How much does Screen Printing Cost

Most printers and screen-printing companies will readily offer a table complete with a price guide on a list. You may see the total pricing on different costs undertaken in the printing process, but some fail to show the breakdown on the number of colors in the artwork.

Sometimes to get the screen-printing cost you need to ask the printers because such relevant information is not easy to come by on their websites.

If you still wondering what goes into the details of screen-printing pricing, we will share with you this guide and hope all your questions will get an answer.

A customer who orders a custom printed shirt needs to understand what would make the average screen-printing costs increase so that they can also get to understand what they can do to work within their budget.

Here are some factors that all screen-printing businesses use to generate their pricing schedules:

How much does Screen Printing Cost


Color to be printed on

The cheapest option when screen-printing is to opt for white fabric. The color of the shirt also determines the cost and the darker the shirt, the costlier it becomes. The choice of colors explains why black colors are always high on the pricing list.

The main difference in prices between the two shirts is whether it is black (dark color) or white. That is why some printers charge slightly lower for light colors like navy blue and increase prices for dark colored apparel.

Dark colors require additional colors or an underbase that allows the spreading ink to sit on the garment’s surface and enhance the color. The absence of an underbase means using each color at least two to three times for better coverage.

All the new additional colors mean you will be paying for more ink and pay labor that is two or three times higher than an average when using white or light colored fabric.

Number of colors the design has

The more the number of designs to be used on the shirt the more expensive the job will be. Printers usually separate each color to get the desired design. What you need to understand all the colors in the artwork are independent and are printed separately.

The reason why the number of colors increases the price is simply that more colors equals more materials and consequently labor increasing the cost.

Quality and Type of Garment

Garments cannot be the same, and it is the printers’ job to know what to do when working on different materials. All they ever want is a good job to the best of their services, therefore the heavier the garment, the higher the cost.

You may as well choose to use your clothing line as tools to promote your work and start using lightweight shirts. Lightweight garments will not cost a lot of money and are a great product to use for that purpose. Promotional activities do not last for a long time; therefore, you only incur such costs on a seasonal basis.

The style of shirts you choose to use is an important consideration when doing price estimations. A typical T-shirt provides an economical choice and if you can consider using different designs such as V-neck, scoop neck, tank tops, etc. may need you to get deeper into your pockets.

Order Quantity

An order that has a large quantity may not necessarily mean a high cost. Most printing companies will have a non-official policy to lower the price per shirt when the order exceeds a specific number. Most companies call them bulk discounts.

Some companies may work on the reverse by reducing the cost per shirt when you increase the order and thus do not need a minimum quantity to affect the immediate cost.

Clothe Size

The size of garment to undergo screen-printing also determines the price therefore the argument that smaller shirts have less fabric than the adult ones but they undergo through the same printing process.

In case you are working with a youth team that prefers the extended sizes, let them know that they will be paying more than what they would pay for to get the normal sizes.

The Fabric

When you consider printing costs based on the material, the cheapest option will, therefore, be cotton. The price does not matter whether it is blended cotton or pure one, as long there is some percentage of cotton in your material your price will be affordable.

Materials like nylon and moisture wicking are on the higher side of the pricing scale.

Design Placement

The most common areas you expect to see a print is on either the back or the front of the shirt, the pocket and around the chest area.

Some firms decide to treat the placements differently by calling those special placements with some running on the sleeves and may incur extra coins for that. We have customers who like to see artwork running the neckline along the ribs or any other points of interest.

It is always a good idea to confirm with your printer if they charge extra costs for specific placements. Some may opt not to charge you because they could be having a cost recovery mechanism on such designs.

Type of Ink

Special screen-printing inks may increase the price and eventually the order cost. Likewise, using rhinestones or glittering elements will, of course, increase the cost.


The artwork is an important consideration that you should not fail to scrutinize its implications. Many cases people seem to have a better idea on what they want to see in the final print and even have designs from the internet or something they pick from another artist.

Artwork as a serious consideration has many myths surrounding it. The best you can do is to get a serious designer with screen-printing skills to get a replica or an original version of a design that you can use. You can at a price ask the designers’ or printing company to enhance the image you sent them and make it stand out.

Another assumption you may fall into is to assume that a printer specialist who is conversant with printing artwork on paper will do the same wonders on a shirt. Printing on paper and fabrics are very different things. Therefore, do not be surprised when the design costs go up because some extra work needs to be committed to the artwork.

Presenting an artwork that is not printer ready attracts extra costs because the printer needs more time to prepare them for printing.

Screen Printing Setup Fees

The screen-printing setup fees involve preparing the printer to push the ink through screens and into the shirt. Printer preparation involves three main stages:

  • Preparing the screens so that your designs can pass through them
  • Exposing the design through the screens
  • Clean the screen after the printing process is complete
  • 5 Ways to make have Competitive Pricing

The most straightforward answer to this gives the following calculation:

(Price of Garment * Garment Markup) + (Printing Fee – Quantity Discount) = Garment Price

Some would like to add other things such as overhead costs, ink costs time taken on the press machine capacity of the printer, etc.  If we decide to follow every aspect of pricing basing on such details will give us different costs. Some general principles will give any printing company the best approach to getting competitive prices in the printing market.

You only need to observe the following to maintain an edge in screen-printing prices

  • Get the most reasonable garment markup value
  • Understand the task before pricing it
  • Make sure your price for complexity and difficulty in the job.
  • Give discounts when you see fit
  • Price for what you incur not what your competitors are incurring.

Other expenses may include screen fees, which will all add up to the overall costs and need to be part of the selling price. A printing company that ships shirts to their customers should not ignore shipping and fulfillment costs. During the production process, make sure that your costs include all transit costs when moving shirts from one region to another.


The information shared above gives the impression that screen-printing requires each color to be treated independently. For example, if you have a design artwork with five colors, you need to prepare five different screens so that one screen takes a single color.

The entire process needs time, materials, and labor to complete and the onus is on the company to cover costs and factor them into the total cost.

These other costs may explain why some printing companies place blaring advertisement indicating no printing set up fees. Such notices should not sway you into thinking that whatever cost not indicated on the screen-printing job cannot be covered in some other ways.

The best way to counter such fees is to place large orders for printing in bulk because most companies eliminate the screen-printing setup fees when printing in bulk. You are here with us and hope that you can use the above principles to determine how to fix your prices or how printing companies do it when you place an order.

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