Custom Screen Printed T-Shirts on a Budget

saveWho doesn’t like to save money on screen printed t-shirts? More often than not, we find that many designs that customers want are quite extreme and not cost effective for the given budget.  After years of experience and helping thousands of customers, we developed the following list of simple tips to help our customers get the design they need and stay within their budget.

  1. Order screen printed t-shirts in high quantities: Like ordering flyers, business cards, or other promotional products, the cost for screen printing is in the setup and teardown cost.  The higher the quantity of shirts, the more this cost can be spread out over the pieces and therefore lower the individual shirt costs.  When comparing costs between printers, be aware that sometime these setup costs and other costs are on a separate line item from the cost of the shirt.  This will show you a low shirt cost but the overall total for the order will be higher than expected.
    Example: Company A quotes $5.00 per shirt all inclusive.  Company B quotes $3.75 per shirt but shows $150 in setup charges.  This is not uncommon and you as the customer should be more concerned with the “out the door” costs vs the per shirt cost.  When it comes right down to it, that’s the part that matters since that is what you are writing the check for, right?
  2. Don’t be loyal to one brand: Screen print shops have contracts with different manufactures and suppliers.  Always ask the customer service rep helping you for the be priced shirt.  A lot of times, different manufactures have incentives going that can lower the overall cost of the order.  Also, just like in tip#1, the more t-shirts the shop orders, the better the deal the manufacture gives the shop.  Most shops pass on the difference to you in the form of lower per piece price.
  3. Keep your design simple: The more complex the design, the longer it takes to setup the presses, get the screens prepared, and align the screens for printing.  The drives cost so the K.I.S.S rule applies on screen printed t-shirts.
  4. Limit your print locations: Each time a print location is added, the setup and production costs go up.  The presses have to be torn down and reset in between each run.  For instance, you have a design on the front and back of the screen printed t-shirts.  These shirts will have to make its way through the printing process twice to be complete.  The presses will be set up and torn down twice.  If you can limit you design to one side, you can save a lot of money.
  5. Be flexible on shirt colors: The most cost effective screen printed t-shirts is the standard white t-shirt.  Not only is the shirt itself less expensive, it is also the fastest to print.  Faster it goes, the lower the cost.
    If you require a dark shirt, the shirt will make two revolutions minimum on the press which drives up cost.  Light color inks will blend with the dark shirt if printed directly on the garment.  To accomplish printing on darks, a white underbase is printed first, then flash cured (dry to the touch) before the light color ink is printed on top.  This require not only two revolutions but requires an stop, extra time, and extra ink (white).  All this drives up cost.
  6. Larger shirts costs more: This is just a fact of manufacturing the shirt.  The manufactures use more cloth and their machines have to be retooled to cut the larger fabric pieces and sew them together.  The manufacturer’s just doesn’t make enough 2xl and above t-shirts to spread the cost out as much as it does on the smaller shirts which they make in much higher volume.
  7. Bring your own art in a camera ready format: If you do not know what this means, check with people at your work, church, or school.  Chances are you know someone already who has the skill and the proper software to create the artwork for you.  Most screen print shops have artists are payroll that can create or convert art to the proper format.  However, the artist does charge for their time and this can be expensive.  Check with your screen printer to see what format they prefer for their art to be provided.  We wrote a separate article to help with the standards we accept.  click here: Artwork Standards

At, we print all our t-shirts in-house.  We own the equipment, we control the quality, time, and cost.  Call us today to find out more details.

Skyline Prints Screen Printing
83 Pine Grove Rd
Locust Grove, GA 30248
t: 770-914-1558
t: 888-809-1771