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Cost of T-Shirt Printing: How Much Does Screen Printing Cost

Cost of T-Shirt Printing: How Much Does Screen Printing Cost


Cost of T-Shirt Printing: How Much Does Screen Printing Cost

Throughout the years, screen printing has been a standout method for creating customized apparel. It can print vibrant designs that can be easily seen from afar. The thing here is that a lot would tend to question its costs. A lot may think it's expensive; however, we’re here to tell you it isn’t. For the most part, every cost of screen-printed apparel is justifiable because of the quality of the printed items and the material costs. In this blog, we will explore the costs of screen printing, the factors influencing its pricing, and tips to help you minimize the expenses while not compromising on quality.

Understanding Screen Printing

Screen printing involves pushing ink through a mesh stencil and onto the fabric, typically shirts, hoodies, and bags. The process itself is very versatile, and it can produce durable shirts that can withstand the tests of time. Aside from DTG prints and embroidery, screen printing shirts had been the way for custom apparel in 2024.

Making screen prints begins with creating a stencil or screen for each color design. One color is equivalent to one screen; therefore, if your design is multicolored, it involves multiple screens. Afterward, the ink is applied to the screen and forced through the mesh onto the shirt using a squeegee, as seen in the image. This process is repeated for each color, resulting in vibrant colors of the designs.

For this reason, screen printing delivers a lot of advantages. Number one is the higher quality of printed designs on apparel. When you compare screenprinted apparel with DTG prints, you can notice the difference really quickly. Screen-printed apparel has colors that stand out more than DTG, and the prints can withstand wear and multiple washes without fading. Additionally, screen printing is very versatile. It can be used in different materials, not just fabrics, so it is often used to create merch such as mugs, bags, etc. The colors pop even from a distance; you wouldn't regret having it screen-printed if it was done correctly.

Screen Printing Services

Factors that Affect the Costs of Screen Printed Apparel

1) Quantity

The number one factor is quantity. The screens and ink are costly if you only do small batches of artwork. Ideally, you would want to order more apparel because the more you order, the less the screens and ink used would cost. There is a vast difference in pricing when it comes to quantity. If you're looking to order shirts below 12, the cost of each shirt could go up from seven dollars or more depending on the t-shirt printing provider, and this doesn't include the printing and labor yet. However, if you ordered around 40+ shirts, the costs would lower to four dollars a piece, whereas you could pay close to the same amount if you're going with a 12-piece order.

2) Number of colors

Next up is the color. Color is a determining factor for increasing the costs of screen-printed apparel, as more colors equate to more screens being burned. Some businesses would opt for using DTG prints as it would make it cheaper. However, the quality of the prints is very different. If you want to reduce the costs, ideally, you should go with one- or two-colored screen prints. If you look at the images above, this is a one-color screen print from a local business that Tee Vision Printing has done. It's vibrant and looks aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, making the brand stand out even more.

3) Location and Size of Design

Another factor is the location and size of the design. As we know, designs can be placed in different areas of apparel. If we look at generic placements of these designs, they are typically placed on the center of the front and back of the shirt. While this is ideal and required for most brands, some would opt to have the designs placed on the sleeves, at the bottom of the shirt, or in the side pocket of the shirt. These can increase the costs of your shirts. Additionally, if you have a design that is a little bigger than required, this may also increase the costs. Going with a more nuanced location and size will require additional setup and labor, resulting in higher pricing.

4) Type of Shirts

There are different types of shirts. While they may look the same, some may have premium quality than others. For this reason alone, the quality of the shirt will affect the printing costs. If they are more premium, then it's expected that they will be more expensive. In exchange for the added price, you'll be given a better overall look and feel of the final product.

Custom T Shirts Screen Printing

How much does screen printing cost?

The price per unit may vary depending on the different factors mentioned above. However, here is a general idea of what the price should be like. In all this, you must note that different t-shirt printing companies have different prices. Some may be more expensive than others, and the prints' quality may also differ.



Price Per Shirt











Comparison to Other Printing Methods

Other printing methods have their own advantages and weaknesses, but screen printing stands out more than the rest of them. Screen-printed garments appear to have more vibrant prints and last longer; therefore, they can be treated as an investment for your brand. Moreover, screen-printed apparel can withstand multiple washes, and the design does not wear away that easily compared to DTG-printed apparel or heat press. The only con here, however, is if you're doing small runs. It's not a cost-effective option. However, if you have the budget, go for screen printing. 

Here is a table comparing screen printing with other printing methods.


Printing Method

Quality of Prints

Cost of Print (for 100 shirts)

Suitable for 

Screen Printing



Large orders, few colors 

Direct to Garment Printing 



Small to medium orders, complex designs 

Heat Press Printing



Small orders, quick turnaround times 

Tips for Reducing Screen Printing Costs

1) Go with bulk orders

Ordering in one go is the most cost-effective option for screen printing. It will reduce the price of the screen and ink, which can help you save a lot more. The saved expense could be used to buy additional garments instead. You can also consider combining your orders with other brands, friends, or colleagues. This way, you can use screen printing to get the desired apparel.

Bulk Screen Printing

2) Simplify your designs

There is only so much that screen printing can do. Whenever you want screen prints, it's better if your designs have fewer colors; that way, it's less expensive. As mentioned earlier, more colors equals more screens, which increases the cost per shirt. You don't need to overcomplicate your design; simple designs will do as long as they can communicate your brand's message.

3) Choose the right apparel

There are different options out there that need to be clarified. Make sure you know the apparel's purpose aside from putting your branding on it. If you're going for gym shirts, make sure to go for performance tees, or if you are going for a more premium look, then go with Colours or Bella + Canvas brand. That said, if you go with more premium shirts, just expect it to be more expensive than the traditional Gildans. Please consult with your t-shirt printing service provider, who can give you the shirt that fits your budget and needs.

Wrapping Up

Screen printing differs from the other screen printing techniques out there. It is highly versatile and cost-effective if you want to create custom t-shirts and apparel for your brand in bulk. That said, buying more combined with fewer colors, the fitting garment, and the optimal placement is cheaper. Make sure that you consult your T-shirt printing service provider about your options and ask for guidance if you're unsure. By doing and understanding these things, you know different factors that can help you achieve cost-effective strategies for getting your custom apparel without exceeding your budget. Don't shy away from screen printing. It is a reliable solution for taking your brand to the next level and bringing your designs to life.

Tee Vision Printing
920 E Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19124
(267) 538-5331

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