How To Screen Print Onto Canvas Bags? [DIY Screen Printing]

Screen printing is an amazing way of decorating fabric-made things. But, you can take your screen printing skills one step further. You can even print your canvas bags with screen printing techniques. That's amazing!! Right?

We understand that, if you are concerned about fashion, carrying a generic canvas bag can seem a bit dull to you. So, we'll tell you how you can decorate your plain canvas bags with screen printing techniques.

Can You Screen Print On Canvas Bags?

Yes, absolutely. It's because canvas bags are made of woven fabric. To be more specific, screen printing is a printing technique that is mostly used on woven fabrics (fabrics that are made by the interlacement of two sets of threads in a perpendicular fashion, aka "weaving").

Now, because canvas bags are also made of woven fabric, you can easily use the same technique of screen printing on canvas bags as well. For instance, you can screen print many types of patterns, designs, pictures, etc., on canvas bags.

Can You Screen Print On Canvas Bags

Not only that, the screen printing technique imparts a strong type of print on canvas bags. Consequently, the printed design and patterns on the canvas bags don't get washed off very easily. 

So, it is safe to say that screen printing on canvas bags is a pretty convenient yet economical way to show off your taste for art. Won't you agree?

What Are The Ways You Can Screen Print On Canvas? What Is The Easiest?

The basic technique of screen printing remains the same no matter which environment you perform it in (at home or a professional printing house). All you have to do is lay down the screen printing stencil on the plain fabric and use a squeegee to lay down the ink on the stencils.

Can Screen Print On Canvas

Now, it's worth noting that the main complication in this process is making a stencil for yourself. So, how to do this?

Well, as we have researched and found out, there are two ways you can tackle this problem:

  • By making a stencil at your home
  • By taking advantage of third-party websites (such as to make your stencils. 

However, in our perspective, we think making stencils at your home is the best and easiest way to go. 

Can You Screen Print On Canvas Bags

So, let's see how you can do that.

  • Step 1: Acquire a design you want to print and make a printout of it on A4 paper.
  • Step 2: Lay down the printed a4 paper on a transparent film.
  • Step 3: Use a paper cutter to make a precise cut out of the design you printed. As a result, the design you printed will be cut on the transparent film.
  • Step 4: After that, take the cut portion of the transparent film out. At last, you'll be left with a transparent film that has the exact same pattern/design that you printed earlier.

Now finally, you're ready to use that transparent film as a stencil for your screen printing. Pretty easy, isn't it?

How To Screen Print Onto Canvas Bags?

First off, let's see what things you'll need in order to make a successful screen printing on your canvas bag:

  • Pre-Created Stencils
  • A Tote Bag (Must Be Ironed, So No Wrinkles Are There)
  • Markers For Marking Fabrics
  • High Quality Screen Printing Inks
  • A Squeegee
  • A Piece Of Thin Cardboard
  • A Plastic Canvas Film
How To Screen Print Onto Canvas Bags

The steps of screen printing on canvas bags:

  • First, lay down your canvas bag on a flat table and insert a piece of clean cardboard inside the canvas bag. This way, it is ensured that the ink will not get distorted when it is applied.
    Also, make sure that the canvas bag is fully stretched from all directions. Remember, screen printing on stretched canvas provides the best-printed patterns and designs.
  • Now, layout the stencil on the stretched-out canvas bag.
    And load ample amounts of ink on a squeegee. Then, use one hand to hold the stencil at its place and use the other hand to apply the squeegee of the stencil.
    As a result, the patterns and designs of the stencils will get printed on the canvas bag.
  • At this point, lift the stencil up and keep it away from the printed canvas bag.
  • At last, all that there's left to do is to dry out the ink of the printed designs/patterns (on the canvas bag).
    In order to dry out the printed ink, you can use a hairdryer to apply mildly heated air on the printed canvas bag.
    Or, you can just keep the printed bag in the sun and let the sun do that drying for you.
  • Furthermore, you can also use colorful fabric markers to impart color patterns to the printed designs as well.
    Although this step is optional, completing your screen printing with this can give an extra layer of visual aesthetic to your printed designs.
How To Screen Print Onto Canvas Bags

How To Print Pictures On Tote Bags?

In order to print any image or picture on a canvas bag, you'll need to make sure that you have the following items ready at your hand:

  • A photo transfer medium (such as the Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium).
  • A picture printed on A4 paper (make sure that the printer you use here is a laser printer and not an inkjet printer).
  • A piece of wax paper
  • A blank canvas bag
How To Print Pictures On Tote Bags

Steps of printing pictures on canvas bags:

  • First off, lay down your canvas bag and insert a piece of wax paper inside it. The wax paper will make sure that the ink does not get distorted when the picture is printed on the canvas bag.
  • Now, take the printed picture and cut the edges of the printed page so only the picture remains (there should be no white or blank frames on the sides of the picture).
    Also, you'll need to make sure that the picture you have printed is smaller than the canvas bag.
  • At this point, take an ample amount of photo transfer medium on a paintbrush and apply it to the picture you have printed (on the paper).
  • Now, use your hands to lay the printed picture on the canvas bag in an upside-down manner. Meaning the picture side of the paper will be facing the fabric of the canvas bag.
  • After that, let the picture paper sit on the canvas bag for 24 hours. In the meantime, the photo transfer medium will transfer the picture from the paper to the canvas bag.
    As a result, you'll get a beautiful canvas bag with a picture printed on it.

Is Silkscreen The Same As Screen Print? Which Is Better?

Yes absolutely. The terms "silkscreen printing" and "screen printing" are interchangeable. This means these two techniques of printing are essentially the same thing. 

Now, you might ask why there are multiple terms of the same printing technique.

Well, to answer it simply, in the screen printing technique, a porous screen is used to transfer colored patterns on the surface of the fabric. And in most cases, the screen is made of silk. 

Is Silkscreen The Same As Screen Print

That's why the method of screen printing was formerly known as "silk printing" or "silkscreen printing."

Final Words

Although screen printing on canvas bags is not a complicated printing technique, it can go wrong if you don't follow precautions in the process. 

For instance, while screen printing on canvas fabric, make sure that your canvas fabric is laid on a fully flat surface and it is fully stretched. This way, there will be no wrinkles on the fabric. Consequently, the printing process will be very neat.

Also, we recommend that you give ample time for the ink to settle down and get dry. This way, the ink will be extremely permanent. 


Inksaver Editor

We're a group of people who love printers and scanners. We want to share our knowledge with you, so you can spend less time researching and more time printing and scanning!

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