Best Screen Printing Machine For Small Business- Reviews 2019

Screen printing can be a profitable home-based business or one of the best ways to make customized gifts for your loved ones. It doesn’t take long to make a T-shirt, neither is it very hard work; if you have the ideas and the designs, you can turn your screen printing machine into a booming business in no time. 

But for that, you need the best screen printing machine available in the market. These machines - and there are many, there’s no doubt about it - all have similar features and uses. However, there’s one that should be the perfect one for you, based on your designs and your business size. 

Here is everything you need to know about screen printing machines, and the best way to get the right one for yourself. 

9 Best Screen Printing Machine: Review 2019 

Here is a list of the 9 most popular screen printing machines available in the market for beginners and professionals alike. 

1. VEVOR Screen Printing Machine

This screen printing machine comes with four separate platen stations, so that you will be able to print on four separate pieces simultaneously. Each platen is 21.7 inch x 17.7 inch in size, perfect for Tshirts, pillow covers, tote bags and other such personal belongings. 

Installation is a lengthy but easy process, and doesn’t require any technical knowledge. The machine has been designed in a way that stays flat on any table, without having to buy or make a special table for your operations. This machine is quite convenient for transporting, as well.

You can use not only fabric on this machine, but also paper, metal, leather, ceramic, woven fabric, plastic, glass and wood. Anything that’s flat and can be printed upon, you can use in this machine. 

The screen clamp can be moved both upwards and downwards, suitable for any screen frame that is within 5.08 cm (2 inches) thick. The machine is fully metal, made from durable stainless steel and sprayed with advanced electrostatic; you can use this machine for many years, even with regular production. It won’t rust and is easy to clean, too. 

Features: 

  • 4 color 4 stations for simultaneous work 
  • Each platen is 21.7 inch x 17.7 inch 
  • Removable screen clamp 
  • Clamp suitable for any screen frame under 2” thickness 
  • Non-rusting 
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be used on all hard and flat surfaces 
  • Made for use on any table 
  • Convenient for transporting and carrying

2. Yudu Personal Screen Printer

This is a small and efficient screen printing machine from Yudu for your home, for any kind of personal printing to decorate your home or workplace. While this is not the right machine for commercial purposes, you can certainly use it to make personalised T-shirts and other belongings, for yourself and your loved ones. 

This is not just a screen printer, but actually a complete set that comes with the machine, an adult T-shirt platen, emulsion sheets, a mesh screen, a squeegee, adhesive sheets for your platens, and a 2-ounce bottle of ink (black).

With one single purchase, you can start making T-shirts with any black-and-white text or design with this machine. It has everything you’ll need for your first few creations. 

This screen printer from Yudu is completely automatic, with an easy-to-operate control panel that you can use to control the printer’s light, fan and exposure.

This machine needs to be connected to a computer/laptop as well as an inkjet printer to operate. The machine itself is around 32 inch wide and 21 inches deep, with a height of 11 inches. 

Features: 

  • Perfect machine for personal use at home 
  • Comes with all the accessories needed for printing 
  • Comes with 2-ounce black ink bottle 
  • Needs to be connected to an inkjet printer and a computer 
  • Easy-to-operate button and cotnrol panel 
  • Easy-to-clean 
  • Comes with instructional DVD 
  • Measurement: 32” x 21” x 11”
  • Works on cotton and poly-cotton

3. Simple Single 1 Color 1 Station Screen Printing Machine

From Commercial Bargains, this is a simple, manually operated screen printing machine that is extremely easy to use and operate. The machine is a manual one, can be set up on any table, convenient to use and compact; you can carry it around with you as this machine saves space and is quite lightweight.

All the parts of this screen printing machine is stainless steel, making it sturdy and durable. 

You can use this screen printing machine for T-shirts, tote bags, pillowcases and bed sheets in only one color, as it comes with only one platen. The screen clamp can also be moved up and down, and works on any screen frame that is under 2 cm thick. 

Features: 

  • Manual screen printing machine 
  • Single platen machine 
  • Designed for single-color T-shirts and other fabric belongings 
  • Removable screen clamp 
  • Screen clamps work on any screen frame under 2 cm 
  • Stainless steel durable body 
  • Space saving and travel-friendly 
  • Can be set on any table

4. SHZOND Screen Printing Press Station

This is another small and efficient screen printing machine that comes with only 1 color station, for single-color T-shirt printing. Each platen is about 21.7” x 17.7”, the right size for any adult T-shirt, tote bag, pillow cover or any other such personal belongings.

The screen pallet is a removable one, and can be adjusted in any direction to fit your design - up and down, left and right. The screen clamp is suitable for any frame that is under 1.8” thickness. 

You can use this manual on surfaces other than fabric and woven fabric, including metal, copybook, paper, wood, plastic and circuit board. In short, you can use this machine to print on any surface that is hard and flat. Mostly for personal use, this is a durable machine that you can also get if you run a small home-based business. 

Features: 

  • Small and efficient machine, perfect for home-based businesses 
  • Single color 1 station machine 
  • Platen is 21.7” x 17.7” in size 
  • Removable and adjustable screen pallet 
  • Screen clamp suitable for any screen frame under 1.8” thick 
  • Can be used on most hard and flat surfaces 
  • Can be used on cotton and other fabric

5.  Mophorn Screen Printing Machine 

This screen printing machine from Mophorn is 32” in width, 7.9” in height and 55” in length, with a platen of 21.7” x 17.7” in size.

You can use any kind of fabric and woven fabric in this machine, from T-shirts to pillowcases, tote bags and non-woven bags. The platen layer can be adjusted and rotated, which makes it easy to create a design on your materials. 

This screen printing machine comes with an adjustable double-spring device, which is suitable and compatible with a number of screen frames, even ones of different weight and size. The double-sided support under the machine is made from stainless steel and keeps your machine steady, even when you are putting pressure on it. 

Features: 

  • Compact and convenient machine 
  • Lightweight at 46 pounds 
  • Single color one station machine 
  • Adjustable double spring screen clamp device 
  • Supports all kinds of screen frames of different thickness 
  • Double sided support on the bottom 
  • 32” x 7.9” x 55” machine size 
  • 27.7” x 17.7” platen size 
  • Perfect for all kinds of woven and non-woven fabric

6. BestEquip Screen Printing Machine 

This screen printing machine from BestEquip comes with two stations but at the same time, 4 color options. You can work on two separate products at the same time  with this machine, and use four different colors on your design.

Each of the platens are 21.7” x 17.7”, and the machine is 32” x 7.9” x 75” in size. You can also print any kind of woven and non-woven fabrics in this machine, from T-shirts to pillowcases, bags and non-woven bags. 

The top part of this screen printing machine, i.e. the screen clamps can be moved independently, rotated and moved up and down. This makes it easier and faster to work on your multiple products at the same time; each of the screen clamps are adjustable and can hold screen printing frames of different sizes, weight and circumference.

The machine can be easily set up on any table, doesn’t take much space and has excellent support at the bottom. 

Features: 

  • 4 color 2 station screen printing machine 
  • 21.7” x 17.7” platen sizes 
  • 32” x 7.9” x 75” machine size 
  • Adjustable screen clamp moves independently 
  • Screen clamps can accommodate screen frames of all sizes and weight 
  • Works on all woven and non-woven materials 
  • Can be set up on any table 
  • Space saving design

7. Merchmakr All-in-One Screen Printing Kit 

With this screen printing machine, you are getting everything you need for your first ever design, together, without you having to buy anything separately.

Besides, it has some accessories that you don’t get in the other kits available in the market, i.e. a unit to make your own screen stencils. This kit also comes with a screen printing press, an exposure unit with built-in light, a digital timer with bulbs included, an easily changeable screen, a 12-inch squeezee, a 8-ounce black ink bottle, and a few waterproof inkjet transparency films.

In addition, you get a pint of dual cure emulsion paint and one coater to apply that emulsion paint, one pint of emulsion remover and a DVD with detailed instructions about everything. 

A unique feature of this particular brand of screen printing machine and kit is the HotSwap Registration System - a special system that lets you quickly change your screen filters from the screen clamps, making it possible to use different colors in your design in the shortest time possible.

This makes your entire job quicker if you want to use multiple colors in the same design, despite the machine having only one station. 

Features: 

  • Complete kit and set of accessories and screen printing machine 
  • Comes with all the accessories needed for screen printing 
  • Comes with emulsion paint, coater and emulsion remover 
  • Comes with 8-ounce black ink 
  • Comes with a DVD of detailed instructions 
  • HotSwap features lets you change screen filters fast 
  • Adjustable screen clamp

8. TECHTONGDA 6 Color 6 Station Screen Printing Machine 

If you have a home-based screen printing business or if you want to commercially produce your own designs on personal items, this is the perfect screen printing machine for you.

It is sturdy and durable, and comes with 6 stations for 6 colors that will make your work faster and more efficient. You can use this machine to quickly add six layers of different colors to your products, whereas other similar machines can only allow one, two or four colors. 

The top portion of the machine, i.e. the screen layer and the pallet layer, can be both independently moved and rotated, allowing you to work all six colors on the same surface simultaneously. You can work on 6 products at the same time, and can use as many as 6 colors on them, without having to take a break. 

The maximum size of frame that you can use is 16” x 20”; and the screen clamp can be suitable for any frame within 3 cm thickness. The entire top portion can be rotated 360-degree, and the support system at the bottom is extremely sturdy, and excellent for keeping this machine standing still.

Despite having 6 stations, you can easily set this machine up on any table; it has a space-saving design, and is also quite lightweight and can be transported. 

Features:

  • Total of 6 color 6 stations for simultaneous production 
  • Screen clamp and screen pallet com completely 360-degree rotatable and moveable 
  • Big supporting stand at the bottom 
  • 16” x 20” maximum frame size 
  • Screen clamp can accommodate frames under 3 cm thickness 
  • Adjustable double-sinning device support screen frames of different size and weight 
  • Can be set on table top 
  • Easy to carry and transport 
  • Space-saving design 
  • Sturdy built

9. INTBUYING Screen Printing Press 

This screen printing machine is new, simple and efficient. This is a manual press machine from INTBUYING that comes with one station, for single-color design creations.

If you like to wear T-shirts made with your own quotes, or if you want to carry tote bags with your own name/logo, this is the screen printing machine to start personalizing your belongings.

Besides, if you are thinking of starting a home-based screen printing business on a larger scale, this machine from INTBUYING is the perfect place to start or practice. 

This is a rather small and compact machine, one that you can easily set up on any table and operate without needing any real physical strength. This particular machine doesn’t come with a bracket, but with screws that you can use to fix the platen and the frames to the machine.

You get 4 built-in screws with this machine, two on the bottom for the platen and two on the top part of the frame. For this model, you need to separately purchase the frames and the platens. 

The top part of the machine holding the screen printing frame can moved up and down, but not sideways, or rotated. This machine is mainly for a single color design, or multiple colors if you can quickly change the top frame.

The screen clamp can hold any frame under 5 cm thick, and the pallet can be adjusted within a distance of 12 cm. 

Features: 

  • Small, efficient and convenient 
  • One color, one station machine 
  • Perfect as starter machine or for a hobby 
  • Screen frame can be moved up and down 
  • Screen clamps can hold frames up to 5 cm thick 
  • Pallet can be adjusted up to 12 cm 
  • Easy to assemble on any table top 
  • Doesn’t come with platens or frames

Buying a Screen Printing Machine: Things to Consider 

When it comes to screen printing machines, many of the features are the same, but what matters most are the size and the capability.

It all depends on whether you want to buy a screen printing machine for your own personal use or for a business. However, before settling on a model, here are the features to look for in a machine. 

1. Size 

Whether you are getting a machine for your personal use or for commercial purposes, the more compact the machine, the better it is for you. Unless you have a factory, a whole workspace or have taken the whole garage for your work, you need something small and compact.

Most screen printing machines, despite being made with stainless steel, aren’t very heavy or very large. Most of these machines can actually be set up on any table top for your convenience. 

There are smaller screen printing machines available with only one or two stations, like the INTBUYING Screen Printing Press and then, there are the rather large ones with 6 stations, such as the TECHTONGDA 6 Color 6 Station Screen Printing Machine.

There are also options in between, and the decision depends on your purpose and space: whether you want a big machine or a small one. 

2. Number of Stations 

With screen printing machines, you get options of one station (INTBUYING Screen Printing Press), two stations (BestEquip Screen Printing Machine ) 4 stations (VEVOR Screen Printing Machine ) and six stations (TECHTONGDA 6 Color 6 Station Screen Printing Machine).

The stations are where you can place your T-shirts, pillow cases, tote bags or any other personal belongings you want to design. The more the number of stations you have in your machine, the more products you can work on at the same time. 

Numerous stations are needed only when you are working on a large batch of products, or when you are producing your designs commercially. If you run a business, the best option for you would be to choose a four station machine or a six station machine.

When you have multiple products in multiple stations working together, you can even save on a lot of paint and ink by working on all of them at the same time. 

However, if this is a hobby and you only make T-shirts or bags for yourselves and a choice few, a simpler machine with only one station can be enough for you. 

3. Number of Color Options 

With the smaller screen printing machines, you usually get a single color option, such as the Simple Single 1 Color 1 Station Screen Printing Machine or the SHZOND Screen Printing Press Station.

These machines with single color options are great for printing names or logos on your T-shirt, tote bags or any other surfaces, and also for quotes, celebratory messages and simple designs. These machines may come with multiple platen or station options at the bottom, but only one screen frame on top.

Although you can change the top screen frames on these machines for additional color usage, this is not recommended because it takes too long and might waste ink. 

On the other hand, if you want multiple colors on your products, i.e. a complex design, you need a machine that can give you at least two to four color options.

The BestEquip Screen Printing Machine has only two stations but 4 color options, and the VEVOR Screen Printing Machine has four color options with 4 stations; the TECHTONGA Screen Printing Machine, the largest of them all, has 6 color options and 6 stations, perfect for commercial purposes. 

4. Flexibility 

With most single color 1 station screen printing machines (i.e. the Mophorn Screen Printing Machine), you don’t get much flexibility. The top part of the machine holding the screen filter can be moved up and down, but not sideways.

This is acceptable when you are working on a single product with one color option, but not when you are producing commercially or want color options. 

For a more flexible machine, you need to look at models that give you multiple color and station options, such as the TECHTONGA Screen Printing Machine and the BestEquip Screen Printing Machine.

These machines have a flexible top part that can be rotated 360-degree so that you have more flexibility in your work. You can simultaneously add four to six different colors and designs to your products one after one, without having to remove or change any of the filters.

This is only possible because the top part of these machines holding the screen filters can be swiveled your way when needed, making your work faster and easier. 

You need this kind of speed and flexibility when you are working on a large batch of products or producing your designs commercially, but not when you are only working on a few T-shirts or bags. 

5. Convenience 

Most of the screen printing machines available in the market are quite compact, lightweight and convenient to use. Installation is quite easy as well, as most of them come equipped with an instruction DVD.

Besides, all of these screen printing machines, be the small 1 station ones or the larger 6 station ones - can be set up easily on any kind of work table. However, if you are still worried about size and convenience of using, the smaller machines that come with only 1 station and 1 color options are better for you, as most of them aren’t much better than a regular printer. 

6. Complete Sets  

While most screen printing machines are standalone products that come separately, you can also get some of them in sets.

The Yudu Personal Screen Printer, for example, comes not just with the machine, but also ink, a T-shirt platen, multiple emulsion sheets, a mesh screen, a squeegee, as well as adhesive sheets for your platens. These are all the accessories that you’ll need for your first few designs. 

The Merchmakr All-in-One Screen Printing Kit too comes with everything that you’ll need for your designs, as well as a pint of dual cure emulsion paint, a coater to apply that paint, and a pint of emulsion remover. With this kit, you won’t need to buy anything separately, at least for your first designs. These kits are quite handy if you are a beginner in this field. 

7. Other Features 

The other important features are: 

  • Platens included with the machine; otherwise, you have to buy them separately
  • Screen clamps that can accommodate filters of different sizes and weight
  • Screen clamps that can accommodate filters of different circumferences
  • Flexible upper part that can be rotated, moved and swiveled around 
  • Wide platens 
  • Ease of installation and assembly 
  • Suitable to work on other surfaces beside fabric 

These are the features that you need to look for in a screen printing machine that can make your work easier. Most of the machines in the market are similar in features, but you can still find the one that’s perfect for you. 

How to Do Screen Printing at Home?

You might have wondered how different local businesses and entrepreneurs get T-shirts and other personal belongings with their names or logos printed on them; or how some people end up with quotes and sayings on their T-shirts that exactly matches their personality.

Chances are, they have these T-shirts and bags made by someone, or they design the T-shirts themselves, so that they can wear something that exactly matches their ideology.  

It’s neither very expensive nor very hard to do this. If you have a screen printing machine at home, together with the right accessories needed, you too can put any kind of designs, logos and quotes on the T-shirts and dresses that you wear.

Not only that, with the right kind of screen printing machine, you can do the same for your family members and friends as gifts. You can also make special T-shirts, tote bags, pillow cases, baby clothes, blankets, aprons and other similar personal belongings for a whole group on birthdays, anniversaries, picnics and group outings, Christmas or Graduation parties.    

You can print your own designs both with and without a screen making machine. Without a machine, the end result might be good enough, but there will always be a chance of the designs not matching, especially when you are using multiple colors.

A screen printing machine will keep both the mesh filters and the fabric sturdy, and you can create any design, logo or quote you have in mind flawlessly and without too much trouble. 

Here are all the things you are going to need for screen printing with a machine. 

  • A screen printing machine, with as many color options and stations as you need for your projects; 
  • Screen and frame, if not available with the machine; 
  • An inkjet printer; 
  • A laptop/computer for the design; 
  • A pair of latex gloves; 
  • A pint of photo emulsion paint; 
  • A coater for the emulsion paint; 
  • Emulsion remover for washing out the paint; 
  • A black/white T-shirt, or any single-color T-shirt; 
  • A squeezee, 
  • A pint of fabric ink/silk screen fabric ink; 
  • A 250-watt bulb; 
  • A dark room; and
  • A regular iron. 

Here are all the steps you need to go through to use your screen printing machine to design T-shirts, pillow cases, aprons and tote bags, and many other similar products. 

Step#1: Make a Design 

The first step would be to make or decide on a design. You can either download a design from the Internet, or make one by yourself. It can be a design, a logo, a name, random words or a quote that you like; for your first few designs, it will be better if you use something simple as the design, a single name or word, or an iconic symbol. 

If you are designing something, you can use Adobe Photoshop for the job. Photoshop is fairly easy to use, and you can easily design a simple word or logo on it. If you have no prior knowledge of Photoshop, you can simply download an image from the Internet and use it.

The image needs to be as simple as possible for your first time; the best possible design would be a solid back one, because that makes it easier to print into fabric.

Step#2: Print the Design  

You’ll need an inkjet printer connected to your laptop/computer to print your design on vinyl material. An inkjet printer can be easily turned into a vinyl cutter if you can just attach a knife to the printer instead of a pen; with the design printed on vinyl material, you can easily remove the pieces you want your ink to trace.

This is especially helpful if you want to do a design with multiple colors, for which you need a screen printing machine with multiple color options and just as many vinyl material prints.  

Step#3: Preparing the Design  

If you’ve used a vinyl cutter or an inkjet printer for printing out your design, there’s a long process involved to prepare it for screen printing. The parts you want filled with ink on your T-shirt needs to be weeded out, using one of the many tools you get with your vinyl cutting machine. 

If you’re not using a vinyl cutting machine or placing a knife attachment to your inkjet printer, you can print your design on a regular piece of vinyl material.

Afterwards, you can use a blade tool to cut out portions of the design you want to fill with ink. This can be harder and more time-consuming, but still possible if you don’t own a vinyl cutting machine or a flexible inkjet printer.  

Step#4: Preparing the Screen Filter 

After you’ve prepared the design, it’s now time to prepare the different parts of your screen printing machine. If you have already installed the machine on a table top, the next step would be to get the other parts ready. 

There are two main parts of a screen printing machine, the platten where your T-shirt is going to be, and the top part that’s going to hold the screen filter where you’re going to fill in your ink.

The mesh screen filter that comes with the machine (or you might have to buy one separately) has to be attached to the top part of the machine, tightly screwed in with the clamps so that it doesn’t bulge. However, before attaching the filter screen to the machine, you need to prepare it with emulsion paint. 

For this step, you need to mix your emulsion paint with a little water, turning it into a kind of sensitizer. This watered-down sensitizer needs to be painted all over the mesh screen, a fine layer of paint that will block out anything else, even light. This must be done in a slightly dark room, with no overhead light that can ruin the effect. 

This part of the machine needs to be dried perfectly before you use it to print your design, but cannot be dried under light. You can use a fan to dry the mesh screen filter quickly, or keep it in a dark place overnight. The coat on the mesh screen needs to be even and really thin for it to work properly. 

Step#5: Placing the Design 

After the emulsion paint on your screen filter has dried, it is time to put your design on it. This has to be done either quickly or under a dim light, because emulsion paint is light sensitive. Too much exposure to bright light can ruin the screen. 

The design needs to be set backwards on the screen, so that it comes out the right side side in the final product. The design, before placing on the screen filter, needs to be weeded out properly.

Weeding is a process you would be familiar with if you have used a vinyl cutting machine previously. It refers to picking out the portions of the designs where you want your ink to fill in.

If you’ve used a vinyl cutting machine or an inkjet printer to print out the design, you can easily weed out the excess parts with a tweezer or any of the other special tools you need for this process. 

If you are working with a single color, the design, printed on transparent vinyl sheets, need to be placed face down on the screen filter, the specific portions weeded away.

On the other hand, if you are using a multiple color option machine and your design has different colors in it, you need to make multiple prints of the same design with the color-specific parts weeded off. Each print of the design needs to be placed face down on different screen filters.  

You can use tape or scotch tape to attach the design to the screen filter. If you have used adhesive vinyl material for printing, the material will automatically stay attached to the filter. In any case, the design needs to be sturdily attached to the filter so that it doesn’t move. 

Step#6: Placing the T-shirt 

The T-shirt needs to be placed on the bottom part of the machine, i.e. the screen frame. The screen filter comes down directly on this portion of the machine for printing on your T-shirts.

Usually, designs are best printed on single color T-shirts, preferably a light colored one. The portion of the T-shirt you want to place the design needs to be placed face upwards on the frame, preferably attached with some clips that come with the screen printing machine. 

At no point during the printing process should the T-shirt be moved. Even if you are using multiple colors on the same design, it is the screen filters that are rotated and moved, not the T-shirts. 

Remember, only the portion that you want the design needs to be on the frame, and not any other part. 

Step#6: Applying the Ink  

Each of the screen filters of a screen printing machine should be used for only one color; if you are using multiple colors on your design, you need to have as many screen filters as there are colors, as well as a machine that allows you to use that many filters at the same time.

You can’t  use the same screen filter for different colors after washing them, because each T-shirt needs to be completed within a few seconds. 

On the other hand, if you have only one color in your designs, you only need a screen printing machine with a single mesh screen filter. 

To apply ink to the T-shirt, you need to put a small amount of ink on your screen filter, thinly spread into a horizontal line.

You don’t need a huge amount of ink, but it has to be enough to be spread over the whole screen. Initially, you need to lay down a thin line of ink in the middle of the screen, and then use a squeegee to spread it over the whole screen. 

The next step would be to lower the screen filter over the screen frame, right over your T-shirt. There’s no chance of any color touching the T-shirt, because there would be a layer of emulsion paint and vinyl material between them.

Only the shapes and the parts you want your ink to reach the T-shirt would be exposed since you have weeded out those portions with a tweezer. 

When the screen filter touches the screen frame, you need to use your squeegee to evenly spread the ink from the top portion of the filter to the bottom, and once again from the bottom to the top.

This should be done very quickly and with some force, so that the ink fills all the portions of the design you want on your T-shirt. Two (or even one) such motion is enough if you are quick and forceful, and you can immediately pull up the screen filter from the frame. The design you want should be automatically printed on your T-shirt. 

If your design has multiple colors, you have to repeat the process with the other colors in the other screen filters, until you have the complete design on your T-shirt. You can print on as many T-shirts as you want like this, by refilling the ink and changing the T-shirts. 

Step#5: Finishing Up 

After the T-shirt is done printing, it needs to dried. You can do this in a special dryer machine that is available for screen printing, or even by ironing your T-shirt with a regular household iron. A few seconds of heat under an iron and your T-shirt will be ready; the color will be non-transferable and washable, ready for use. 

When you are done with the printing, the screen filter needs to be cleaned of the emulsion paint you’ve coated on it. Emulsion paint can be removed with emulsion remover, which is easily available everywhere.

After applying emulsion remover on the screen filter, you can easily wash it away under running water. If you want, you can keep the screen filter with the design attached to it for later, for another batch of production.

How to Remove Screen Printing from Shirts?

If you’ve made a simple mistake in printing your T-shirt, or if you don’t like the design and want to modify something, there’s no need to waste a perfectly good T-shirt for it.

Or maybe you would like to upgrade and improve upon your own designs, or for any other reason.. Just as you can apply ink to paint on your T-shirts, aprons, pillowcases and tapestries, you can also remove screen printing designs from the different fabric types. 

There are two ways that you can effectively remove any signs of ink from your screen printed T-shirt, even after you’ve dried or ironed it. This way, you can use the same T-shirts to print different designs, make a variation to your wardrobe without having to buy more clothes. 

You can remove screen printing from T-shirts: 

  1. Without chemical solvents and 
  2. With chemical solvents 

Without Chemical Solvents

If you don’t want to use any kind of chemicals in your printing process, you can also use a relatively natural way of removing ink print from your T-shirts and other personal belongings.

This method will only work if you have used vinyl materials or rubber prints to make the design. For this, you have to follow the steps mentioned below: 

  • Put the T-shirt on a flat ironing ironing board, or any other surface you can use a household iron on. 
  • Wet a towel and press out any excess water from it. Fold the damp towel and place it under the T-shirt, directly under the printed design. The whole design should be directly over the folded wet towel. Be sure to put the towel in between the two parts of the T-shirt; the damp towel is going to protect the back part of your T-shirt from ink and heat. 
  • Wet another towel or face cloth in cold water. Remove excess water from the fabric by wringing it with as much strength as you can muster. The towel should be damp but not dripping wet. 
  • Place this damp cloth directly above the design. This towel or face cloth should cover the whole design, with nothing showing from the sides. This damp towel is to protect your iron from the melting ink from the T-shirt, once you start to remove the design. The towel or face cloth might be damaged with the ink, so it is better not to use something expensive or new. 
  • Heat up your iron and place it over the damp towel. Gently press into the towel so that the heat reaches the T-shirt and the ink starts to melt. Keep pressing with your hands if you are using a modern light iron made of plastic. If you are instead using one of those old fashioned ones made from iron, the weight of the machine alone will be enough for the heat to reach the ink. 
  • With the heat coming from the iron, the damp towel will slowly start to sizzle and dry. When it is completely dry, the sound of water will stop sizzling, This is the time to remove the iron from the towel. If any other part of the towel is still dry, keep the heated iron on that portion until the towel has completely dried up. But don’t leave the iron on the towel for too long, because it may burn. 
  • Because of the intense heat from the iron, the ink on your T-shirt will have melted. It will be easy to scrape it off with the help of a knife. You can also use your fingers to peel off scrapes of ink that has been loosened by the heat and the knife. Actually, the best option is to use your knife to loosen the edges of the design, set the knife aside, and then use your nails to peel off the rest of the ink. 
  • The entire process must be completed while the ink is hot and melting. If the design in an elaborate one and the T-shirt dries out before you’ve finished, use the damp towel again and repeat the process with the iron. You may have to go through the same process a couple of times before you have completely removed all the ink from the T-shirt. 

With Chemical Solvents

If you want to remove ink from your T-shirts the easy way, you can use chemical solvents like adhesive remover, rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.

You can find any of these in your local craft shops or hardware stores, or even in supermarkets; alternatively, you can find some heat transfer vinyl remover that has been manufactured especially for this purpose. 

These are the steps to follow in order to remove screen printing from your T-shirts: 

  • Before you pour any kind of chemical on your T-shirt, it is always better to test the fabric. You can start by pouring a few drops of the chemical at hand to a hidden corner of the T-shirt, to see if the chemical damages the fabric in any way. If there is no damage to the fabric, you can proceed to use the chemical to remove screen printing from your T-shirt. 
  • Turn your T-shirt inside out; the chemical needs to be poured onto the back of the design instead of right on them.  
  • The T-shirt needs to be placed, inside out, on a flat surface, preferably an ironing board. 

 

  • Pour out a generous amount of the chemical remover on the back of the design, enough to spread out evenly on the area of the design. Remember that the chemicals can have a strong fume so it would be a good idea to wear a mask or cover your nose, or to stand at a distance. 
  • Flip the T-shirt over so that you face the design again; with the chemical solvent dissolved into the fabric, the ink will automatically start to peel. You can use a knife to pry off the edges of the design and then use your fingers to peel them off. The chemicals can be harmful to your skin, so it is a good idea to wear gloves. 
  • With enough chemical solvent, you can easily remove all the designs on your T-shirt. If needed, you can pour a little more remover on the back of the T-shirt until you have removed all the ink. You may have to repeat the process a few times to get all the ink out, especially if the design in a complicated and colorful one. 
  • After you’ve cleared out all the ink from your T-shirt, you need to give it a good wash to get rid of all the chemicals before wearing it again. If you want to print any design on the same T-shirt again, it is better to do so after a wash. 

Removing ink from screen printed T-shirts is not difficult, although it may be a tedious job. However, after you’ve got all the ink removed from the fabric, you can use it again for another design, without having to invest in another T-shirt for yourself. 

How to Clean Screen Printing Screens

Immediately after you’ve finished a batch of printing, it is important that you clean the screen filters well. Otherwise, the ink and the emulsion paint will harden, and you won’t be able to use it the next time.

Here are some tips on how to properly clean and care for your screen printing screens so that you are able to use them for years to come. 

  1. It is always better to invest in good screen filters rather than the more affordable ones. The cheaper screens are harder to clean and you wouldn’t be able to put too much pressure on them while cleaning. Investing in a good screen will serve you for years to come and they won’t break down with regular use. 
  1. While cleaning your screens, you need to always use the right chemicals. You can use regular household cleaning agents and chemicals to clean your screens, but they can damage the sensitive mesh filters. Besides, you might need a lot of regular detergent or cleaning agent to remove emulsion, with not much effect.  
  1. Emulsion paint needs to be dried on your screen filter for the best result, but regular printing ink doesn’t. It is important that you clean your screen filters of residual ink as soon as you are done printing, before it has a chance of drying out. If there is a huge amount of ink left on the screen, you can return the residual amount back to its bottle for later use. If not, the screen needs to be washed under running water to get rid of all the residual ink on the screen. 
  1. Running cold water can wash away any residual ink that has not dried yet, but cleaning emulsion paint can be tricky. You need emulsion remover for the job. Spray or spread a generous amount of emulsion remover on the screen over the emulsion paint and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Don’t wait too long as the chemicals in emulsion remover can damage the screen. After a few minutes, scrub the mesh filter with a good brush till all the emulsion paint washes off. You might need to do this for a few minutes until your screen is clean and ready for another batch. 
  1. A good pressure washer can help in cleaning your screens better. A pressure washer with power between 2,000 to 2,500 PSI can do the job perfectly well. With the help of a pressure washer, you won’t have to spend a lot of time scrubbing your screens as the pressure washer can do the job for you. 
  1. After cleaning your screens, it is also important that they are dried quickly. You can use a fan to dry your clean screens, or you can dry them under UV light or under the sun. It is also better that you dry your screens inside rather than outside under the sun, as they might gather dust and dirt. Too much dust on your mesh screens can lead to a poor performance by your screen the next time you want to screen print again. 

Cleaning your screen properly is a big part of its maintenance. When you are working on complicated and colorful designs, you will have to handle multiple screen filters at the same time. All of these screens need to be properly maintained and cleaned if you want to use them regularly and for a long time. 

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

You might have some questions regarding screen printing machines, and here are the answers to some of the most common queries a user or a potential buyer might have. 

Q. Do I need a very large space for a screen printing machine? 

A.  That depends on the machine. Some screen printing machines are not much larger than a regular printer, but there are some machines that can be quite big.

Usually, screen printing machines that have one station and one color options are smaller in stature whereas the larger machines have 4 or 6 stations and allows you to work with multiple colors at the same time. 

If you require a machine with multiple stations and color options for a home-based business, you will require a large space; on the other hand, if you only want to work with a single color and only one a few T-shirts at one time, you need only a small machine. 

Q. Do I need to make my designs on a computer? 

A.  Usually, designs are made on a computer using a Photo editing software, but if you are artistic, you can also make them by hand. If you make your designs by hand, al you need to do is to copy them on a vinyl material and make the necessary cuts with a suitable knife.

The same process of cutting and weeding done in a machine can be replicated by hand if that’s more comfortable to you. 

You can also download any designs from the Internet to duplicate on your T-shirt, and print it on vinyl material to be later printed on fabric. 

Q. Which one is better: manual or automatic press? 

A.  Whether you need a manual or an automatic press depends on the workload you have, If you are only printing a few T-shirts for yourself and a chosen few people, a manual press is all you need.

On the other hand, if you plan on printing hundreds of T-shirts and other products, it is better that you get an automatic one. 

Q. How do you decide on color and station numbers? 

A.  That too, depends on the type of T-shirts you want to print. If you are mainly looking forward to print quotes or names on your T-shirts, you need only one station with one color options. For a more colorful design, you can decide on a machine that comes with two or three screen filters. 

Conclusion 

Making your own T-shirts, tote bags or other personal belongings can be a great hobby, or a great way to earn some extra money.

You can use your machine to make personalized gifts for your friends and loved one, or you could run a successful business straight out of your garage. There’s a lot that you can do with the right screen printing machine for yourself, but you’ll need to know all the basics of these machines.

By the end of this article, you might have already gained all the information needed to start your very own production. 

Robert Miguel
 

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