paint set deeper into the T-shirt's fabric fibers, it is strongly recommended to read your fabric paint's heat requirements to avoid damage, such as cracking to the screen.


  • "The Clothing Doctor's 99 Secrets to Cleaning and Clothing Care"; Steve Boorstein and Barbara Eisenberg; 2006
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