If you’re an Amazon shopper like I am then you’ll be happy to know you can buy most of your silk-screening equipment on Amazon. Below I’ve put together a list of all the different equipment/supplies you’ll need to start your silk-screening business. This way you don’t have to research each individual product like I did, I did most of that work for you.
Screen Printing Machine
First, you’ll need a silk-screen machine. And if you’re anything like me you’ll need the minimum amount needed as a start-up company in the silk-screening business. This is the machine I found online at Amazon that will get you started with your basic silk-screening needs and then some. The only downfall is if you have a four-color job on a dark shirt where you’ll need a white under base. In this case, you’ll need a six-color machine which is for far more serious buyers starting up their silk-screening shop. But hey, if it’s not within your budget you could always contract out your multi-color jobs that require more than four colors. And with a six-color machine, you’ll have to buy one with six stations as well. I have not had any luck finding a six-color, one station machine online.
Silk-Screen Flash Dryer
Another necessity for silk-screening is a flash dryer. In my mind, one of the most important pieces of equipment in this industry. As a startup company, I would begin with either the VEVOR Flash Dryer OR the Techtongda Flash Dryer. With the VEVOR flash dry you’ll need to buy the additive on screenprinting.com to use when mixing your water based ink for production. This additive will lower the amount of heat needed to cure a water based silk-screening job. With the Techtongda this should be enough heat to flash and dry your imprints. Just remember that the coil flash dryers, which these are, will give off an uneven amount of heat which makes it more difficult to determine if you’re curing your print jobs correctly. For more serious silk-screeners I would recommend buying an infrared flash dryer on screenprinting.com for even curing temperatures instead of a coil flash dryer.
In addition to the silk-screen flash dryer, you’ll also need a handheld non-contact temperature tester to make sure you’re hitting your target temperatures when curing your silk-screening jobs. Here are two that I found on Amazon that should meet your needs, no problem.
Screen Print Exposure Unit
With every screen printing job, you’ll need to burn your artwork into silk-screen frames which are used to transfer the silk-screen imprint to your product, like a t-shirt. For multiple-color jobs, you’ll need more than one silk-screen frame, one for each color to run the job. You can either do it the old school way or entry-level way by placing your screen in a dark room using a simple UV exposure unit. Or you can get a piece of more professional equipment and use a screen plate making burning machine. The simple exposure unit will take more time to burn your screen plates but cost you less money to purchase. Just remember with the burning machine you’ll need to make sure your screen plates fit within the dimensions of the machine.
Screen Printing Frame
For frames you have two choices, either a wooden frame or an aluminum frame. Many silk screeners prefer the aluminum frame over the wooden frames because the wooden frames tend to warp. Which in return, causes a problem with your silk-screening jobs and uneven prints. A great wooden frame and a good brand, Speedball, will get you on your way silk-screening and had good reviews so you might want to check this one out. If you don’t want to risk the warping of the wood then you could buy this aluminum frame on Amazon. The aluminium frame you can buy as a six-pack that comes pre-screened, three using 110 mesh, and three using 160 mesh. Again, you’ll need to make sure you’re buying the right sizes to fit your artwork and the mesh count you anticipate on using.
Speaking of mesh, you can also buy that on Amazon as well. You can either purchase the mesh by the yard or by the sheet depending on what size silk screen frame you have. You’ll have to do the research to find which mesh is best for you and your needs.
Wide Format Printer
Along with a silk screen frame and mesh, you’ll need to buy a wide format printer to print out your artwork on waterproof inkjet transparency positive film. This film will be used with your silk screen frame and mesh to make your plates. An entry-level printer would be the CANON PIXMA iX6820 wireless business printer with AirPrint and cloud compatibility. This printer is a wide format printer that prints out a maximum film size of 13″ x 19″.
And to purchase your waterproof inkjet transparency positive films in 13″ x 19″ size you can buy them here on Amazon. Just remember that the maximum size that can be screen printed on a t-shirt is usually 14″ x 15″. I’ve even seen some as high as 14″ x 16″ and others 12″ x 16″. So you’ll need to buy a printer that will accommodate the size of the film and artwork. You can always print landscape as need be but will lose height in your artwork if that matters or not.
The only thing I probably wouldn’t buy on Amazon is the ink including emulsion and go direct to the source. Of course, you can find your wood squeegees here too!
Did I miss anything? Drop a comment. Happy Silk-Screening!