Top 8 T-shirt Printing Materials Checklist for Beginners

Prints on T-shirts have been a trend for a while now, and it does not seem like it’s leaving anytime soon. These prints add style, classiness and elegance to an otherwise ordinary shirt.

Printing on shirts requires little effort and is relatively stress-free. However, the quality and complexity of the prints will determine how easy it is. It can be done at home or in a small business.

However, one thing that can make the process difficult is when you don’t have the appropriate materials. There are a lot of materials for t-shirt print out there whose uses are determined by the scale of the printing.

It is not easy to choose the right product for a given task. We decided to compile a list of the most commonly used t-shirt printing materials. This list will serve you as a guide, regardless of the purpose.

Anyone can use the list to print shirts. for a business Personal DIY projects. Continue reading to learn more.

Materials Required for T-shirt Printing

You might be asking yourself, “How do i print t-shirts at home?”

Below is a list of equipment that is required to make a tee-shirt starting at the basics. This is not necessarily a list of the most relevant items. Feel free to take the first.

See our related article On T-Shirt Printing Business Equipment! Check out the equipment you need to get started.

1. Heat Press Machine

These machines are used to transfer artworks. graphics to shirts. They can be used for many purposes, including as mugs, shoes and tote bags, as well as mouse-pads and other items.

Heat press machines can vary from manual press machine that does not require electricity to electronic press machines and commercial grade press machine.

The type of machine you choose will depend on your budget and the purpose it is used for. We recommend that you choose the manual or electronic press machines if you are just starting out.

This is vital if you are involved in team printing. This is because the shirt designs are identical so that they all look uniform. When buying, we recommend that you buy a 16×20 machine. If you can’t get that, buy a 15×15 machine and upgrade to the former when the need arises.

You can also use an iron box to replace a press. The design might not turn out as neatly as you would like.

Also Read:  7 Best Dual Tray Laser Printer in 2022 | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Important: Pay attention heatpress temperature settings Do not use this machine at too high a temperature as it can cause irreparable damage to your design.

We have written about two of the most popular printing techniques for t-shirt printing. article heat press vs screen printing.

Check Our Selected Top Rated Heat Press Machine Now!

2. Inkjet Printer

This is particularly important if your heat press machine uses digital technology. This method allows you to transfer printed designs from transfer papers to the shirt with the heat press machine.

The inkjet printer can be used for printing. used to print the design on the transfer paper. You can get the most out of this by using the right transfer paper, i.e. an inkjet printer sheet.

Also, use a good quality inkjet printer for the best work. They provide a neat, flawless finishing touch to your work.

A good printer You should be able accommodate different sizes of sheets or paper. This will allow you to work with various designs, regardless of how small or large they may be.

Software may be required for certain printers to produce better results. Make sure the software is compatible with your printer

3. The Screen

The screen is another vital material you will need for printing on shirts. This is especially important if you are making screen prints. It is easy to make at home using a few items.

This tool is also used to create stencils. These stencils can be transferred onto the shirt to create a design. It functions in the same way as a heat press, but they can be used for different types of printing.

It can be difficult to work on a screen, as you will need one for every color you are transferring.

A mesh count is also required for the screen. The higher the mesh number, the more detailed your design will be.

For context, if you are looking to make a puff and athletic design, you will need a mesh count of 15 – 90. It should be between 15 and 160 mesh count for general printing.

Consider using sturdy materials to frame your screen at home – aluminum or wood are good options.

This will make it stronger and more durable. You should also remember to get something to protect them from the sun.

4. Emulsion

As we said, the screen is sensitive towards light. To reduce this, you will need an emulsion. It is a liquid substance that is applied on screens to reduce their sensitivity to light.

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It is usually applied to the screen before it is used. The hardening of the emulsion (when it’s exposed to light) is what creates the stencil.

It is very easy to apply this chemical substance. However, you will need a specific tool to do this. A scoop coater or squeegee is the most common. Make sure you have one of them handy when preparing for screen prints. In our article, we take a deep dive on screen printers for screen printing. easily print screen printing transparencies by a printer.

Apply a thick layer of emulsion on the screens to achieve a smooth and even transfer. This will allow the screen to have more space and improve color saturation.

To dry the emulsion-coated screens, you will need a drying rack. This will prevent them blending.

5. Ink

This is the most important material for any printing. The ink is what makes the design visible. They are different types of ink used for printing. They include plastisol inks and water-based ones.

A solvent ink is required for t-shirt printing. They come in a variety of colors. You can get the primary colours black, white or red.

If you want a more distinctive and sophisticated color, you can mix several colors until you are satisfied.

A starter mixing system can aid in the mixing process, while quart containers are used for ink mixing. To get a more accurate result, you will also need a scale.

6. Exposure Unit

The equipment used to cure the screen coated with emulsion is called the exposure unit. It directs light onto the stencil instead of allowing the full sun’s rays to reach it. The sun can be used to cure the stencil if this tool is not available.

This equipment is oven-shaped and allows you to place the screens while they absorb light. Place them in the exposure unit so that they do not touch.

7. Washout Station and Water Source

After curing the screen coated with emulsion in the exposure unit you will need wash off any remaining emulsion. You should not fail to do so as the screen will cure more when exposed to sunlight, which can lead to foggy work.

This is the washout sink. It can be either improvised or professionally manufactured. What is essential is that there is a constant flow of water.

8. Conveyor Dryers

After washing the screen clean, you will need it to dry, which is why the conveyor dryer is needed. They heat the ink, which sets it more securely on the shirt.

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This ensures that the print cannot be easily removed. This is the last step in t-shirt production.

Additional materials are required for T-shirt printing

After you have bought the tools necessary for t shirt printing, there are some other materials you might need. These aren’t necessarily essential, but they can make your work easier. These include:

  • Flash cure unit – This is used for partially curing the ink; this allows you have multiple colors in a shirt.
  • Spotting gun – When used with a spotting solution, it can remove ink stains, fingerprints, and plastisol drips from printed shirts.
  • Emulsion remover – this is used to wash off the emulsion from a screen. This allows the screen to be re-used.
  • Curable reducer – This is used to reduce ink thickness.
  • Tape gun- This is used to cover up a portion of a shirt before printing. The areas that are not covered by the ink are those that are not covered. This gives the work an easier finish.
  • Degreaser- This is used to clean the screen’s surface before applying the emulsion.
  • Stain removal is a must-have for all brushes, including soft bristle brushes. They are useful for t-shirt printing and when you need to use a degreaser or curable reducer.
  • Others include a flash dryer, film output device or spray adhesive.

Continue reading: The Best Shirts for Sublimation Printing. Discover which fabrics work – and the ones that don’t!


By now, you might have noticed that printing on shorts is not much of a difficult task, especially when you have the right materials. Although it might seem daunting to purchase all the materials, you should only get the most basic. This way, you can print it correctly when you start printing.

You must also learn how to use these tools so they last you a long time. We say, “Happy Printing!”

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