Screen printing is the process of adding designs onto garments like t-shirts or tote bags by pressing mesh against the garment to transfer ink. The parts of the garment which shouldn’t receive the ink are blocked by an impermeable stencil. Recently, this process has become digital through the introduction of digital screen burns.
A successful screen printing business could make over $100,000 per year. If you invest in an automatic t-shirt printer that is capable of printing up to 180 six-color shirts per hour, you would be able to make a profit on the $10,000+ investment if you sell over 200 shirts per month. Don’t panic! You might be able to secure a bank loan to help you purchase your printer and get started on your business.
What do you need to start a screen printing company?
Here’s a useful checklist of the most important things you’ll need to have when starting out with your screen printing company. It’s recommended to go the digital route. It’s much cheaper than purchasing traditional screen printing supplies which also often use highly flammable and toxic sprays and materials.
- Consider purchasing high-quality digital screen burns (check out Arena Prints – one of the only companies in the US to sell these to the public.)
- A flash dryer or a heat gun to gel the ink.
- A heat press or conveyor dryer to cure your garments after printing. This will help keep the colors in top condition.
- A program like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to design your art and transfer it to your digital printer.
There are plenty of other things you’ll discover along the way, like emulsion, screen tape, and scoop coaters, but the checklist above will get you started.
Does it take a lot of effort to start?
One successful screen printing company owner stated that they only needed an hour or two extra per day to get started. The most important thing is actually deciding that you want to do it, and dedicating time to perfecting your screen printing skills.
Arena Prints can help you easily print photographic quality (1200 DPI resolution) prints. Traditional screens only offer up to 300 DPI. With a digital screen, you can print a design in less than 15 minutes, so it is an accessible business in terms of time investment.
Written by Jack Vale