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I first learned how to screen print with just a Speedball frame, some ink and a shirt on my craft room table. It worked great and I made many shirts this way. But there was always this anticipation when I lifted the screen – Did I get ink evenly over the entire design? Screen printing with this method is a gamble. You only have one shot. Once you lift the screen, it’s impossible to get the screen back down in the exact same spot. Believe me, I’ve tried unsuccessfully many times.
This is where a screen printing press comes in really handy! You can squeegee one coat of ink, lift the screen to look, then lower it back with precision to add more ink.
Whether you are just hooked on screen printing like me or you want to start selling screen printed shirts, a press is a great investment. For around $100 (available on Amazon), the 1-color station is a perfect starter setup for a home craft room. It’s relatively small in size (compared to 4-color machines), so you can work with limited space.
I have mine mounted on this kitchen cart from IKEA. It’s like this cart was meant for screen printing. The shelves underneath fit my Speedball 10×14 screens perfectly. It has wheels so you can move it when you are ready to work.
Benefits of the screen printing press:
- Easier to line up your screen on your shirts. The pallet shape makes it easier to center your shirt under your screen.
- Lower the screen to add more ink if you miss a spot.
- Save ink. Before using the press, I would err on the side of extra ink, just to be sure my design was fully covered. This often leads to ink bleeding through the shirt and sometimes bleeding outside of the design. With the press, you can peek between squeegeeing the ink to get just the right amount of coverage without going to heavy.
What about the 1 star reviews?
If you read the Amazon reviews, the common theme of the negative reviews is missing parts and a lack of instructions. I didn’t have any issues with missing parts. I would assume Amazon would accept returns if yours comes with missing pieces. If you can hang in there and get it setup, I promise it works great!
To help you with the setup, I have 2 videos. The first one is from the manufacturer of the press showing you how to put the machine together. The next one is a look at my press in action with a few more details that I felt would be helpful for you to see.
Finally… Instructions on How to Setup and Adjust the Screen Printing Press
How to Assemble the Simple Single 1 Color 1 Station T-Shirt Silk Screen Printing Machine NS101
Important things to know about your screen printing press
- Just like any new tool, it takes some practice to get the hang of it. Be patient with your first few projects until you get the hang of it.
- Having the press doesn’t mean you will never mess up a shirt again. Mistakes will still happen – maybe it’s too much ink or your shirt isn’t straight on the press. I always try to order an extra shirt when doing a project just in case.
- You need to mount this particular press in order to use it. I have mine mounted to this IKEA kitchen cart, but you could mount it to any sturdy work table. You can try heavy duty clamps if you don’t want it permanently mounted to your table.
- You will want to apply Super Tack (or spray adhesive) to the pallet in order to keep your shirt in place. Without the tacky surface, your shirt will move when you lift the screen and you lose the benefit of being able to lower the screen for another coat of ink. Starting at 3:42 in my video, you can see how I apply Super Tack to my pallet.
- Reapply Super Tack when your pallet is no longer sticky enough to hold your shirt in place. Depending on the types of shirts you are doing, you may need to do this more frequently.
- You can DIY different size pallets to work with youth size shirts. Check out my tutorial on creating a DIY Youth Pallet.
I hope this video and information helps you feel more comfortable about the 1 color 1 station screen printing press on Amazon, despite it's lack of instructions. If you have any questions about this press, comment below!
How do you get the ink to not bleed through the shirt and onto the board? I pressed a shirt and it went through the shirt onto the board.
what type of screws did you use to anchor onto the cart? Thanks!
Thanks for the nice write up. There is something so satisfying about watching a screen printing press! Do you know what I mean!? Keep up the good work!
Hi Jennifer, I should buy 15 by 15 Heat press