Are you a creative individual with a flair for business? Starting your own T-shirt printing company might be the right choice for you. T-shirts are a classic piece of clothing. The profit margins are high and the equipment necessary to get the business started is affordable.
If you’re thinking about starting your own T-shirt business, this guide will cover the t-shirt printing business equipment you’ll need so you can start printing designs right away. We’ll also explain why investing in T-shirt printing equipment is such a great idea in the first place!
What equipment do you need to start a T-shirt printing business?
This equipment checklist will help you avoid spending too much on equipment that you don’t use.
Each piece of equipment will also be explained so that you can put your start-up money where it is needed and give your business the best chance of success.
1. A Heat Press
A heat press is one of the most important pieces you will purchase for your T-shirt printing company.
The heat press generates heat, pressure, and is used to transfer design onto T-shirts.
How do you operate a Heat Press?
To operate a heatpress, lay the T shirt flat on the bottom plate. Then, add the transfer paper with your design to the top. Next, place the T-shirt flat on the bottom plate and then hold the plate until the design is transferred onto the shirt. The technology is simple but heat presses can be complex and expensive.
It is important to turn your heat press to the right setting. correct temperature Consider the heat transfer paper you are using and the fabric that the T-shirt is made of.
The type of heat press you choose will determine the cost of your machine. The cheaper option, which is more suitable for beginners, is the former. Simply pull the topplate down, hold, then release to transfer the design onto the shirt.
You can upgrade your heat press to a higher-end model once your T-shirt printing company grows and stabilizes. These models are simpler to operate and can be automated to make them more efficient.
This speed can be crucial when sales have risen to a level that is hard to maintain with a manual heating press.
TIP: For a T-shirt printing business, you will need a heat press with a table that is at least 16” x 20”. Any smaller than this could limit the number of designs your business is able to produce.
2. A Screen Printing Machine
Screen printing is a better option than using a heat presse to print your T-shirts. There’s a major difference There are two types of screen printing: heat pressing and screening. You should be familiar with both and then decide which option you prefer. method It works better for you.
WARNING: Screen printing machines take up a lot of space. They’re expensive, especially since you’ll also need one professional screen for each color you incorporate into your design.
This is not a good idea as adding more colors will increase both the cost and the time required to print the T-shirt.
On Heat presses, on the other hand, are much more affordable and take up less space, making them more popular for beginners. They’re also far less restrictive on the amount of color you can add to your design.
What about Emulsion?
You will need to buy a lot of screen printing ink if you decide to go this route. emulsion. Because screens are sensitive to light, the emulsion must be applied to them. The emulsion covers the screen and reduces light exposure’s negative effects.
Because emulsion is so important to the final result of screen-printed T-shirts you will need to apply it in thick coats. This means that you need to ensure that you buy it in bulk.
3. A Printer That’s Right for You
A printer is another important piece of equipment that your new business will require. The printer is what you will be using, as you would expect. print your digital designs onto heat transfer paperThis is used to add your design onto a T-shirt’s surface.
How to choose the right printer for T-shirt printing
There are four types of printers that are used in the Tshirt industry. As you’d expect, these printers vary in price according to their sophistication and how crisply they’re able to print your designs. There are four types of printers. printers There are sublimation, inkjet and laser.
It is possible to use an inexpensive inkjet printer. However, it can make your business look less professional. This can negatively impact the perception of your business by potential customers. This is why many people will choose a laser printer over a high-end inkjet printer.
NOTE: They are more expensive but produce cleaner images. Vector-based images work best and will be what you use for most of your printing jobs.
If you have more capital and want to start a large-scale business selling T-shirts, you might consider upgrading to a solvent printer. This allows you to print the best quality prints. With that being said, solvent printers are pricey and may be too much of an upfront expense when you’re first starting out.
A sublimation printer Although it can be very beneficial, it works in a different way. Sublimation printers transfer ink to a slide, piece of heat transfer paper, or to the T-shirt material.
This ink is more like a dye than standard printer’s ink. The ink is embedded in the fabric, making it less likely to fade. However, it’s only suitable for T-shirts containing polyester. It doesn’t work very well on more common T-shirt materialsIt is similar to cotton.
4. A Cutting Machine
While it is possible for your designs to be cut by hand, it can take a lot of time, frustrate, and be difficult to do it accurately. A machine can take an image and cut the heat transfer for your T-shirt.
A high-quality cutting machine is worth the investment. It will ensure that your designs will be cut accurately and that no pieces are accidentally removed. This purchase is not required, but it will make your life so much easier.
5. A Drying Machine and a Drying Rack
If you’re screen printing your T-shirts, you may need to invest in a drying machine. The drying process will ensure that ink is properly cured to the fabric. If you’re heat-pressing your designs onto your T-shirts, you can probably get away with just using a drying rack.
As you’d expect, electric drying machines are far more expensive than drying racks, but they’re worth the extra money if you’re screen printing your T-shirts. They’ll help improve the overall quality and appearance of your T-shirts and reduce the amount of time it takes to dry them.
6. A Computer That’s Capable of Running the Necessary Software
As you might expect, at least one computer is required to run the required graphic design software as well as the program that will operate your cutting machine.
It can be difficult to learn some of the programs that you will need to create appealing designs. For example, Photoshop CorelDraw These two programs are very popular for designing T-shirts, but a computer that is not up to date will have trouble running them.
It may be worthwhile to invest in a new computer if you really want to get your T-shirt company off the ground. You can use a Mac, or a PC. However, make sure they can run all the programs you will need.
It will be easier to run these programs if there is a mouse. So if you plan to do most your design work on a computer, make sure you get one.
Other Supplies You’ll Need for a T-shirt Printing Business
Now that you know what main t-shirt printing business equipment you’ll need, we can go over some of the supplies and accessories you will need to get the most out of that equipment.
Heat Transfer Paper
Transfer paper If you plan to use a heat presse to print your designs on T-shirts, this is required. High-quality transfer papers will make your designs look the best. It is worth spending a little extra.
There are many types of transfer papers available for laser and inkjet printers. Make sure you get the right type of paper for your printer.
Remember that there is transfer papers that is specifically made for light-colored fabrics. For darker fabrics, you will also require dark heat transfer papers.
As you’d expect, you’re going to need plenty of ink. High-quality ink is critical if you’re screen printing. It is easy to find. It can be bought from Amazon You will find great deals at other major retailers.
Even when they’re just starting, T-shirt printers will use a lot of ink and different colors, so make sure you don’t cut corners. You can lose business if you can’t accommodate a client’s request, and it can make your new T-shirt company look unprofessional.
Do yourself a favor by purchasing ink bulk. This will save you money and help you avoid frustration. There’s nothing worse than printing a batch of Tshirts and not having the ink needed to complete the job.
Although it may seem obvious, you will need to purchase the T-shirts you will be printing on. You want to stand out among the rest by using fashionable and high-quality T-shirts.
Organic cotton blends and T-shirts that make use of sustainable materials that won’t fade and fall apart after a few washes, like bambooYour business will stand out if you have the right people. Your customers should wear the T shirts you designed.
Printing high-quality T shirts can make your business stand out, regardless of whether you are printing custom designs or selling your own range.
As mentioned previously, you’ll also need to purchase the graphic design programs required to turn your designs into printable images. These are essential to create custom art and images that you can print on T-shirts.
These programs can be quite costly, unfortunately. For example, Adobe PhotoshopThe most popular T-shirt design program requires a high-performance computer. It can cost as much as $240 per annum.
Graphic design software will make it easier to create custom designs for clients. It will also allow you to impress them with stunning designs.
Why should you consider starting a T-shirt business?
Now that you understand more about t-shirt printing business equipment and supplies you’ll need to get a T-shirt business off the ground, you may be wondering if starting one is worth the hassle and all the upfront costs.
While all of this equipment can seem intimidating when you’re first starting out, it’s worth noting that most of it will last for many years. The return you’ll see on your investment can be very significant. Here are some reasons why you should start a T-shirt business.
Serious Growth Potential for your Business T-shirts are a common item worn by almost everyone. In fact, Grandview Research found the global custom T-shirt printing market was valued at USD $3.64 billion in 2020, and it’s projected to grow 9.7% annually! (grandviewresearch – Custom T-shirt printing market projections)
You have the opportunity to sell your T-shirts almost anywhere. It’s now easier than ever before to build your own online store. This will allow your T-shirts to be sold all over the globe, making them popular with both novice and experienced e-commerce entrepreneurs.
High-profit Margins. Because T-shirts can be sourced cheaply and ink is affordable, there are substantial profit margins. This is even truer if you’re running an online store, which doesn’t have the expenses associated with brick-and-mortar stores.
You have the chance to be your own boss Start your own T-shirt printing business. Once your business has grown, it is possible to hire employees. This will allow you and your team to concentrate on running and growing the business.
The ability to make a living from your own creativity You can make T-shirts and make a profit by your creativity. For artistic people, there’s nothing more satisfying than having complete strangers purchase products that you designed yourself.
T-shirt printing companies can be flexible. You can either design your own T-shirts or sell them as part a fashion label. Or you can customize other T-shirts for a fee. You can also order bulk quantities for many occasions, including sporting events.