How to Start a Screen Printing Business?

Are you considering venturing into a lucrative trendy business in 2021? Want to venture into screen printing? You can begin with printing items like bags, t-shirts, banners, and many more right things for your target market.

Retail shops usually sell personalized items to make profits, while some companies might go further to advertise and brand the screen-printed products. Therefore, making the screen-printed products will require you to display your skillful nature of producing quality-made prints that last for long and look fantastic.

You need to gain more practice and training in the sector before you decide on selling your items.

Screen Printing Business

When screen-printing is narrowed down to t-shirts, you need to know that they aren’t just meant for casual wear, but t-shirts are actually clothing articles that affect people’s interests, personalities, and general identity. This is enough reason to consider engaging in online sales of t-shirts. They are a popular choice that most artists or beginner entrepreneurs think to venture in because the business costs less.

Additionally, custom-made t-shirts are believed to contribute to the skyrocketing revenues in the global market by 2025 with an estimate of $10 billion. Therefore, you need to know how to start a screen-printing business in this trendy market and engage yourself in enjoying such benefits from the industry.

Who Invented Screen Printing?

Are you wondering who invented screen printing? The origin of screen printing dates back to AD 221 in China when designs were placed on fabrics. The Japanese decided to follow suit by using a stencil for their simple techniques in creating imagery. Human hair was made out of woven mesh during this period, and paper was cut out to make stencils. The ink was also forced via mesh using brushes directly to the fabric.

During the 1700s, in France, people used silk screens to make prints on the fabrics. They took stiff brushes and pushed ink via the mesh. At this time, people started practicing how they could stretch silk while supporting stencils via a frame; hence it got initiated to become whom.

Still, in the 1700s, silkscreens were being used in France to print onto fabric. Modish inflexible brushes were there still, and guys used them to jolt the print toners towards the netting. It revolutionized the start of an era for extended fiber placed on top of a mount to underpin the arranged stencils; today named whom.

Within the 20th century, there was the introduction of squeegees which were equipment used to pull ink via a printing screen mesh. During the 1960s, contemporary art became a thing when Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Peter Bake, pop artists, began using screen-printing. They formed an integral part of the inventors of screen printing. They popularized the technique by establishing it as an essential part of a medium.

Cost of Screen Printing Equipment

So, the big question that you might have asked yourself is how much is the cost of screen printing equipment? Since our interest is on t-shirts, I recommend that you should acquire enough supplies for the shirts needed to begin the printing process.

You might obtain the t-shirts at $5,000 or less according to my estimation. The other things required are the equipment for screen printing. Here is a mini description of some of the equipment to be used in screen printing.

With $10,000, you might acquire an excellent specialized printer.

There’s also a need for a website which may cost $500.

You need to make advertisements, you can allocate $5,000 to make ads via newspapers, direct mail, radio ads, fliers, and business cards.

Other items that I highly prefer which you might require include; sharpies, ruler, scrubby pads, scotch tape, masking tape, infrared temperature gun, heat gun, chemical resistant spray bottles, markers, rags, and chemical resistant spray bottles. All these items are essential; hence, after purchasing the primary equipment for screen printing, you should consider adding each of these to your list within time.

However, suppose you need to be a professional and start a business on Screen Printing for T-shirts and other items, you need to consider the following in terms of the equipment costs. Here is what I found out for you to consider as a top –priority in your needs. I highly champion that you get a;

How much money can you make in a screen printing business?

At least an estimated $100,000 a year.

You can print 180 shirts per hour on the Trooper. It is an automatic printer that prints 6 color designs. The price for printing 1 color on a 100% cotton shirt ranges from $5.50 to $9.00 depending on how many shirts are in the order, and you charge much more if it is 6 colors or more.

You will need $144 to buy 72 shirts when you buy them in dozens. The materials for your screen will cost $21. This might be $3.60 depending on the type of screen you are making. Ink costs about $1 per shirt, so that is another $72 dollars. Lights and electricity will cost an extra $169.

It will take you about an hour to make one screen, and about an hour longer to make more screens.

In one day, you make $576.00 minus the cost of materials ($169.60) and get to keep $402.40 for yourself. That is a lot of money!

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

The short answer is about $10 per day or just $212 per month.

The cost of a t-shirt printing machine is about the same as an average car payment. A screen printing machine can make you money when running it. If you take out a $10,000 bank loan for 5 years at 10% interest, it only costs $212.47 per month to pay back the loan – much less than.

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A computer is essential since you will require vector software which is usually used for screen printing. You will use the Corel or Adobe Illustrator vector art for your work. Others prefer using Photoshop, but it isn’t as suitable for screen printing as vector. Additionally, you should add an inkjet printer to your computer and software. The screens can be made by the inkjet film which is printed.

Pressure Washer

A pressure washer is suitable during screen printing because you will require running water to wash out all the stencils on your fabric. Ensure that water doesn’t reach the other parts of the t-shirt where printing has been done. The tap water should be running like that of a garden horse. You need to place the stencil on an exposed table and then wash it out using the garden horse. Additionally, mask-wrapping, de-hazing, and emulsion of the screen will be managed by the pressure washer. There’s no need to worry about any of the chemicals because this equipment also sorts that one out using its force of water.

Flash cure

Onto the next important thing that you need is the flash. It’s suitable that you get a flash dryer or air flash which you can use to press the multi-color tasks during printing. You will need the ink dried; hence this equipment will come in handy when touching in-between prints. Use an air flash when handling water-based inks. But when using plastisol inks, switch to infrared flash.

Exposure Unit

The top of an exposure unit is made of an LED vacuum. It helps with exposing the screen since its process is photographic. A UV light is required since it’s considered a light source; however, there’s no guarantee that the sun will shine all day. Other familiar light sources that people prefer include quartz lights, fluorescent tubes (blue), etc.

It’s vital to know that the fluorescent light tubes only offer good UV, which hardens emulsion. Similarly, Quartz lights also perform the same; hence, you need to consider more efficiency when selecting light sources.

If you aim to save up on cash and look for light sources that are entry-level and economical, you need to get the Ryonet LED. Such light sources produce three times more UV as compared to the quartz tube or fluorescent. Its pricing is also favorable, and I would recommend getting it because of its high quality on images and the best for an entry-level source. For the sources of light which are advanced, you can choose an exposure unit of the M&R MSP 3140.

Screen Printing Press

A screen printing press should be considered the first piece of equipment to get on your list. I suggest that you go ahead and get the one that is an actual press and not any other. This is because it would be easier for you to place on the pallet- screen-printer the shirt. The workload on printing the t-shirts would become much more manageable; hence, some press comes with a pallet that shirts can load or split. The pallet is put inside the shirt; thus, it becomes easier to screen print it.

You need to put into consideration the number of colors that you need in print. Always remember that a print head is required for any color that you need to print. Each color, therefore, gets its print head. Most flexible screen printers have a four-color station. Inside the screen printing equipment, there are four crosses, and it also has a bench-top.

As a lover of versatility, you may want to consider using various colors. Before you settle on the type of press that you want to buy, you need to consider its flexibility in terms of printing and the number of colors it can allow when at the print. Additionally, think if you’re comfortable using the bench press or go for the floor. Beginners find it challenging when at the bench press, but they can opt to get a table-top or 1-color-1 printings press and bench-top, respectively.


The Squeegee prints the screen; hence you must get it when looking for screen printing equipment. Add a scoop coater to the list because you will need to use it when smoothly applying the emulsion coat on the screen and transferring it to the exposure unit. The screen will get exposed to create a stencil while under the exposure unit. The Squeegee is then used to press it for the print results.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a T-Shirt?

Varying expenses are expected in the business of screen printing t-shirts; hence they are always ongoing. From the order of materials to other miscellaneous expenses, you might find yourself spending for each silkscreen $1.50 and $2 for every t-shirt created. So, with all this laid out, how much does it cost to print a shirt? An ink might cost five cents, while $25 is spent on each silkscreen that has been pre-made. It means that a client might pay $8-$10 for the job to be done on a t-shirt that requires six colors printed on it.

Make Money Screen Printing Writing Guidelines

Growth of technology and various tools are available and can be used for shipping, printing, and designing your custom-made t-shirts; hence it might seem like a simple thing to start your business.

However, it’s still challenging to make your brand known out there because of completion. Prospects always want to know how much it costs to print a shirt from several dealers before making their final choice.

With the presence of competition, you need to focus on how to generate your tiny profits into becoming something great hence the need to know how well you can make the revenues. If you’re that person who needs to see this information, then let’s see what you need to do to make money screen printing. Here is a step-to-step guide on what needs to be successfully done.

Workshop Interning

Take a course of go work at a workshop as an intern which deals with screen printing and embroidery. You will get to learn the right skills needed in running the business. Some distributors, manufacturers, and even specialty schools offer this chance. Golnari Adiri is one multimedia artist who offers such.

multimedia artist

Business Plan Creation

To get revenues from your screen printing business, you need to have a business plan and thorough research on other screen printing businesses in the market within your area. There are free services in America, and some are of low costs, which can help you plan your business and offer advice on business startups and applications for loan assistance. Follow to know more about the creation of a business plan from the Young Entrepreneurs Forum.

Business Registration

You need to get a permit after registering your screen printing business from your area city hall; hence, get a number for tax identification that the Internal Revenue Service always gives. The licenses are essential when you want to run a successful screen printing business. Xero Accounting Software explains more on how you can go about business registration in the USA here.

Find an Affordable Rental Space

You can decide on searching for your working space through local rental agencies or online or in the newspaper. It will help you acquire somewhere suitable for your screen printing business at an affordable price. If you choose to work in a town hall or garage, or basement, it’s your choice, but you need a place that will keep you working without any distractions so that you make your revenues. Credits to CatspitProductions, who showcased one of the screen printing entrepreneurs’ rental spaces, which you can check to have a clue on how much space you need here.

Price listing

The price listing that you have will hugely impact the number of clients that you receive at your shop. There’s special software that you can use that is meant for garment decorators, and it will help you computerize the business listing function. Check out the showcase from Printavo and thank s them; you can know where to begin on screen printing using matrix software.

Find Professional Suppliers and Distributors

When you have launched your printing business of t-shirts, find distributors and manufacturers who are professionally reliable in terms of supplies of equipment and quotes. Have a computer with because you will need it for the creation of graphics for your t-shirts. You may prefer using the startup packages from distributors or simply have your needs designed. All machinery should be measured as well as the shop layout so that you find the right package. Here is how you can source suppliers plus distributors with the help of Cameron James.

Work with Close Distributors

Doing research will help you find the appropriate distributors around your area; hence they will supply you with your apparel. This will help you in saving up any extra expenses. You can ascertain the need why this is a crucial step in Custom Getaway here.

Marketing the Brand

When you market yourself well enough, you will make much more from the trendy screen printing business. Ensure that you make brochures, business cards, and other prints that will help you attract more clients. Your referrals and orders will also rise in number.

Consider also word of mouth, which is also an effective way to do marketing or find prospects through mobile chatting platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are some of the best apps and social media where marketing is done, and it has higher rates of success of attracting more clients who need their t-shirts screen printed.

Thanks to Red Website, here is an outline of successful marketing strategies.

Operate an Operational Shop

Screen printing will require you to push yourself into having all the machinery needed in your shop. This will help you a lot in attracting a considerable number of customers from your area. You can ask manufacturers to install the equipment, and if you have the personnel, you should ensure that they are trained well enough. Thanks to Margaret, a screen printer, here is a view of how your shop should be operating.

Interaction with Locals

As a startup business, it’s good that you join the other business people in the area. This will help you network with them and form a marketing strategy that will help you get clients quickly. You need to get their mails, telephone, and emails. You can quickly locate the other businesses through the Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, when you interact with the local people, you will know how to handle your screen printing business as a starter and the amount of cash you can make in the area. Brema is a beginner screen printer who I appreciate for his efforts in giving details on how he began with his screen-printing business here and why it matters to engage with the locals.


I consider selling t-shirts online as not entirely manageable, especially when you try to showcase everything you possess on creativity. It doesn’t matter the niche you think is best or the design quality, or how ambitious you are in making your first sell as an entrepreneur.

But with this tutorial, it’s much easier because it can help you begin your screen print business. I found out that the good news is that you can also use third-party platforms like Shopify to launch your T-shirts and build your brand. In a few hours, the designs that you already have might sell on the forum. This is not as hard as you might have imagined.

So, continue with your plans on the screen-printing business. Practice everything mentioned in the tutorial, and you will be good to go.
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Jennifer Behm

Are screen printing businesses profitable?