How to Start a Screen Printing Business

Screen printing businesses blend creative and physical work. These types of companies range from small very hands-on businesses to larger scale automated set-ups, printing on a variety of textiles. Let's keep it simple and discuss what is involved to start a smaller scale business in this field.

Create a company name and form a business entity. A limited liability company (LLC) is a good choice for a startup company, giving protection of personal assets. A short form called the 'Articles of Organization' must be completed and filed within the appropriate secretary of state's office.

Find a designated work space. Decide whether renting a space or using a room in your home is best for your needs and budget. You will electricity and running water in the workshop.

Acquire necessary equipment including a manual four-color press, a lightbox to burn images (make negatives), large scale computer printer, drying rack and small pressure washer and wash tub. These items can be purchased used, or new, often as a package deal. A four-arm (four color) manual press is a good starter printing press as it is operable with just one person.

Attend a seminar at a local sign printing or large scale printing company or read online tutorials regarding the printing process. Pay close attention to printing images, using the lightbox to make negative screens, and techniques required to use a four-armed printing press.

Research suppliers and obtain necessary materials including, silk screens, paints, T-shirts or other textiles, squeegies, photo emulsion, and screen cleansers. As a licensed business entity there will be many deals and bulk options available.

Sell your services! Get out and do some aggressive marketing. Visit local restaurants, businesses, bands, university groups and non-profit organizations to offer deals on printing services to establish your company's image and reputation.


  • Some chemicals used to strip the paint from used screens can give off quite a bit of fumes. Make sure to keep a fan going or open a window when doing a lot of screen cleaning to avoid any headaches or other side affects.