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How To Build A Vacuum Table For ScreenPrinting

If you have ever attempted to screen print, you will know that it is absolutely essential that everything stays completely still and inline. Screen Printing is the process of pressing ink through a mesh and onto a surface of your choice. The end result is a perfectly placed design on a poster, fabric, or whatever you have chosen to print on.

Vacuum tables are often the table of choice for this kind of project, to ensure the fabric stays exactly where it needs to in order to create a crisp and seamless transfer. You can by all means screenprint without using a vacuum table, but the results are of poorer quality and the process takes much longer to complete. 

What tools do you need to make your own vacuum table?

Steel Table Top

Steel table tops are usually very thin, it doesn’t need to be thicker than 2 or 3 inches to work well. The length and width of the tabletop are completely down to you and your personal needs. 

A Vacuum

Check out these great vacuums that are perfect for the job. 

A Pen and Ruler

This may seem like a very simple tool and it is certainly one that is very forgettable, however, you will need to mark and measure out where you want the holes to be on the table. 

A Drill

Having a good drill is a must otherwise, the project will take you much, much longer to complete. 


Preferably an electric sander. 

Plywood Wooden frame

You will need to place this under the steel tabletop. 


To secure the table.

Wood Varnish  and Silicone Sealing

The wood varnish seals the inside of the box. 

How to Build a Vacuum Table For ScreenPrinting?

Now for the important part, the construction of the table itself. This can be done very cheaply if you are on a budget, so look around for bargains. Here is our vacuum table step by step guide;

  1. Cut your metal sheet to size and mark out where you want the air holes to be. It is better to have lots of little air holes, than a few, large holes. 
  2. Drill the holes in the metal tabletop only. 
  3. Sand down the steel tabletop once the drilling is complete. Doing this will ensure no shards of metal are protruding out of the sheet that could potentially harm you. 
  4. Cut the plywood frame to shape. Make sure it is the same size as the steel top. 
  5. Secure the wood and tabletop together with screws. Sand down the screws so that they are fish with the metal top. 
  6. Seal the wood with varnish and silicone.
  7. Drill a hole in the middle of the wooden frame where you want the vacuum hose to go. 
  8. Fit your simple hinge clamps onto the metal tabletop. 
  9. Attach the metal tabletop onto the wooden frame using silicone sealant and glue. 
  10. Bolt it tight. 
  11. Leave a weight on top of the sheet overnight. 
  12. Attach the hose to the underside of the table.
  13. Attach the wooden legs onto the table. 

You see, it is that easy!

James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.