Six Factors that Determine Screen Printing Cost
Updated: Jul 17
Have you ever wondered what needs to be taken into consideration to determine a screen printing quote? You may find that many screen printers do not have “standard pricing” because there are so many variables that must be considered. The Armory Print Works staff breaks down all the variables that go into quoting screen printing projects.
1) Quantity (of the same design) Being Ordered- The higher the quantity ordered, the lower the cost and vice versa! Generally, this is because setting up a screen-printing press takes a significant amount of time. The time factor does not change regardless of if you are printing 20 shirts or 2,000 shirts. Often times, ordering MORE shirts actually costs less than ordering LESS because of this factor.
2) Amount of print locations- The more print locations (front, back sleeves, sides), the higher the cost. Again, we revisit screen press set up times. More print locations mean additional set up time and then run time. Separate print screens are made for each different piece of artwork and lined up again on the press. Essentially this means the more times the shirts need to be touched and dried (say once front, once back), it runs through twice doubling the screen press set up time as well as run times.
3) Amount of colors in the artwork(s)- The more colors, the more expensive the print. Each different color being printed needs its own separate screen. These multiple colors then must overlap perfectly to create your multi-color design with smooth lines.
4) The Color of the Ink Compared to the Color of the Shirt- This is one of the tougher concepts to understand. Dark colored shirts will always need an under-base (a layer of white ink under the design to make sure colors stay stark and true) whereas white shirts never need an under-base. Lighter colored shirts need an under-base if the ink is also light. Under-basing means the shirts must run through the press an additional time, therefore, they cost more money.
5) Cost of the blank garment- This one is pretty easy! T-shirts are usually the least expensive garment to buy, while something like a hoodie will be more expensive. The fancier garment you choose, the more expensive your screen-printing project will be.
6) Garment Material- What your garment is made of matters! Cotton blends are
usually less expensive than polyester or rayon blends. When it comes to printing, special care needs to be taken with garments that have over 50% polyester because it is heat sensitive. Because of this, polyester shirts will raise your printing costs.