T-shirt Printing Equipment for a Successful Business

T-shirt Printing Business Equipment

Nowadays the business of t-shirt printing is quite popular among youngsters and it’s trending up day by day. If you are intending to be an entrepreneur, this is really a great startup business idea.

If you are wondering how to set things up at the start and confused about which items are mandatory to have or purchase initially, here is the complete guidance regarding the t-shirt printing business equipment.

T-Shirt Printing Equipment Needed for a Successful Business

For Heat Press Transfer/Dye-sublimation Printing

  1. Printer

An inkjet printer is used to print on transfer papers. Just bear in mind that the papers have to be inkjet transfer papers. If you want the best quality printing, make sure to buy a good quality printer that gives 100% opaque output.

However, printers come in a variety of types apart from the inkjet printers, such as sublimation, laser, and solvent. Though inkjet printers are the most common ones, sublimation printers are the most budget-friendly ones. On the other hand, solvent printers are the most expensive with the finest graphic solutions.

  1. Computer

You need a computer and install graphic programs in it like Photoshop or Illustrator to create designs or artworks for the t-shirts. You can also buy readymade artworks or draw freely by hand or hire an artist for this work. But these options will either require you to work extra hard unnecessarily, cost more money, and limit the volume of your collections.

The software will assist you illustrate custom images too. Most importantly, it doesn’t require to keep the track report or documents related to your business manually but digitally. Computers are the assets that might continue to benefit you and help you save money in the long run.

  1. Transfer Paper

A transfer paper is a medium of transferring a design from the printer to the fabric. It is a special paper that comes in many different sizes and forms. The image transferring process takes place with the help of a heat press.

  1. Heat Press

A heat press or t-shirt printing machine is the most crucial equipment to initiate a t-shirt printing business. 16”x20” is the least standard size for a printing machine. But if you are on a tight budget, a 15”x15” machine should be able to back up pretty well by fulfilling the demand of many people.

Though an electric heat press is fast, it’s not that easy to operate. If you are investing less, consider a manual press as a starter. An iron box also works perfectly fine for heat transfer printing, but a manual one is more efficient.

As you start making enough profit and getting more customers, you can always upgrade your printing press. However, if you can really afford and feel confident, just go for a commercial-grade heat press right away. Good quality heat presses allow you to print not only t-shirts but also plates, mugs, caps, and many other items.

For Direct to Garment (DTG)/Screen Printing

  1. Screen

For screen printing, you will need several separate screens for individual colors. To transfer the inks through the screens onto a fabric, make stencils on them following your design.

The best choice is to purchase the screens from the market even though you can also build some yourself. In case you go DIY, make sure that they are spacious and durable. You can use aluminum to make the frame.

A standard detailed screen generally requires a mash count of 110 on average. The mash count can go higher for a screen of high details.

  1. Vinyl Cutter

A cutter helps cut out the design as per the cutter program for screen prints. So, a program of your design has to be included on the cutter to create stencils in the screens.

  1. Emulsion

Before you can use the screens, a liquid chemical needs to be applied so if the screens are light-sensitive, the liquid will ease the sensitivity. This chemical is called emulsion. Make it thick when you apply the liquid because this will allow better transfers of the inks, providing more space.

Use a scoop coater or a squeegee for the fine application of the emulsion. The scoop coater is more useful than the squeegee since it distributes the liquid in a perfect consistency.

  1. Exposure Unit

An exposure unit of medium size is good enough as a starter. This machine emits light and helps the liquid dry off from the screens. Place a screen in the exposure unit and let the light pass through after you’ve applied the emulsion.

  1. Tape Gun

You need to seal the edges of a screen and lock it securely on the fabric so it doesn’t move while printing. A tape gun will come in handy in this matter.

  1. Ink

Solvent inks are the key material for printing. You should keep all the basic and commonly used colors of inks in your reserve. The more variety of colors you have in your collection the better because the taste of many customers may differ and so would their color selection.

  1. Ink Solvent

These chemicals will help you erase the inks and clean up the screens for further usage.

  1. Quart Container and Scale

You will need a weighing scale to measure the weight of any ink and a number of quart containers to blend the inks.

  1. Washout Booth

A washout booth is used to give the screen a good rinse after that is exposed to the light. This way, you can secure the emulsion that is yet to cure from sunlight.

  1. Conveyor Dryer

A conveyor dryer is a machine that gives the finishing touch while screen printing. It lets the fabric set firmly through curing the image.

  1. Curable Reducer

A conveyor dryer is a machine that gives the finishing touch while screen printing. It lets the fabric set firmly through curing the image.

  1. Emulsion Remover

Screens can be reused. This solution removes emulsion from the screens and makes them usable again.

Hope this blog was helpful and gave you a crystal clear idea on the set of equipment necessary to start your own t-shirt printing business.


  1. How much does a T-shirt printing machine cost?

The estimated price range of a normal heat printing press varies from $200 to $300. However, digital DTG printers cost pretty high starting from $16,000. With a $20,000 budget, you can get a good quality digital printer with a long  warranty period and above all, avail on-site training facility too.

  1. Is a T-shirt printing business profitable?

It is profitable if you catch up with the trend, understand the modern market, and meet the customer demand. Customization is very much on demand recently since many people prefer to put their thoughts or ideas into their dresses.

  1. How much money do you need to start a T-shirt business?

You need to invest $1,000 at the very least in order to start off a small t-shirt business from home. But you will have to multiply the investment many times if you want your own digital or screen printing system. Any of these machines alone costs thousands of dollars.



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