T-Shirt Screen Printing Materials - Checklist For Beginners

Every time you think of screen-printing, there is a lot of intimidation, but in the actual sense, it is easier than it looks. It is even possible to set up a screen-printing zone in your own home with little incurring very little costs.

The general idea in this type of printing is more or less like cutting out shapes in stencil and coating them in photo emulsion, then use a bright light to cut the image out.  Please look at the video link below and understand the screen-printing process.

Here is a Typical Printing Materials Checklist

Everyone struggles with identifying the perfect materials before starting a printing business. To avoid unnecessary spending on fancy items, you need to be shrewd to set up the printing gig with minimal but essential resources.

Here is what you need

The Design

Make sure that your artwork is both attractive and marketable. It is the designs that bring customers to you. Use computer artwork or software to create some intuitive designs, or you can buy artworks from designers who are ready to sign a contract with you.

The design should be compatible with the outcome. For example, a design full of texture should not have fine lines that may end up running the entire project.

Also read: Heat Press Temperature Chart - The Ultimate Guide

The Manual Press

If you intend to expand the business, then invest in a versatile press that prints a variety of colors. Using only a single color press means a loss of customers and options become restricted to a particular design. The cost may be prohibitive, but you can rest assured that with time the press is a good return on investment.

If you are on a budget, start with the 4-color press that can help keep the business up and running. The 8-color press seems to be the best in the market. However, the 6-color press also seems appropriate.

The Screen

You will use the screen to make a stencil that the ink uses as a medium to pass through the T-Shirt. There is an option available for you to build one using wood or aluminum for the frame. Most people prefer aluminum due to its durability.

Make large screens to accommodate your designs. It is advisable to use something closer to 100-mash count to serve almost all designs. Just keep in mind that every color will use a separate screen. For example, a design using three colors means you use three separate screens for every color.

Inkjet Printer

Getting an accurate printout, you need to create a perfect stencil with the required opaqueness. You can choose from the many inkjet printers from reputable manufacturers. Make it more interesting by using the RIP software that helps in the production of 100% output, the only negative factor about RIP is its prohibitive cost. However, there are affordable alternatives that do equally the same job.

Emulsion

The screen needs a coating with a chemical with the name emulsion, which is sensitive to light and is even more sensitive when dry. Use a squeegee or scoop coater to get a better consistency and even distribution of the chemical.

A thick emulsion makes the stencil deep with the provision of more space for more ink to be spread on the shirt.

The Exposure Unit

Curing the liquid from your T-shirt means exposing it to the light by putting the artwork in an exposure unit. The entire printable area is completely black to help in blocking light from hitting the exposure unit. Consequently, the areas that are covered are soluble in water while the exposed emulsion is not soluble.

A medium sized exposure unit should serve you well.

Washout Booth

After the light exposure, you need to rinse both sides of the screen with water, and once the emulsion gets wet, regular sunlight cannot interfere with its design. Areas that are not developed are becoming more visible. As long as you wash, the emulsion will wash out on its own.

As your screen dries out, do not let anything touch it.

Conveyor and Flash Dryer

If you have the potential of carrying out a lot of business, try to overlook the cost and use it well to give you an economic value.

Flash dryer is for those who are printing dark garments. You can purchase a good flash dryer to get the job done as well.

Inks

You need proper ink quality to get your screen-printing business operational. There is no specific rule as to what colors one can buy, purchase a variety and as many as you want.

A Scale and a Container

If you are working for a mixed system, a scale is needed for weighing while the container comes in handy when mixing inks.

Curable Reducer

The reducer is needed for ink thinning

Tape Gun

Used for taping inside the screen before printing can start. It simplifies the printing process.

Emulsion Remover

The screen can be used in future if you use an emulsion remover correctly

Scoop Coater

You need a scoop coater when coating with emulsion is necessary.

Ink Solvents

Are set of chemicals that are for removing and cleaning the screen.

Another Post: How to do Screen Printing on T-Shirts at Home

In Summary

You can now possibly start a screen-printing business using the basic items we have are on this document. In as much some will prove to be more costly, you only need to look at the long-term investment in relation to return on investment. Once the business is up and everything seems to be in order, you will forget how much each item cost but how long before your next income.

Screen-printing takes time for one to get used to it, as you get busier printing things such as timing for exposure, the amount of pressure that you must put on the ink, and other minor actions become your everyday life. The idea is to get to know how everything works and before long, you will be a master in using three or more colors.

You may have realized that large shops using big screen-printing machines for this kind of work. However, remember that you can do it at home as long as your practice patience. Share your tips and any item that we may have forgotten.

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