Screen printing involves a lot of specialized and artistic work. So, while the results are always fun and rewarding, the costs may not always be low. The good news is that there are ways to save costs on your screen-printing work. In fact, following the tips on your screen-printing orders can help you save some serious bucks for your business. Here are our top 7 cost saving tips and tricks for screen printers.
Cut Down on Capital Investment
The initial investment for screen printing equipment can be significantly high. A basic screen halogen exposure light alone will cost you around $175 to $300. This is only one cost and there are several components to think of when setting up a full screen-printing operation.
Ultimately, you should expect an initial investment of anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. You can DIY equipment instead of buying new or refurbished equipment to reduce these costs. You can DIY equipment such as screen printing exposure units, screen drying racks, or a screen-printing press.
Unbeknownst to many people, a screen-printing press requires the most basic materials readily available at any home improvement store. A standard screen-printing press can cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000. However, DIYing one can slash the cost to half.
Interested in building your own exposure unit? Check out this blog post and make your very own DIY screen printing exposure unit.
Using Test Pellons for Sampling
During screen printing jobs, you may have to test print your t-shirts. The average cost to print a t-shirt in color is approx. $2 to $5. While this cost may seem low, it’s still an unnecessary cost to your business. So, instead of printing on fresh t-shirts, you can use test pellons instead.
Test pellons are screen printing test squares used to determine how your final print will look on a t-shirt. Measuring about 15” x 15”, test pellons are inexpensive and have a similar texture to t-shirts. They are also great for setting up multi-color print jobs.
Recycling Plastisol Ink
Many screen printers discard plastisol ink after every printing job. Typically, an 8-ounce jar of plastisol ink is sufficient to make 50 prints. So, dumping the ink after every job means you are losing ink that could be used to print several t-shirts. You can save plastisol ink after each screen-printing job and place it back in the container to save costs. Plastisol ink does not dry out quickly out of the jar and is easy and perfectly good to use for another print run.
Get Reseller License
The best way to save on printing costs is to purchase items wholesale. Your biggest merchandise to buy at a wholesale price should be wholesale t-shirts. However, it's not always easy for just anyone to score the best prices from wholesalers. Having a reseller license allows you to buy blank t-shirts in bulk from wholesalers and this allows you to save cost.
Choose the Right Merchandise
Not all customers will have precise needs, like t-shirt color, and may be open to more flexible options that help their bottom cost as well. In this case, you can have your cost-cutting stock ready. Instead of colored t-shirts, invest in a bulk of one color and style t-shirts. You will be able to purchase more volume of white t-shirts and get a better quantity break in pricing.
Pick the Right Technique
Like picking the merchandise, sometimes, you may have the complete freedom to control color printing. The more patterns and locations for printing you have on a t-shirt, the higher the cost becomes. You can even print many different colors on a t-shirt which takes up more costs in set-up time, reclaiming time, and supplies.
So, to lower the budget, opt for designs that take up fewer colors and ink. Additionally, apply your colors and designs in fewer areas on the t-shirt. You can even manipulate the designs by using the shirt's own color as part of the design, helping to keep the color costs low.
Focus on the Essential Supplies
There are so many supplies, pieces of equipment, and support items in the world of screen printing! If you are just starting out here is some awesome news, you do not need it all! Below we break down the essential items that will get you started. All items can be found at our store:
Aluminum Screen Printing Frame
Ecotex® Textile "TEX" Red Screen Printing Emulsion
Ecotex® Screen Printing Emulsion Scoop Coater 15"-25" Aluminum
Clear Blade Wood Screen Printing Squeegee
Ecotex® Screen Printing Plastisol Chemistry Kit
Hope these simple but effective tips and tricks save you some money and time! Two resources there seems to be never enough of.
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