* The best screen printing machines on Amazon
* Beginners guide to DIY apparel
* Create custom clothing or start your own brand
Making your own clothes (or starting your own fashion brand) has never been easier. Affordable materials, easy-to-use equipment and the ability to sell clothing online has created a booming industry of small, independent fashion brands and personalized pieces you can’t get from the big guys.
If you’re looking to start a brand or make some custom clothing at home, you’ll want to invest in a good screen printing machine (a.k.a. silk screening machine). These machines allow you to transfer designs to t-shirts, hats and anything else you can think of. They print a thick layer of ink onto your garment instead of soaking into the clothing (as with heat transfer machines). This printing method provides a more high-quality look and feel, and lasts much longer too.
Here’s how it works: a thin mesh fabric with a negative of the design is stretched over the frame of the machine. Then, with the shirt in place, ink is rolled over the screen (either with a hand or a machine), printing ink only on the areas where you want your design. Obviously, it’s much easier to understand once you see it in action, but overall it’s a fairly simple process to master.
When buying a screen printing machine, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you want to decide between the more basic but budget-friendly photo emulsion technique or a real machine. Secondly, if you want to create multicolor designs, you’ll need a nicer machine with multicolor capabilities.
Below are some of our favorite screen printing machines you can buy on Amazon, including photo emulsion kits and more serious multicolor machines.
1. Speedball All-In-One Screen Printing Kit
This kit from Speedball contains everything you need for photo emulsion printing and right now it only costs $88. It includes a screen, four jars of ink (black, red, white and blue), photo emulsion liquid, a lamp and more. Instead of a machine, you use a wooden stick to roll the ink over your garment. It’s cheaper and takes up less space than a machine, and makes a great activity for kids or parties.
2. SHZOND Screen Printing Press
For $150 you can upgrade to this real screen printing press. It features an adjustable pallet (the tray) and a 4-color set-up so you can create multicolor designs. Users say it’s great for hobbyists thanks with an easy-to-use design and fairly simple set-up.
3. SPE USA Screen Printing Station
Another great multicolor station is this one from SPE USA. It’s slightly more expensive but creates high-quality prints and features a durable, solid construction.