Screen Printing Startup Equipment

May 30, 2017 at 12:35 pm 6 comments

VastexComboStarting a screen printing business is an exciting venture, but like most startups, determining what you need can be an intimidating process, especially if you’re new to the industry. With more than 30 years of experience, here is John Levocz’ take (published in Printwear) on what equipment is needed to start a profitable screen printing business.


You don’t have to be an artist to get started in screen printing. In fact, there’s a variety of companies that can provide stock art programs to help you create basic designs, which are printed onto a clear film. Start by researching these companies online and speaking with your equipment distributor to find the right program for you. Many laser and inkjet printers are available, so it’s helpful to review options with your distributor.

Choose a printer that gives you the densest black possible in your price range. This dense black on the clear film is used to create your screen. Remember, the blacker the print and the cleaner the film, the better. To create the screen, you need a screen frame along with an exposure unit or light source to burn the image from the film onto a screen coated with emulsion. As far as frames go, they run the gamut–from wood to retentive aluminum.

When it comes to light sources, three types are available to screen printers: multi-bulbs, single bulbs, and LED units. The multi-bulb fluorescent units use fluorescent tubes, which provide a specific light spectrum designed to work with screen printing emulsions. Do not make your own unit with the fluorescent lights from your home. It will not work well. In the case of a single bulb, it provides that same specific light spectrum to expose screens and generally holds finer detail. The newest technology is the LED exposure unit, which uses a multitude of LED lights to create the proper light spectrum.

For a screen printing startup, consider a multi-bulb fluorescent unit for its affordability and ability to hold reasonably good detail. Whichever unit you choose, make sure it has a vacuum to hold the film with the screen.

Stay tuned for Parts II and III or read it on Printwear.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at


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Apparel Sourcing Show Screen Printing Startup Equipment, Part II

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