A yellow book with a cartoon of a man running from a dumpster with a t-shirt and silk screens in his hands

DIY Screenprinting: How to Turn Your Home Into a T-Shirt Factory

by John Isaacson Author

A fascinating graphic novel that details the art and science of screen-printing from inception to printed t-shirts to working in a print shop to understanding line screens, to hawking your printed wares on the street! How to build a screen, burn an image, test how things are going, pull ink, wash out screens, know what screen mesh to use, and creative ideas. It's a true joy to see the exaggerated illustrations while learning such a useful and practical craft! How to turn your home into a t-shirt factory! Essential for people who don't know how to screen-print or those a bit rusty.

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Comments & Reviews


"Now, thanks to this wonderful comic book, I can make screen prints at home, too! It’s a bit more complicated, especially if you want more than one color, but John breaks down the process into easy-to-understand steps. He shares his experiences selling his work, moving out of his house and into mass-production and gives helpful hints to DIY printers along the way."


"Ever wanted to make your own t-shirts? Ever thought that it would be way too complicated and/or expensive to even try, so you gave up right away? This book will prove you wrong. It’s a step by step instruction guide for how to make your own shirts whether you have access to state-of-the-art materials or not, or even (potentially) if you don’t even have electricity."


"Like Scott McCloud's landmark books, this is a textbook written in comics form. Isaacson tells the story using an autobiographical approach, as if he's learning right along with his readers. His personality and enthusiasm for the subject comes through to add extra interest to all the instructions and details.

Isaacson's artwork matches the tone of the narrative perfectly. It's as light and entertaining as an instruction manual can be. And when the material calls for it the author amps up the tightness of the detail and moves from chatty dialogue to straight documentation. If you're serious about learning how to screenprint, I can't imagine a better book to help you get started."


“This reprints a three part comic book guide to screenprinting. Part one is an incredibly detailed how-to in comic form that is not the most compelling comic you will ever read, and would not function as a stand alone tutorial on screenprinting. But it certainly would be profoundly helpful to any aspiring screen printer who has access to a flesh and blood mentor. Part two is an absolutely compelling comic (light on the how-to) about selling t-shirts in the Bay Area’s post-hippie street vendor culture. And part three is a perfect synthesis of incredibly detailed screenprinting lessons and a really interesting tale of becoming a big time screen print shop employee. Essential for screen printer wannabes and surprisingly satisfying for folks who have no interest in the art form.”


"The occasional flashes of real-life humor from Isaac’s forays into selling his stuff on the street like a hippie, and then the adventures and learning experience of working in an actual printing shop are the best, I think. I admire a man who isn’t ashamed to draw himself as he is, balding and all. The interviews with various independent presses and screenprinting artists, occasionally breaking up the comic, are great little insights into what comes across as a small but still flourishing industry."


Given that this is a nearly 200-page book of comics, I thought the title was just a snarky name for a collection of illustrated punky musings.

In actuality, this entire book IS about screenprinting. Comics and comics on every technical issue involving the art of mass-producing t-shirts. Yes, there’s a 30-page comic midway that’s more tangential, but just about everything in here is a primer on the art of silkscreening.

This is a fun approach to a how-to book, and characters’ dialogue and storylines help illustrate various concepts, points, and instructions. Added to the fun are zine-y interviews with fellow screenprinters and independent companies.

Throughout the book Isaacson peppers the narrative with so many useful tips and techniques it makes me want to call in sick to work so I can try them out. Now all I need is some new screens and a photo-emulsion kit and some ink and anything with a surface I can print on.

What makes ‘Do It Yourself Screen printing’ so interesting and unique is that although it is a ‘how to’ book, it shows you how to screen print taking you through a story of sort from the perspective of the Author. Illustrated like a comic book and described as ‘an instructional graphic novel’, the book offers a very informative insight into the world of screen printing your own T-shirts.

Read the full review at start-a-clothing-line.com

This is an entertaining guide that doubles as a comic book with tales of professional screenprinting and all the drama that goes along with it. . . An enjoyable read, and definitely educational.

Now this is what I need! Like a typical dumb American don't expect me to learn anything unless it's presented to me in neat pictures with funny stories. Yes, I have attempted to understand how to do screenprinting on countless occasions with nary any luck. Then again, I've also never attempted to watch someone do it or anything either. I've just tried reading a lot of things with just confusion following me every step of the way. So here we have this handy book/ comic that dishes out the details. Now, whatever possessed a guy to do a comic zine about screenprinting is beyond me, but it has proven useful.

Isaacson’s guide is definitely the guide that I would turn to if I had the desire to try screenprinting on my own. He lists great resources for getting the necessary tools, and throughout the text explains the pros and cons of the numerous approaches to screenprinting. Along with its overflowing fountain of helpful information, Do-It-Yourself Screenprinting represents a wonderful and entertaining culture of DIYers and craftsters alike.

An impressively thorough and entertaining read, even if you don't know a vector from a raster.