Why is Screen Printing in Louisville, KY so Expensive?!?

If you are a small business or club in the area, then you are probably wondering why screen printing in Louisville, KY is so expensive. Custom t-shirt printing is something that every business and organization needs, so why is it so darn costly to do? Stick with me through this article, and I’ll share with you all the things local screen printers don’t want you to know.

Screen Charges

One of the reasons that Louisville screen printing is so expensive is the screen charges. Screen printing is a process in which ink is transferred through a wire or nylon mesh, except areas that have been made impermeable by a substance called emulsion. When ink is allowed to pass through the mesh, it creates a design on the shirt.

These screens have to be made by hand in many screen-printing shops, and it can be a timely process. First the screens are coated with emulsion and left to dry. After the emulsion has dried, the screens and a pre-printed “film” are exposed to light. This causes the photopolymers in the emulsion to create the design on the mesh. The screen is then “washed out”, removing the areas of the mesh that will allow ink to transfer onto the shirt. The screens must then be dried before they can be used for screen printing t shirts.

As you can see, this is a long process. It can cost anywhere from $25 to $65 per screen, depending on the size. You’ll also need one screen per color on your shirt design, plus a white background for dark colored shirts. If you have a t shirt design that has three colors on the front and three colors on the back, you’ll need at least 6 screens made for your custom t shirt order. That can cost $150 or more before you ever have a shirt printed!

Artwork and Set-Up Fees

In order to make screens for your custom t shirts, a graphic artist will have to do what is called a “color separation”. This process involved using a special software to separate each color from your design into it’s own layer. This way all the blues will be on a separate screen, and all the white color will be on one, etc. Depending on your artwork, and what type of effect or finished product you are looking for this can be a difficult procedure. This takes time, and time means money. The software is very expensive, and trained graphic designers are not cheap labor.

Once the screens are made, there is still another step prior to printing any shirts. A screen printer must then “register” all of the screens on the screen press before getting started. If they don’t, all of the colors won’t line up properly. This will result in a design that is misaligned on the shirt. More time equals more costs.

Chemicals and Inks

Another reason contributing to screen printing companies in Louisville, KY charging so much for custom t shirts, is the chemicals, inks, and supplies they need. We mentioned emulsion earlier. It is mandatory that emulsion be used to create the screens for the screen printing process. A five gallon bucket of emulsion can cost as much at $300. That may not seem like a lot of money, but it doesn’t go as far as you might think. And all screen printing chemicals have a shelf life of only 30 to 60 days. If you don’t use it in that time period, you have to just throw it out.

A Cheaper Solution

As you can see, all of these charges drive up the cost of your custom t-shirts before a local screen printer ever makes one shirt! Many Louisville screen printers offset this cost by requiring customers to purchase a minimum number of shirts. For a lot of small businesses, clubs, and individuals this means paying for a lot more t shirts than you need.

Mean Street Graphix is a custom t shirt printer in Louisville, KY. We provide a cheaper and faster approach to getting quality t shirt printing. Our unique digital decoration process eliminates the need for screens, artwork and set up fees, and expensive chemicals. And we require No Minimums on any shirt order! Ever.

If you have a need for custom printed t-shirts and other apparel, pleas let us show you how we can save you money. Contact us Here for a free, no-obligation quote.

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