make baby stuff

How to Gocco Baby Clothes

Use a gocco machine to create professional screenprints on baby shirts! I'm warning you, once you look over this tutorial you might just be inspired enough to buy a gocco! Don't worry, they aren't that expensive, especially considering that you can create a whole slew of screenprints on baby clothes and then sell the extras to make your money back.

Basically, a gocco machine is a miniature screen printing system that burns a screen from an image that you provide, then you add ink and "stamp" the design onto paper, fabric, wood, glass...really, just about anything! The screens are burnt from the special lightbulbs that work with the machine. Most people use their gocco for printing on paper, but as long as you use the fabric printing ink you can print on fabric just as easily!

The toughest part (for me) is picking an image! You can use clip art, photos, your own drawings, pretty much anything. Large dark areas on images do not work as well, designs with simple lines tend to work best, especially on fabric.

Gocco on Baby Shirts Instructions:

Step One

print gocco

Your original design that you want printed on shirts has to have carbon based ink in order for the screen to burn properly. Toner based copy machines are carbon based, so when in doubt, take your design and make a photocopy of it at your nearest print center. Some home printers also have carbon based ink, so if you are willing to potentially waste a screen, then give it a shot! My own printer, an Epson Stylus, works perfectly.

For my robot design, I simply drew it first in pencil and then I traced over the pencil with the the carbon based marker pen that came with the gocco.

Step Two

gocco instructions

Now that your design is ready and you've placed it on the gocco pad, insert a new screen to burn. Next, place the yellow thingy that houses the bulbs in its place and then press down until it flashes. You'll see a bright flash from the bulbs and that is it, your screen is burnt! Don't touch those lightbulbs for a while, they are very hot after they flash.

Step Three

gocco robot

Remove your screen and you'll see the design etched in the screen. Peel back the plastic film layer on the screen to add your ink. If there are areas that you want to use different colors you can use the foam strips (also comes with a gocco) to separate the areas. Next, load up the color on top of where the design was burned through.

Step Four

gocco printing

I purchased the gocco stamp for fabric attachment that is shown and have found that I get the most reliable prints on fabric when using it. Your screen sticks to it (it is just a sticky surface on a foam pad) and then you press down onto your fabric, just like a stamp.

Step Five

gocco baby clothes

Done! Well...almost done. You'll need to wait until it is completely dry and (for most textile inks) will need to heat set with an iron before washing. Once you do that, it is completely colorfast and washable, just like a professionally screen printed shirt!

You will have plenty of ink left to do many, many shirts.


gocco robot fabric

I also made gocco robot prints on fabric bags that I used to hold the party favors for my son's "robot themed" birthday as well as several prints on cardstock to use as invites and I printed directly onto some green cotton fabric that was used as a tablecloth...and will later be sewn into something fun!

I love gocco!

Go to the Make Baby Clothes Section for more project ideas!

Back to the top of the Gocco Baby Shirts page.


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