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Screen Printing Business Idea

Learning how to start a screen printing business is relatively simple. Thanks to improved technology and machinery, a screen printing business can be set up in a room of your home and is very inexpensive to start.

The equipment is easily handled by one person if you wish to start small in your t-shirt business.

Finding customers, on the other hand, may not be quite as simple!

One of the wonderful things about learning how to start a screen printing business is the amount of work you can generate from the internet. The web allows you to accept business from all over the world.

No longer do businesses have to view endless proofs. With software and internet capabilities they can upload their graphic information easily and quickly for your business to process. You can operate both your screen printing as well as a digital printing business.

Scope Of How To Start A Screen Printing Business

Screen printing is a craft and like any business you must provide a quality product to succeed. In screen printing an image is produced by a mesh and is placed on a frame with a stencil or image plate.

A squeegee is used to work in through the material. It is a process that can produce designs on a variety of items including, t-shirts, hats, shorts, glass, polyethylene, paper, metals, and wood.

Part of deciding how to start a screen printing business is focusing on which items you want to promote. T-shirts are profitable and ideal for the starting screen printer but niche markets exist in high-end clothing, decorative tapestry, awards and recognition items, promotional CD’s, etc.

You may also choose to target a select type such as team uniforms or fundraising t-shirts. Research your local and web competition to find the item market you can be most competitive in.

Leasing or buying your equipment

If you are starting out small it will probably be better to buy your supplies rather than lease. You can start small for under $2,000. However, if you wish to start with a larger set-up, you may want to consider leasing.

Leasing has many advantages including; fewer upfront costs, flexible payment options, easy equipment upgrades, and the ability to use more advanced technology.

The most expensive item is the screening station. Small business can start with a station of 1 bin with a single color up to 10 bins with 10 colors. The more colors you have available the quicker you can perform complex designs.

Most designs will not require more than 4 colors so this is a nice number to begin with. The minimum equipment and supplies you need to start include:

  • Screens
  • Degreasing chemical
  • Emulsion
  • Coater
  • Drying cabinet
  • Washing Booth
  • Pressure washer
  • Scoops
  • Spot lifter
  • Inks
  • Software, Computer, and Scanner
  • Ink degrader
  • Squeegees
  • Drying Cabinet


Classes are offered through various sources including equipment manufacturers, trade and technical schools, and private instruction/apprenticeship. Basic courses taught at a facility are typically cost $500-$1,500.00 and private courses taught at your site cost from $3,500.00 – $5,500.00. The following is a description of the classes and techniques you will need to learn.

  • Proper screen coating technique
  • How to choose and use the proper screen frame
  • Athletic numbering
  • Special inks and procedures
  • Curing and Flashing
  • Screen cleaning and reclaiming
  • Mesh selection and use
  • Controlling exposure control with emulsion
  • Equipment Troubleshooting

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