Screen Printing Machines: How To Choose The Best One in 2023?
Would you like to set up a booming T-shirt printing business that attracts customers from far and wide (and brings you insane profits)?
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Screen Printing Machines
If yes, start by investing in the best screen printing machine. Doubtlessly, a top-quality screen printing machine enables you to produce lovely, eye-grabbing t-shirt imprints that your clients will love. Thankfully, the market has a ton of these machines available for you.
While this might sound like good news, the many choices will make you get confused, overwhelmed as you try to get figure out the best machine for your business.
BUT…we don’t want to see you through all that hell. So, our research time spent hours filtering out the finest machines that blend well with your needs and expectations. Today, I’m glad to bring you the results of this research- the 10 top-of-the-line screen printing machines plus an A to Z criteria of how we went about choosing them.
I know you can’t wait to lay your hands on these top-best products, so let’s dive right in…
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What's a Screen Printing Machine?
A screen printing machine refers to a device that you can use to transfer cool characters, graphics, or logos to t-shirts, mouse pads, placemats, coasters, hats, ceramic tiles, ID badges and so much more.
The screen printing process is also known as silk screening.
Most of the printing you see on the street shops is done using a screen printing machine.
It’s important to note that screen printers are the perfect machines for use if you’re working on large customer orders or larger designs.
All the t-shirts- or any other item printed using a screen printer not only washes exceptionally well but also maintains its quality for an extended period of time.
However, don’t confuse screen printers with the heat transfer machines. The latter doesn’t last for long and tend to produce poor quality imprints.
A screen printer works by applying thick inks that lay on top of your t-shirt as opposed to soaking into the garment.
It works by applying one color at a time, which means that for each separate color in your design, you’ll need an additional screen.
Interestingly, the screen printing machines come in many variables, with different sets of features. This means that whether you’re setting up a home-based t-shirt printing business or a big enterprise, you can get the best model that meets your needs.
That is, if you’re setting up a home business, you can get an affordable, simple machine that does the job well.
And if you’re setting up a large t-shirt printing business, you’ll try to get an industrial-grade, heavy-duty machine that meets your printing needs and expectations.
So much info about the screen printer, eh?
Now let’s turn our focus to the 10 best-quality models dominating the market today…
10 Best Screen Printing Machine Reviews:
1. Yudu Personal Screen Printer
We commence our list with this incredible screen printer from Yudu. Yudu is a leading manufacturer of screen printing machines, and this product is designed for those that want a personal screen printer for limited use.
This screen printer is an all-in-one personal silk-screening machine that is quite easy to use on both paper-based products and fabrics. The printer is ideal for use on cotton and poly-cotton blends, and you can also use it for home décor, apparel or any other minor project.
It is a manual printer that measures 32.7 by 11.1 by 21.9 inches and comes in at around 321lbs. The best part is that you can connect the printer with your computer and an ink-jet printer, and you will be good to go.
We understand that it can be stressful to move around from one store to another looking for the relevant accessories to use with your machine. But you don’t have to worry about that when you get this printer. This unit comes with plenty of accessories including a printing machine, emulsion sheet, mesh screen, t-shirt platen, squeegee, blank ink-jet transparency, platen adhesive, as well as a 2-ounce black ink bottle. All these accessories mean that you will be ready to start printing with this product as soon as you get it and set it up.
Speaking of setting up, the printer comes with an instructional DVD and a user manual to guide you on how to assemble and use it appropriately. We also have to mention that it comes with a user-friendly control panel that won’t give you a headache. The light, fan operations, and exposure of the printer can only be controlled via the control panel.
- Comes with enough accessories to better your printing experience
- The emulsion sheet lets you create stencils as you wish
- Easy to use control panel
- It can print on both paper and fabric
- The platen prevents bleeding during the screening process
- Compact enough to use in limited spaces
- It comes with instructional DVD and a user manual
2. VEVOR 4-Color 4 Station Screen Printing Machine
For those that want a screen printer for handling your massive projects, you should consider picking this model from Vevor. Vevor has been in the Printing Equipment and Supplies business for 11+ years, so they are sure to deliver reliable products.
This screen printing machine is made of a high-quality, and it comes with a spring device design. This spring design will let you adjust the printer in the vertical direction with ease. The printer is big at 30.5 by 24 by 20.5 inches, a 21.7 by 17.7Inch platen size, and it weighs 95.5lbs. This means it is a heavy and massive machine ideal for commercial use. Furthermore, it is made of an all-metal construction for sturdiness and durability.
It is a silk screen press that can be used in fabrics, paper, metal, plastic, glass, leather, ceramic, copybook, or any other material. Generally, you can use it to print your designs on just about any material.
The silk screen machine comes with a rotating base and brass bushings, which lets you move the four stations around freely. Plus, this limits the need for oiling your machine. In other words, you won’t need any maintenance when using this printer.
This printer comes with a table-type and combinatorial design, which will save you space. You also won’t have a difficult time to transport it, even though it is heavy. You will get a full set of installation tools with this unit, though it is quite time-consuming when you need to set it up. Luckily, the head comes assembled and ready to attach to the base. That will save you some time and effort.
If you were printing some materials for business, this printer would serve you best. It can perfectly print 30 to 40 t-shirts per hour, which is reliable enough.
- Sturdy and durable all-metal construction
- Features a spring device design to let you move the screen vertically with ease
- Rotating base and brass bushing for easy adjustability and limited maintenance
- Fast printing speed at 30 to 40 t-shirts an hour
- Comes with proper installation instruction
- The head comes pre-assembled to save you time
- Four color four stations for better production
3. Single 1 NS101
This machine is a fabric printer designed to be used for permanent custom printing on textile substrates. Although designed for T-shirts, this printer can also handle pillowcases, sheets, towels, and more.
All components of this printer are made of stainless steel, making them resistant to corrosion and residue from prolonged use. The machine is somewhat cumbersome to move and assemble, but the solid metal frame makes this machine quite durable as it is able to take more than a little banging around.
The pallet gives a sturdy working surface for any work you may want done by hand, and is shaped to hold T-shirts perfectly stable and stationary until the printing is completed. A glossy finish on the components nearest the pallet makes them easy to clean from errant pigments or electrostatic spray treatment.
There is only one screen clamp, which is raised and lowered manually on each shirt. A spring assist and dual control knobs help speed the process along while keeping the printing precise and effective.
Because the control knobs are simple threaded rods as opposed to a digital interface, you can adjust the screening press to hold nearly any thickness of screen, including the relatively specialized ¾” models. Buyers should be aware that the machine does not come assembled, and while it is relatively of low stature the pallet will still take up a considerable amount of room in the workshop.
- Stainless steel components
- Single color printing
- Plate size 17.7” x 21.2”
For a simple, straightforward round of printing T-shirts or other textiles, this seems to be an effective and inexpensive solution. It does not seem suitable for advanced artists that may want to execute layered designs, and should be avoided by anyone who is unwilling or unable to do some assembly work.
4. SHZOND 1-Color 1-Station Silk Screen Printer
If you pay close attention, you will notice that this product and our previous product are very similar. Well, they look the same, but there are a few differences. One major difference is that this one comes with 1-color 1-station, while our #3 product has a 4-color 1-station screen.
Besides that, this SHZOND screen printer is a reliable machine that you can depend on for your DIY projects. It comes with an all-metal construction too and measures 25 x 20.8 x 12.6 inches. However, it is lighter than our previous screen printer, coming in at 32.6lbs.
The platen is made of wood, and it measures 21.7 by 17.7 inches. Luckily, the pallet is removable, and you can move it in any direction; whether forward, backward, up, down, right, or left. The screen clamp can also be moved upward or downward according to how you want. This screen clamp is ideal for a screen frame that is around 1.8inches thick.
You can use this printing press to work on clothing, but mostly t-shirts because of the platen. However, it can also be used on metal, paper, circuit board, plastic, wood, copybook, woven fabric, and more. If you were doing some personal DIYs at home, this machine would serve you ideally. Nevertheless, it can also be used for small businesses.
The special spring devices let you adjust the screen up and down with ease. Also, it assures you of the appropriate spring intensity that prevents the squeegees expelling and the ink splashing in high intensity.
- All-metal construction for extra sturdiness and durability
- Ideal for t-shirt printing with the dedicated platen
- Can be used on any material
- Spring devices allow easy movement of the screen and prevent ink spillage
- The pallet is easily adjustable
5. Merchmakr All-in-One Screen Printing Kit
Merchmakr is another leading screen printing supplies brand, and it did a fantastic job with this model. This is also the perfect choice for a person that is looking for a DIY screen printer.
It is a super-compact screen printing system that is made with a unique design different from other units on our list. The machine measures 23 by 19 by 17 inches and comes in at 43lbs.
One thing that makes this machine stand out of most screen printers is the fact that it comes with an exposure unit. This feature lets you create your screen stencils. Plus, it does multicolor designs, thanks to the innovative patent-pending HotSwap registration system.
By the way, a HotSwap is just a special clamp that’s designed to let you alter the screen quickly and effortlessly. There is also a screen registration tab that you can use to line up the colors in your designs. This is a unique feature that you cannot find in other screen printers.
But that’s not all. This machine comes with a range of tools to maximize your screen printing experience. Besides the screen printing press, it also comes with the exposure unit with a fitted safe light and a digital timer, a 160 Mesh HotSwap-Ready Screen, squeegee, black water-based ink, white water-based ink, waterproof transparency films, dual-core emulsion, scoop coater, and emulsion remover. Luckily, you get bulbs for the exposure unit, along with an instructional DVD to guide you on how to use the machine.
The sturdy industrial steel means that this screen printer will serve you for a long time as it remains strong.
- Compact and elegant design
- Unique HotSwap special for enhancing the screen printing experience
- Multiple accessories included to get you started with your screen printing
- It is easy to use
- Made of sturdy industrial steel for strength and durability
- Can print any material, but best suited for t-shirt printing
- It comes with an instructional DVD to guide you on how to use it
6. Superland Screen Printing Machine 4 Color Silk Screen Printing Machine:
At the top of our list, we have the Superland Screen Printing Machine 4 Color Silk Screen Printing Machine. Our research team picked this machine because of its ability to install up to 4 screens simultaneously. And once installed, the screen layer rotates independently to allow you to do up to four color t-shirt overprinting while making progressive proofs.
The Superland machine comes with a pretty practical design that gives you an easy time when operating it. Case in point, it features a big supportive structure that keeps it stable and balanced when working on your fabrics. In addition to that, it comes with an all-metal, durable construction which makes it a long-lasting machine. As if that’s not enough, it features advanced electrostatic spraying plus electroplating that further enhances its durability while making it incredibly easy to clean and rustproof.
All the business folks who have used this machine before really love its table type and combinatorial design. And that’s because it occupies much less space than other models, making it ideal for those with limited rooms. In fact, it has such a compact size of 56 x 56 x 7 Inch. Something else you’ll definitely love about this machine is the versatility it comes with. It comes with easily adjustable double spring devices which allows you to work with screen frames of different weights.
For all your screening needs- whether you want to print on leather, costume, woven fabric, plastics, metal, copybook, glass, ceramic, etc.- this Superland screen printing machine will be your BEST bet!
7. Happybuy Screen Printing Machine Press 4 Color 1 Station Silk Screen Printing Machine:
The Happybuy Screen Printing Machine Press is perfect volume or multi-color printing machine that makes an excellent choice for anyone planning to start a small printing shop. Like our previous machine above, this model features a durable, all-metal construction which helps extend its lifespan. Not only that, it features advanced electrostatic spraying to make it rustproof and easy to clean.
One thing you’ll love about this equipment is that it comes with double spring sub-devices which make it possible for you to work with screen frames with different weights. We also liked the fact that the screen clamp is highly movable- can be moved up and down- an aspect that comes handy when you want to work with screen frames with a thickness of around 1.2 inches (or 3cm).Other essential details you need to note about this machine is that it comes with a sufficiently large screen size of 21.7″ X 17.7″ (55cm X 45cm). It has a maximum screen thickness size of 2 inches (or 5.08 inches). And like other top models on this list, it allows you to print on a wide range of items, including clothing and plain printing substrates.
8. OrangeA Screen Printing Machine Silk Screen Printing Machine Review:
The OrangeA Screen Printing Machine Silk Screen Printing Machine is the perfect choice for printing a wide range of items. You can use it to print on t-shirts, woven fabric, circuit board, ceramic tile, copybook, plastic, metal, leather, paper, and many other plate printing substrates. The fact that it’s a 4 color 2 station model means you can use it to print up to two multi-color items simultaneously.
Just as you’d expect in a top-quality screen printing machine, this model comes with a durable all-metal construction which enables it to serve you for an extended period of time. And like the machines we’ve previously reviewed, it also comes with an advanced electrostatic spray which makes it easy to clean while keeping off rusting and corrosion attempts- further enhancing its durability. Probably the best thing you’ll love about this machine’s construction is that it comes with a tabletop combinatorial design which not only helps save space but also makes it incredibly easy to transport to any location.
Unlike most of the screen machines out there, this model makes it possible for you to work with screen frames of varying sizes. That is, it comes with fully adjustable double spring devices that accommodate different screen weights. It’s also worth noting that this machine comes with a sufficiently large platen that measures up to 21.7 x 17.7 Inch to make it easy for you to print on different sizes of items.
9. Simple Single 1 Color 1 Station T-shirt Silk Screen Printing Machine:
If you’re looking for a one color one station screen printing machine, you can never go wrong with the Simple Single 1 Color 1 Station T-shirt Silk Screen Printing Machine. One of the most fascinating things about this machine is its quality construction. It boasts a full metal structure plus all stainless steel materials- all of which are covered by advanced electrostatic spraying for easy cleaning, rustproof, and elegant appearance.
Far from construction, the machine does its intended job perfectly well. It comes with a dedicated t-shirt pallet that delivers accurate positioning as well as good quality printing effect. If you’re also printing on substrates that require overprinting- like the pillowcase, non-woven bags, bags, etc. - this machine will be the best option. It comes with easy to dismantle pallet that you can easily change according to your substrate to match your varying printing needs.
Operating this machine is also extremely easy! It comes with specially designed spring devices in the screen which quickly adjust up and down to make it easier for you to work with different sizes and weights of screens. The overall benefit of this unique design is that it delivers just the right spring intensity to keep the squeegee expelling or ink splashing that might affect the end result.
10. Ryonet DIY Shop Kit Review:
The Ryonet DIY Shop Kit is the perfect package to bring all your t-shirt printing ideas into life (and turn your hobby into a profitable venture). Whether you want to screen print for hobby/fun, you’re a beginner printer or want to set up a small business, this DIY Print Shop Original T-shirt Kit is made for you.
As a user-friendly DIY kit, the package comes with all the essential, ultra-premium you needed to make high-quality prints. Among these tools, you’ll get a durably constructed screen printing press that comes ready to handle a wider load of t-shirts. You’ll also get an instructional DVD that explains to you how to print with this machine like a pro. The box also contains a perfectly sized squeegee that enables you to spread ink across the screen smoothly.
Unlike most of the screen printing machines out there, this model also comes with a durably constructed, pre-stretched screen to so that you can start printing the moment it gets to your doorstep. To make the DIY kit complete, the manufacturer has also included an integrated exposure light as well as mounting fixture for the purpose of screen exposure.
Clearly, everything you need to print your lovely graphics onto your t-shirts is included in this kit. Isn’t this the dream DIY kit you’ve been waiting for?
11. BestEquip Screen Printing Machine 1 Station 1 Color Screen Printing Review:
For those looking for a screen printing machine with a limited budget, I’d recommend you to invest in this BestEquip Screen Printing Machine 1 Station 1 Color Screen Printing. This particular model also comes with a large screen, measuring up to 21.7 x 17.7 Inch. The fact that it’s overprtintable means that you can use it to print onto t-shirts, bags, pillowcase, non-woven bags, etc.
The fact that this printing press comes with a removable pallet, which allows you to print multiple images at the same time. You just need to put your substrate on the pallet, adjust your screen to the perfect position, and finally apply your first image. Then adjust your pallet again to allow you to apply another image, and so on. Keep in mind that you can move this pallet in your preferred direction- from left to right, up and down, and back and forth.
Because the screen clamp allows you to move it up and down, you’ll have an easy time working with screen frames within 4.5cm (1.8”) thickness. What’s more, the special design of the spring devices in the screen adjust up and down to allow you to work with screens of different weights or sizes.
12. 6 Color 6 Station Double Wheel Screen Printing Machine Review:
For those looking for the best screen printing machine for a large t-shirt printing business, this is your part. The 6 Color 6 Station Double Wheel Screen Printing Machine is a 6 color 6 station. This means that it can hold up to 6 screens and can work on multi-color projects- making it ideal for busy t-shirt printing business. The fact that it can load up to 6 tees means it has a high production rate.
The double wheel screen printing machine is also user-friendly and incredibly easy to operate. Depending on the weight and the size of the screens you’re using, you can easily adjust the screen clamp up or down to achieve the best screen fit. Besides, it comes with special spring devices design which translates to high accuracy spring intensity- eliminating the notorious squeegees expelling and ink splashings at higher intensities.
This machine also ranks among the easiest fine-adjusting models that are extremely simple to run. Just like all the other machines above, it also comes with a durable construction of high-strength steel metal to enable it to withstand regular use for a long period of time.
13. Ridgeyard 4 Color 1 Station Silk Screen Printing Press Machine:
As we near the end of our list of the top recommended products, allow me to introduce to you the Ridgeyard 4 Color 1 Station Silk Screen Printing Machine Screen Printing Press. Our research team recommends this particular machine to all small t-shirt printing business out there who want to invest in an affordable machine that produces best-quality work.
The main reason you should invest in this machine is its ability to work with up to four screens, thanks to its 4 stations 1 color design. Once installed, the machine rotates independently, making it ideal for 4 color overprint as well as design proof of the screen printing business. As an extension of the overprinting flat screen press, you can use this machine to print on a wide range of substrates that require overprinting. Amazingly, the machine comes with a special t-shirt pallet that gives you more accuracy and convenience when printing tees.
Like most of the top-rated machines available on the market, this Ridgeyard features adjustable double spring tension which makes it convenient for screen frames with different weights and sizes. Its combinational design saves space while making it easy to transport. To top it all, it comes with a durable, rustproof design to make it a longlisting machine worth every penny!
14. Double Rotary Manual 6-6 Colors Silk Screen Printing Press Machine:
Still looking for a heavy duty screen printing machine? If yes, you might also consider investing in this Double Rotary Manual 6-6 Colors Silk Screen Printing Press Machine. This 6 color printing machine, with up to 6 stations, comes designed such that you can rotate both the platens and frames. And this makes it extremely easy for you to work on as many as 6 projects simultaneously without having to move.
Such a machine will make the production process faster and faster!
Another interesting fact about this machine is that it comes with tension adjustable springs, situated in each arm. These are tasked with fully supporting the frame weights as you pull it down onto your printing pallets. What’s more, you can easily adjust these springs to accommodate larger screen frames without compromising the spring tension- this helps prevent the ink from spilling. Even better, you can adjust the pallet heights to a level you’re comfortable with when operating the machine.
Something else you’ll love about this machine is its ability to accommodate the uneven surfaces as well. This comes handy when you’re applying your designs to items with uneven surfaces. With the double rotary feature, you can hassle-freely make finer adjustments to your frame to enable it to perfectly adhere to the item you’re printing on.
Unlike most machines that require you to adjust the registration manually, this machine presents you with multiple red knobs that you can use to make tiny, smooth adjustments to achieve an even more precise alignment.
15. Commercial Bargains NS401 4 Color 1 Station Silk Screen Commercial Printing Press Machine Review:
We close our list with the Commercial Bargains NS401 4 Color 1 Station commercial printing press. It comes with a single rotary screen press design and allows you to work with up to 4 screens simultaneously. It does a great job at printing a wide range of items- including tees, woven fabrics, ceramic tiles, leather, copybook, wood, glass, and so much more.
Ideal for individual printing shops and small businesses, this machine features a table type and combinatorial design that helps you save as much as space as possible as well as easily transport this machine to your desired location. Given the fact that the screen printing platen is designed to rotate independently, you’ll doubtlessly operate this machine easily (and with higher efficiency).
To enable it to work with screen frames of different weights, this machine also comes with adjustable double-spring devices we’ve seen in the other models. Moreover, it comes with supporting device to keep it balanced and stable. Above all, it has an all-metal construction plus advanced electrostatic spraying to make it durable, easy to clean, and 100% rustproof.
Screen Printing Machine Buying Guide: What To Look For In It?
The market is generous with thousands of screen printing machines- with different sets of features, prices, performance quality, and from different brands.
But when it comes to choosing the perfect model, I can assure you that things won’t be easy.
No need to panic though…
As I promised you at the beginning of this post, I’ll outline all the things you should look for when buying your machine in this section to make the buying process easier for you.
Let’s do this:
One of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting a screen printing machine is its overall build and quality.
Keeping in mind that you’re making a significant investment that you want to use for many years to come in your business, you should look for the materials used to make the machine. Make sure you invest in a reliable and durable machine that can withstand volumes of jobs with frequent use, and with minimal cases of repair and maintenance.
For the most part, heavier machines signify durable machines since heavier material tend to be heavier. But don’t get me wrong…lighter materials don’t mean bad quality.
Just ensure the construction materials are strong, durable, and long-lasting. Period.
The size of the machine you plan to buy also significantly influences your final decision.
That said, it’s important to note that the size of the machine you go with depends on the products you intend to print with it, the amount of physical space available at you, and the need for a portable machine that can be moved from place to place.
If you’re planning to work on larger items- say bed sheets, towels, etc. - then you should go for the larger models. But remember these models might not be easy to move.
What if you’ve limited space and want to confine yourself to printing smaller items only? Well, in that case, you should look for smaller models (which have an added advantage of being highly portable).
Ease of Use
Looking at how easy to use a machine is before buying is also an important consideration.
If you go through most of the customer reviews of various machines, you’ll be surprised to note that most of them comment about how easy or hand a machine was for them to operate.
That said, you’d want to look for a model that comes with an easy to use design. Ensure the manufacturer includes the user instructions on how to use the machine.
If you’re looking for a multi-color machine, it’s also recommended that you look for one that comes with rotational design. This ensures that you can easily use it to print on multiple items without having to move or move the machine.
Having a clear picture of what you intend to use your machine for is a great idea. This will help you invest in a machine that meets all your needs.
Many are the times you’ll hear a businessman saying that they wish they had bought a six-color model instead of a 4-color. Others complain that their current 6-color is of less help and wish they’d have bought an 8-color.
I know you don’t want to end in such regrets, so I’d recommend you to ensure you fully understand what you want to use your machine fro. Determine how many colors you’ll want to work with today, tomorrow, and in the feature.
In other words, look for a versatile model that will accommodate the changing patterns of your t-shirt printing business.
Ease of Installation
Another essential thing to look for when buying a screen printing press is its ease of installation.
Make sure that the machine you want to buy is easy to install. Check if it comes with all the hardware required for installation. Confirm that the manufacturer has included the necessary installation instructions in the box as well.
Most importantly, go through the previous user reviews to see if they had reported any issues installing the machine.
This will save you from the headaches most people encounter when trying to figure out how to set up a machine, especially if it’s your first time using it.
Manufacturer Warranty and Services
Now that you’re buying a mechanical device, why should you check if it comes with the manufacturer warranty?
Remember that even if the machine comes from the most reputable manufacturers, it’s prone to fail at times. And if it comes with the owner warranty, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that you’ll know what to do when such a time comes.
Aside from that, you should look for companies that offer after-sale services.
Look for a company that has great technical support staff that you can call at any time to help you solve any problems your machine might be having.
Lastly, set aside some reasonable budget for the screen printer you want to buy.
Despite the fact that these machines had way better features that most of the other t-shirt printing alternatives out there, you can still find a model that matches your limited budget.
My secret to picking a top-quality model with limited budget involves making a list of all the machines that fall within my budget. Then, I go through their features and tick the ones with the best features that meet my printing needs.
This way, I’m left with fewer choices to pick from.
DIY: How To Screen Print Your Own T-shirts at Home
So, you want to know how you can screen print your own t-shirts at the comfort of your home?
Well, this might sound intimidating to you, but it’s easier than you can imagine. Plus the materials needed for the process are inexpensive.
In this section, I’ll share with you some easy-peasy steps that you can follow to screen print your own tees at home without necessarily investing in a top-quality machine…
First things first: You’ll need to gather the necessary supplies
Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to get the job done:
Step 1: prepare the artwork you want to print on your t-shirt
Obviously, the first step involves preparing the image/design you wish to print on your t-shirt. If it’s your first time doing this, you’d want to come up with something simple, with thick lines.
Remember that the primary purpose of the image is to block light, so you should consider coming up with a solid black image.
Once the image is ready, simply print it out on a transparency paper using the laser printer and proceed to step 2 below…
Step 2: prepare your frame and screen
Here, you can opt to make your own screen or use the commercially prepared one.
To make your own, simply grab an old wooden picture frame and tightly cover it with cut up old gauzy nylon curtain or an organdy silk screen fabric.
Ensure you stretch the fabric as much as possible and thoroughly secure it using the staple gun all around the frame. Also, ensure you keep the fabric straight to ensure that the ink passes through the fabric holes evenly.
For those who are using the commercially prepared screen, prepare it for printing by thoroughly washing it with the help of a mild abrasive to ensure its holes aren’t clogged in previously used ink, grease or dirt. You should also allow it to dry thoroughly.
Step 3: apply the emulsion onto the screen
Start by mixing the emulsion with the sensitizer thoroughly as per the directions outlined in the containers.
Now cover both sides of the screen with the emulsion mixture, beginning with the substrate side. As you apply the mixture, ensure you thinly and evenly spread it all over the screen, ensuring that all the holes are covered.
FYI, the side of the screen that comes into contact with your tee is knowns as the substrate, while the side where the ink is placed is known as inkwell.
Finally, put the screen in a dark place- say a closet- to enable it to dry. You can even pint a fan to the screen to improve the dry rate.
CAUTION: Ensure the emulsion dries completely before proceeding to the next step (this can take around 45 minutes or even hours).
Step 4: Now expose your image into the screen
At this stage, you’ll need to attach your image to the screen emulsion coated screen above and then expose it to light.
This helps burn the image onto the screen. This makes it easy for the ink to pass through your screen and get transferred to your t-shirt.
To do this, grab the completely dry screen and lay it down on top of a piece of black fabric/plastic/paper- with the inkwell side up and the substrate side facing down. Then lay your template on the screen, with the design laying on the inkwell side. Consider attaching it with a tape.
Next, place a lamp right around 1-2 foot above the screen. You can opt the professional screen printing lights or get the 200-250 Watt bulb. Put off any other lights in the room. The process should take 10-15 minutes after which the image becomes burnt onto the screen.
WARNING: be careful not to overexpose your image as it can cause it to bleed!
Step 5: Rinse the screen
At this point, I’m assuming that your photosensitive emulsion has fully hardened, so it’s time to remove your image and clean your screen with freezing cold water.
When cleaning, the emulsion that was under your artwork tends to flake off. You can opt to use the rough side of your kitchen sponge or even your hand to gently rub the area that was covered by the emulsion to improve the cleaning process.
When the screen is thoroughly rinsed, your artwork should be highly visible, just like it looks on your transparency.
Step 6: Printing time!
I know this is the step you’ve been desperately waiting for….
Before you print, I’d advise you to first put a masking or painter’s tape along your screen edges to keep off any sloppy leaks. Also, place the tee you want to print on a flat surface to avoid image distortions.
NOW…lay your screen down such that the substrate side makes contact with the t-shirt you’re printing. Next, pour some little ink horizontally across the screen top. And with the help of the squeegee, pull the ink down across your image- pressing it through your screen to your tee.
To ensure the ink gets pressed evenly and thoroughly through the screen, I’d also recommend you to consider moving your squeegee back and forth and up and down.
Ensure you hold the screen in place; else the image might not come out clearly.
Step 7: Finally, do the cleanup
The best part about screen printing ink is that it dries pretty quickly. This means that the moment you’re done printing your fabric, you can wash off the ink from the screen and use it print a different image.
Using a great emulsion remover helps you easily clean the screen for reuse.
While still on it, some ink manufacturers recommend putting your printed t-shirt in an oven (preheated to 400 degrees F, for around 30 seconds) to help set the ink. Others advise you to iron the back of your fabric to achieve the same goal.
Watch This Video:
When you’ve finally found a good deal, you’ve one more step to go…
Determining the cost:
To do that, I’d recommend you to do a quick search on sites that sell secondhand items- like eBay and Craigslist.
These will give you a nice idea of how much you should pay for the item at hand.
Overall, if you’ve a good budget, just go for a brand new machine to avoid inconveniences and frustrations.
But if you have limited budget or come across a used machine that’s highly functional, then you can consider investing in it.
DIY Screen Printing Machine: How To Build Your Own?
Any DIYers in the house?
Nice. I’ve good news for you…
You can build your own screen printing machine from scratch. The tools and materials needed for this process are readily available and fairly affordable.
So, you’ll end up with a high-quality screen printing machine- even better than the ones on the market- without breaking the bank.
Here’s the deal:
I’ll show you how to construct a 4 color t-shirt screen printing press.
I’ll provide you with everything you need to construct this machine; I’ll give you a full plan detailing the step-by-step instructions to follow from start to finish. I’ll also give you a link to the video so to make things even easier for you to understand.
Download the full, 100% FREE plan here as a pdf.
Or just follow the instructions as outlined in this site.
Here’s the full video for those who prefer learning via visuals:
Now that you’ve everything you need to build your own 4-color printing press, you can get started ASAP.
And oh! Don’t forget to share your final product with us.
In an era where the screen printing business is gaining popularity every new day, you’d want to venture into it and get your piece of the cake. The first step to setting up your screen printing business involves getting the best-quality screen printing machine that will meet your business printing needs and expectations.
A great machine equates to quality job that appeals to your customers. And the happy your customers are, the more times they’ll return and even refer their friends.
Don’t wait to start your t-shirt printing business when everyone has already exhausted the industry. Get yourself one of top 10 best screen printing machines listed above and start raking in the profits.
These machines have a simple learning curve, so you’ll get used to them faster than you think.
And in case you’ve difficulties selecting the perfect machine for your new business, just follow our buying guide above for a hassle-free shopping process.