How to Start a Screen Printing Business?

T-shirts and other clothing items may be printed with pictures using a screen printing business’s services. A classic offline shop or an entirely online operation are both viable options.

Customers may be able to submit their own designs to the shop and pre-set alternatives for photos and words. Having a company like this print t-shirt for local organizations like schools and companies is a wonderful way to foster a sense of belonging.

As long as you follow these steps, you can be sure that your screen printing business is well thought out and lawful. Here is everything you need to start a screen printing business:

Benefits of Starting a Screen Printing Business

  • The first is definitely to be your own boss.
  • You can print in a small space and easily earn hundreds of dollars at home.
  • Many people like to design their own T-shirts, and the market prospect is very broad.
  • Tax incentives.

Screen Printing Business Process

Step1: Make a Business Plan

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Are there any up-front or continuing expenses?
  • To whom are you attempting to reach?
  • How much are you allowed to charge your customers?
  • What are you going to name your company?
  • How much money do you need for starting a screen printing business from scratch?
  • How to market screen printing business?

A screen printing business can start at a relatively low cost. It’s possible to get a specialist printer for $10,000 or less, as well as all of the equipment you’ll need to get started for less than $5,000. There is no need to rent a separate office for this kind of company.

As an alternative, you may spend $500 on a high-quality website and $5,000 on more conventional forms of promotion, such as radio advertisements, newspaper ads, and a mix of flyers, business cards, and direct mail. 

How much does it cost to start a screen printing business?

The cost of running the screen printing business might fluctuate based on how much material you need to purchase at any given time. T-shirts cost around $2 each, while silk screens cost about $1.50 each, on average.

Pre-made silk screens cost about $25 each, and ink charges are around five cents per garment. Beyond this, which includes the cost of hosting your website, you don’t have to pay for anything else. For example, shipping costs aren’t charged to you because the customer pays them.

To whom does the product appeal?

Your primary demographic is boys between the ages of 15 and 25 who purchase screen-printed t-shirts. A more social group, this one like to wear custom-made t-shirts to show off their interests and hobbies to people they meet for the first time.

How do you profit from the screen printing business?

Screen printing companies sell screen-printed T-shirts and other apparel products with pre-made or custom-made graphics.

Is there a limit to how much you can charge customers?

The price you charge depends on a variety of criteria, such as the color of the t-shirts, the number of shirts ordered, and the urgency with which the buyer requires the t-shirts. An individual shirt may cost nine dollars to print a design on. But if the same buyer purchases one hundred or more shirts, you might just charge five or six dollars to print the design.

The price of a shirt with six colors is likely to fall anywhere between $12 and $14 for a single garment. Or as low as $8 if the customer is purchasing in volume.

Step2: Purchase Best Screen Printing Machines for Small Business

There are a lot of screen printing presses available on the market. Features, capabilities, and pricing vary widely across various presses. You want to be certain that the publicity you’re obtaining is appropriate for your objectives and/or the requirements of your consumers. What’s the first step in making a decision?

You begin by selecting a well-known brand. So, you’ve come to the perfect site to learn more about Once Tech screen printing machines. Once Tech has been in the printing press business for more than 10 years and is known for making some of the best and most cost-effective screen printing machines available. Press features like quick adjustments and cutting-edge design have made the renowned press line a household name around the world.

Consider the flat screen printing machine if you’re looking for the best screen printer for small businesses. If you’re serious about learning how to print, this is a great starting point. Consider the cylindrical screen printing machine if you want to start a screen printing company.

Step3: Purchase the Ink

Printing multicolor graphics necessitates the use of special ink-gelling or flashing equipment. Because it’s hard to keep the temperature even all over the print with a heat gun, this method is not recommended.

Using a flash dryer is the most effective method of gelling ink. A flash dryer ensures that the print is heated uniformly and consistently throughout. The RyoFlash Drier is the most common flash dryer for new printers.

Plastisol and water-based inks are the two most prevalent screen printing inks. You may start screen printing using Plastisol inks since they are easy to print, do not dry on the screen, cure painlessly, and are brilliant and opaque in color. To get a thorough cure, you’ll need to use water-based inks, which have a softer feel but will dry out the screen.

Step4: Prepare Equipment for Curing

To prevent the prints from washing away, you’ll need special equipment to cure the clothing. To speed up the drying process, many new printers choose to utilize their flash dryers. It’s a good option for those who are just starting out and want to save money.

To ensure the best results while using a flash to cure clothing, keep an eye out for factors such as how long it takes the platens to warm up, the kind of t-shirt material, and the type of flash. Also keep an eye out for the temperature of the ink, shirt, and platen. These factors will determine how long it takes to cure the garment.

A heat press is another option for curing printer ink. A heat press is more dependable for screen printing business than a flash dryer when it comes to maintaining a constant temperature.

While you’re using it, you’ll be able to see a visual representation of any changes in the device’s temperature. A heat press is simply a conveyor drier with no conveyor belt. As long as you’re already working with vinyl, a heat press is a must-have accessory.

The ideal solution is to make the purchase of a conveyor drier. Conveyor dryers allow numerous shirts to be dried at once, resulting in a faster manufacturing process. Adjust the belt speed and heat to match the garment and the ink you’re printing on. Even if you can’t afford to buy one right now, it’s a fantastic goal to set for yourself.

Step5: Prepare The Exposure Unit

A darkroom’s exposure unit is a critical component when opening a screen printing business. The quality of the exposure unit is critical since it is used to burn the pictures onto displays. The X1620 LED Exposure Unit is an option for some, whereas a bulb is for others. If you have a little more cash, consider purchasing an LED exposure unit like the X2536 LED Exposure Unit. When it comes to stenciling,

LEDs are the way to go because of their extended lifespans and low energy consumption, as well as their ability to create a precise wavelength that makes the stencils even sharper and more precise. It’s well worth the money.

Whenever you do screen burning, make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area.

Step6: Room for Cleaning Screens

In order to clean burnt screens or salvage old ones, you’ll need a place to do so. Using a washout booth to clean screens is the best method.

Getting a washout booth straight away is out of the question for some people. It’s possible to make a washout booth out of a bathtub or a sink in the laundry room. But you’ll have to watch what goes down the drain. Inks and emulsions can’t be flushed down the toilet since they might block the pipes. Place a trap on the train to capture garbage.

Consider the substances that are flushed down the drain since some of them pose a health concern. If you use Sgreen® chemicals, you can rest easy knowing that they are safe for the environment. Grab a black waste bag and a spray bottle if you want to use your backyard as a washout booth.

Spray both sides of the screen when it’s been exposed, then put it in a plastic bag and take it outside to your hose or power washer to finish cleaning(if you have a power washer, do not have it set higher than 1600 psi). Spray the screen as soon as you remove it from the bag.

Step7: Prepare Printing Positives

You’ll need a film printer to produce stencils. There are several different kinds of film output printers. Inkjet printers are the most widely used. One side of the inkjet film is coated, the other is not. The printer’s ink is held in place thanks to the coating. In addition, the coating aids in the preservation of the image’s density and form.

On film, the printer uses one of two different inks. Epson printer ink is UV-blocking, but dye ink, which is supposed to filter out all light, is also an option. Using the Epson T3270 printer with UV-blocking ink, has a printer that can make high-detailed prints or halftones quickly.

If you don’t have the money to buy a film printer right now, you should consider having a local print shop print your film positives for you. Make inquiries about whether or not the service is available and how much it will cost.

Step8: Install A Supportive Software

To design the artwork and get it printed correctly, you’ll need a few applications. Screen printing professionals recommend Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop for the creation of art. As a graphic designer, think about sketching the design in Procreate first, then moving it to Illustrator so that it can be used for print.

Software is also required for printing films. There are a plethora of software options available. Before deciding on one, check to make sure it functions properly in your store.

Step9: Buy a Good Screen

In screen printing, screens are critical. Depending on the application, screens come in a variety of mesh counts.

What is the mesh count? Mesh counties a measurement of how many polyester threads cross each other in a screen per square inch. A 110-mesh screen, for example, would have 110 threads crossing every square inch of screen surface area. The finer the holes in the screen, the greater the mesh count.

The following is a list of typical applications for various mesh sizes:

  • 110 = Ideal for polyester inks and huge spot color patterns, as well as white on black printing and block typography.
  • 156 = A versatile screen mesh count capable of handling a variety of tasks.
  • 200 = Water-based inks or semi-detailed prints
  • 230 = High-detail and fine-line work benefit greatly using this
  • 280 = For more halftones and finer details.
  • 305 = For ultra-fine detail, CMYK and a simulated process (halftones).

Things like a thin thread, white screens, metal, wood, etc. are all things to keep in mind. Take it one step at a time, but remember to keep it in mind.

Step10: Emulsion

You may use either diazo or presensitized emulsion to coat your screens.

To get the most out of a photo, you need to use a high-sensitivity pre-sensitized emulsion. The negative of this kind of sensor is that it is very sensitive.

An overcast day’s light would start to reveal your picture since it is so sensitive. Even the stencil would be over-exposed if you washed the screens outdoors in the emulsion. I don’t recommend it for newbies.

In order to print with a mixed emulsion, the diazo powder must be added. Prior to printing the first time, this must be incorporated into the whole base and referred to as “sensitizing” emulsion. Diazo-mixed emulsion takes longer to expose but is more forgiving.

Diazo-mixed emulsions are not exempt from the 10% error range. Because diazo emulsions take longer to expose, you have a broader margin of error. It’s possible to go over or under the 10-minute mark while exposing a screen, for example.

To choose which emulsion is best for your application, take into account parameters such as ink, kind of exposure unit, and illumination in the washout area.

Step11: Other Supplies

You got it right. Screen tape, an ink spatula or scoop, and a digital non-contact laser thermometer are among the tools you’ll need. Squeegees, platen tape, and scrub brushes are also required.

Do not overlook the need to use chemical cleaners. To begin with, use SEEN® chemicals alone. The product is non-toxic, biodegradable, and kind to the environment. It’s better for you, the screens, the plumbing, and the environment to use them.

Is there anything more I should know? Every screen printing business should have Supreme Wash on hand. Everything may be cleaned up with this product.

Aqua Wash is required for removing water-based inks. The Ink Degrader is ideal for removing plastisol inks from surfaces. With the emulsion stripper and stuff, you will need to remove the emulsion from the screens.

How Much Money Can a Screen Printing Business Make?

Profitability is directly proportional to the number of consumers and orders you get each year. In other cases, successful screen printers earn $100,000 or more a year because they have built up a huge customer base that orders shirts in volume on a regular basis.

First, your earnings will be lower because you can work from home. You can start this company as a side job by purchasing the best screen printing machine for small business and building your reputation before relying on it as your main source of income.

Best Screen Printing Machine Manufacturer

Investing in a screen printing press is a big deal, so it’s important to choose the right one. You can discover a machine that meets your requirements thanks to the large range of alternatives available, but it may also be daunting when it comes to looking for one.

Talk to Once Tech customer support to view various machines and features in action, look at the needs of your shop’s clients, evaluate what you would want to be able to accomplish on your new press that you can’t do now, attend trade fairs and speak to representatives from equipment makers or experienced distributors.


Looking at it this way, starting a screen printing business is not difficult. You just follow the steps in this article to do each step well. Learn more about screen printing in Once!

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