T-shirt Screen printing basic setup for Graphic Designers and Artist. If you are a graphic designer or an artist and want to print your designs and launch your Merchandise. Then this blog will help you understand what are the things that you will be needing. (For beginner setup only)
T-shirt screen printing The basic setup:
First of you will need few Machines, Screen Printing Accessories, Inks and Chemicals, Photoshop/Illustrator/CorelDraw and finally the Products that you want to print.
For beginner you dont need to invest in screen printing machine straight up. What you need is
1.Screen printing frame: Screen printing frame is a rectangular shape frame made with either wood or aluminium.
2.Clamps: Clamps are use for holding the frame so it is more steady.
3.LED Light or a basic light box to expose your design in a transparent film or paper.
4. A heat gun to dry the inks
5. Heat press (optional).
6. Laser printer/ink jet printer to print out the designs in a transparent paper/film to expose.
7. A wash booth or a water sink to wash your screen frame.
8. A Table to print your designs.
Screen printing Accessories:
To have a smooth operational flow in daily printing you will need these accessories.
- Extra frames
- Screen Mesh: The cloth that is in the frame
- Super Glue
- Duck Tape
- Emulsion scoup
- Ink scoup
Inks and chemicals
T-shirt screen printing Inks:
In t-shirt screen printing there are 3 types of ink that are commonly used.
- Plastisol Ink: If you are a beginner you should be definitely be using this ink, it is easy to handle and gives a nice opaque color. It also doesnt require special chemicals and the ink can be cured by a heat gun or a heat press.
- Water base Ink: Water base inks are generally thinner then plastisol and it requires water base emulsions to apply in the mesh, a curing machine and so on. I would say this ink is more intermediate level ink because it requires deeper understanding of how screen printing is done and how inks are cured.
- Discharge Ink: Discharge ink is also a waterbase ink but it needs a activator agent to dye the colors in the fabric itself. It requires a conveyor belt dryer with blower to activate the agent. This is for more advance level and requires special chemicals and machines to handle.
However, for beginners I recommend plastisol inks to begin with but it is not necessary a beginners ink. Plastisol inks are widely used by screen printers worldwide. It totally depends on how your designs are and what ink you want to use.
Below are the list of chemicals you will be needing.
- Reducer: This chemical is used for cleaning the screens once you have finish your printing or you add to reduce the thickness of the ink.
- Emulsion: Emulsion a photosensitive chemical that is applied in the screen mesh. When you have applied the coat of emulsions in the screen and after it have dried you will need to place your artwork to expose and wash it with water to form a negative stencil of your artwrok and you can start printing.
- Emulsion activator: You will also need a emulsion activator and mix together with the emulsion to create the light sensitive. Usually when you buy emulsion you will get the activator.
- Adhesive glue/spray: Adhesive glue is applied to the table or platen in order to make your t-shirt stick so that it doesnt move while you are printing or if you need to apply a second coat.
For designing you will need any of the following software.
- or any graphic design software
Products you can experiment
The title obviously says T-shirt. However you will be surprise that you can have a wide range of products that you can screen print. Below I have listed few of them.
- Tote Bags
- and many other things.
So to sum it up above are few of the things you will need to setup your first screen printing studio. Remember this is only for beginners and from here you can learn how to screen print. You can always invest for professional machines and equipments later when you have already become expert. But trust me with all the basic setup you can still create many amazing things and still be printing professionally. So I hope you all found this article informative and if you want to know why screen printing is still used, click the link HERE
Check out this video we made couple of years before to have a rough idea about screen Printing. Also you can check out how our WOLF DESIGN was printed by clicking HERE
In next article we will teach hot to print from start to finish in details. So stay tune and updated to our blog.