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Are you ready to take your screen printing to the next level? Are you tired of lifting your screen only to see a spot the ink missed and feeling helpless because you know you will never get everything lined up again?
Well, guess what? It might be time for you to invest in that 1-color screen press you’ve been considering.
What is a screen printing press?
A screen printing press is a device that holds your screen in place so you can easily lift it up and down in the exact same spot every time. The name (1-color, 4-color, etc.) refers to the number of screens the press will hold at the same time.
If you typically print 1-color designs, the 1-color press is a great choice. You can do more than 1 color designs on this press (here's how). But, if you are going to print a lot of multi-color shirts, a 4-color press will make the process much more efficient.
A 4-color press requires more space. With four 16×20 size screens attached, mine needs 6 ft radius to spin around. This means moving my cart to an open area in my craft room. I have mine mounted to this IKEA cart.
Why do you need a screen printing press?
As a brand new screen printer, you likely tried screen printing for the first time at a table with your screen laying on top of your shirt. This works great, but what if you missed a spot? It's impossible to line your screen back up perfectly to add more ink (believe me, I've tried!). It never lines up exactly right and you end up messing up the shirt.
A 1-color screen printing press solves this problem. The press holds your frame in place and allows you to move it up and down with confidence. You place your shirt on the platen and lower your screen to print. Once you have squeegeed the first coat of ink, you can lift the screen to check your shirt. If you missed a spot or need to add more ink, just lower your screen and squeegee another coat. The press keeps your shirt and screen lined up perfectly.
Ryonet Riley Hopkins 150 1-Color 1-Station Screen Printing Press vs. Amazon 1-Color-1 Station Screen Printing Press
Below I will compare the Ryonet Riley Hopkins 150 (available at screenprinting.com – it's the green and black press in these pictures) and a basic 1-Color Screen Printing Press (available on Amazon – it's the blue press you see in these pictures) to help you decide which one is right for you. I own both of these presses and have used them for many screen printing projects in my home studio.
Ryonet Riley Hopkins 150 1-Color 1-Station Screen Printing Press
Things I love:
- Easy to set up. This press comes with step-by-step setup instructions with ultra helpful photos. In addition to that, the parts are packaged according to step which makes it super easy to identify what you need next.
- American Made, quality construction.
- Backed by US based support via phone or chat.
- Universal fit. The 16″ platen on this press fits adult small – adult 3XL shirts.
Things I don’t love:
- This press requires a good amount of force to pull the screen down. If you are using wood frames, you'll need to be careful as you pull on your frames. Aluminum frames, however, work great with this press.
Amazon 1-Color 1-Station Screen Printing Press
Things I love:
- Affordable low price with Amazon’s staple free shipping.
- Flexible. The spring tension on this press can be adjusted from very loose to extremely tight which allows you to customize the tension that works best for you.
Things I don’t love:
- Poor setup instructions. This is a common theme among the 1 star reviews that this press receives on Amazon. I did post some helpful tips on how to setup this machine here to make this process a little easier.
- No support from the manufacturer if you have trouble getting the press setup.
- Occasionally the product will be missing pieces when it arrives. Of the 3 presses I have ordered from Amazon, 1 was missing pieces. The seller replaced the device, but it took several message, persistence, and waiting for parts to arrive.
Both of these presses include a removable platen so you can change it out for different size projects. They also both come with an adjustable clamp that fits both wood and aluminum screen printing frames. Finally, they both require being mounted to a table or cart to operate correctly.
So which 1-color press should you buy?
It really depends on your situation. I have both of these presses and still use both of them. When I first started out and I wasn’t sure getting a press was right for me, I went with the Amazon because it didn’t cost as much. Now that I know how important having a press is, I like the quality and support that comes with the Ryonet Riley Hopkins 150.
As the old saying goes, you really get what you pay for. The Riley Hopkins 150 is more expensive up front, but I believe it is worth the investment.
Need Help Learning How to Use Your Screen Printing Press?
If you are getting serious about your screen printing projects, a screen printing press is a must have. It's a game changer and definitely worth adding to your craft room!
Ready to take the next step, but still want someone to walk you through the process? Let me show you exactly how to set up and use your new press.
In this self-paced course, you will learn:
- How to set up the press.
- How to correctly line up your design when screen printing with vinyl.
- How to get your shirts to stick to the pallet correctly.
- How to avoid bleeding and much more.