Screen printing is a unique industry. Printers take a blank shirt and turn it into a work of art. You can make anything out of the trade, whether that’s a hobby or a full-time gig. Stepping into screen printing can be a little intimidating. There’s so much to learn, and it’s a guarantee that you’ll make mistakes along the way. So where do you start? Let’s walk through what you’ll need to start screen printing and the best ways to learn the craft.
WHY SCREEN PRINTING?
Screen printing can be whatever you want it to be. Need a creative outlet? Print some t-shirts. Are you looking for extra cash? Start up a side hustle from a spare room in your house or your garage. You can screen print full time, or simply print t-shirts for family vacations. It’s all up to you.
Every screen printer started somewhere. Take Jerome Haygood from Aerogant Printing Company for example. Jerome began to screen print his own brand because outsourcing the printing wasn’t working for him anymore. He set up shop in his basement and has been steadily growing ever since.
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Bhavik Dhanak, the screen printer behind Aesthetic Imprints, started screen printing as a high school hobby. His first paid job was for a club at his high school. Since then, this young print hustler has upgraded his basement shop with state-of-the-art equipment. The grind never stops.
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The best part of screen printing is that it’s scalable to your needs. There’s equipment for every size shop. Let’s talk about what you need to start screen printing.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SCREEN PRINT?
There’s a ton of equipment printers can get to screen print, but ultimately it depends on what you want to do with screen printing and your budget constraints. You’ll need a press, curing method, ink, screens, squeegees, cleaning chemicals and so much more.
Shopping around for equipment and supplies can be fun. Comparison shopping gives you the best equipment for the best price. Sometimes, it’s nice to have all the equipment and supplies in one place. You can add everything you need in one click and be sure that you aren’t forgetting anything. Check out the Riley Hopkins 150 Complete Screen Printing Kit. It has everything a novice printer needs to start out.
The Riley Hopkins 150 press is a great starter press. It’s built like a race car, so it’s over-engineered to perform for you. The kit includes an exposure unit for exposing screens, and a flash dryer to flash and cure garments. There are also emulsion, ink, screens, squeegees, cleaning chemicals, and more. You’ll have everything you need to get started.
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HOW DO YOU SCREEN PRINT?
So you’ve got everything set up in your shop space. Now, it’s time to start screen printing. But how do you start? Screen printing is all about the learning process. Even large shops are still learning as they go. It takes time and practice to learn the tricks of the trade. The biggest thing to remember is that making mistakes is how you learn.
The great news is that there are tons of free resources to help you learn to screen print. There are YouTube tutorials, blogs about everything from film output to proper screen storage, and free courses that cover the entire screen printing process.
Looking for a comprehensive course to learn the basics of screen printing? There’s a course just for you. How to Screen Print with a Kit: 150 Edition is a free course designed to teach novice printers the basics of printing. Watch or follow along and learn how to set up a darkroom, choose the right shirts for a job, print with both water-based and plastisol ink, reclaim a screen, and so much more.
The course uses the Riley Hopkins 150 Complete Screen Printing Kit as a backbone, so you can follow along and get screen printing. The course is also packed with extra resources and helpful quizzes, so you’ll know the material inside and out.
Screen printing is great, and takes a lot of time to learn. Get the right equipment that works for your space and budget, collect all the resources you need to learn the trade, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The only limit is your imagination.