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Supply Basics for Screen Printing

Here's the list of essential supplies and equipment you need to start printing

When you’re undertaking a new business or endeavor, you want to ensure you have what you need to succeed. Here’s some advice on getting started or what you need to take the next step into screen printing.

Whether you go for an automatic or manual textile press, you have options. From four, six, and eight, all the way up to 10+ colors. These are the perfect entry-level machines — affordable and easy to use — but can also be a good fit for many commercial operations. Additionally, conveyor dryers and flash curing units boost an operation’s production by curing ink quickly.

Screen printing ink

One can get screen printing ink for all purposes, from textiles and glass to wood and plastic. With the right ink, signs will hold up even with outdoor use and T-shirt graphics will last after washing. Remember, a screen printing job is only as good as the ink used.

Pre-press supplies

Some pre-press supplies will be needed to keep a screen printer in good working condition. These may include emulsion, degreaser, haze remover, inkjet film, screen coaters, and more. Reclaim screens, ensure clean components, and keep images sharp with the right supplies.

On-press supplies

The right on-press supplies can make screen printing infinitely easier. Platen adhesive can help hold textiles in place, so there’s no slipping. Screen cleaner ensures no residue from the last job spoils a new project. It is also important to keep platens clean and save time with platen tape.

Screens

Even if one religiously cleans and reclaims screens, eventually, they will lose their tension, and you’ll need new ones. Always keep some white and color screens on hand, so operations are never stalled while waiting for screens to arrive.

Mesh

Sometimes one just needs replacement mesh versus a whole new screen. Get white or color mesh in rolls or precut-specific sizes.

Squeegees

Squeegee skills often determine the quality of a screen printing project. Don’t try to make do with an old, soft squeegee blade. Invest in the best squeegee supplies you can afford to ensure a crisp print.

Screen printing accessories

Make the job easier by keeping all the professional screen printing accessories needed on hand, such as cleaners, scrub pads, wipe rolls, spot guns, scrapers, activators, clamps, and more. Taking shortcuts may work once or twice, but eventually, one will simply have a mess to clean up and a product to throw away.

Lawrence Wiscombe

Lawrence Wiscombe

Regional Supply

Lawrence Wiscombe is the general manager at Regional Supply, a wholesale supplier to screen printers, large-format digital printers, and electric and vinyl sign makers and installers. Wiscombe has been with the company since January 2011.

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