Screen Printing Prices


When looking for screen printing prices online, it’s important to remember that there are a number of factors that can affect the final screen printing costs. The first is the country of production – costs can vary significantly from one country to another. Other important factors include the number of pieces you want to print and any local regulations that may apply (such as waste water treatment, safety regulations, labour laws, etc.). Taking all of this into account will give you a more accurate idea of what your final screen printing bill will be.

Screen printing can be quite labour intensive, but if you’re in your own country, you don’t have to worry about production costs outside your country. The screen printer’s fixed costs are very important in terms of price, but if the screen printer has a good volume throughput, its fixed costs will decrease. On the other hand, if the screen printer’s fixed costs are too high for the print volume, this can have a negative effect on the price. But that’s not the customer’s problem – it’s something the screen printer has to work out for himself.

But what is the price of screen printing now, where does the screen printing cost more, and which is the extra cost? So that they understand how to reduce screen printing costs or what increases them.

How can the screen printing cost be minimised?

Screen-printing artwork determines printing cost

Artwork, i.e. the design itself

Do you already have the design or does the screen printer have to create it?
If the screen printer has to create the artwork first, which they can’t always do because of the additional cost of the designer. Some screen printers have this in-house, others have service providers for this, or they simply can’t do it because they don’t have the skills.

You have a design, but it needs to be modified.

If a design has to be modified, it is almost the same as point 1. It is additional work that costs extra.

Your image only exists on paper

This is usually very difficult because you have to get the artwork into the computer and then work on it. It is certainly possible, especially with spot designs, so full flat colours. Like fonts, are certainly feasible. But when it comes to colour images. You can’t really expect good quality from the screen printer because a lot of detail gets lost. Business cards are an example of this, it is simply inferior quality and therefore more work for the screen printer.

Design available in low resolution JPG only.

This does not mean that they are fine. Pictures found on the internet are usually 72-96 dpi. This means they are low quality, again as in point 3, it is more work to upgrade the image and as we know, more work costs more. If you have received the design from your designer by email, please ask for a high resolution 200-300dpi final print size and it should never be sent in JPG format.

How should you give the design to a screen printer?

Clearly in a high-resolution soft copy, with a resolution of 200-300 DPI (in the final print size!), such as TIF, EPS or PSD, if the screen printer has Adobe Photoshop, ask for the software version, not that they are no longer compatible. All this, but only for multicolour images. If you have a full-colour image, it is a vector design, for which Adobe Illustrator (AI format) or CorelDRAW (CDR format) are used. There is no point in importing a JPG file into CorelDRAW or Illustrator and then saving it as a vector graphic, it will still be a JPG file in the vector program. PDF is also a good format to send your file in for vector artwork. Please note that for vector artwork in particular, the font will be converted to curve. Or indicate which fonts are used. Converting to curves is probably the easier way.

Conclusion: a high-quality, high-resolution design makes work easier for the screen printer. This saves costs that can be returned to the customer.


In screen printing, each colour must be separated because they are printed separately. This means that three films are needed for a three-colour print. If the design is more photorealistic and contains several colours, at least 4 films are needed. This is called 4-colour process printing and is most often used on light-coloured T-shirts. And for both types, the difference between light and dark T-shirts means that designs printed on dark T-shirts require an extra film, also called an undercoat. The cost of the film is also extra and depends on the number of colours in the design. For full colour, this is the number of colours present. With CMYK it is 4 and with index separation or simulated process it depends, but mostly it is min. 4 and it can go up to more than 12. However, this is up to the screen printer to decide which colour separation to print the image with.
If you already have a film, you should not have to pay for it.
However, if the film is of poor quality, e.g. scratched, dirty or just printed on vellum, a new film should be made. Less Colours, less films, less cost.

Frame making

As you can see, the number of colours to be printed is also a major factor in the cost of printing. This is because for each colour separation, a screen must be created. This means that the more colours a design has, the more expensive it will be to print.

Screen printing color is a costing point

Screen printing colours

Now the colours need to be mixed. If the colours are not really important to you, you can always ask your screen printer what existing colours they have in stock.
Every screen printer usually has ink left over from previous print jobs, can you use this for your print job, is there enough ink left over?
This would save you money.
Most of the time, however, you want certain shades. Especially with full colour. It is important to specify the exact Pantone colour. The screen printer usually works with Pantone C (coated) or Pantone U (uncoated). If you do not have this Pantone chart. It would be very helpful to include colour samples. So that the screen printer has a clear idea. Agreements such as dark red or light blue usually end in problems. Because blue is not blue, we have thousands of different shades of blue. So it is important to specify the exact shade. Whether the screen printer will give you a discount or not needs to be clarified.

Which colour quality should be printed?

The screen printing price, for colours, is on average 14%, of the total cost of printing. Here is very crucial, the print size of the motif, but more on this in a moment.
There are differences in the quality of the printing inks, should they be a standard plastisol colour, or rather water-based, should they comply with certain standards such as Oeko TeX conform, or phalet free etc.?

Or should it include special effect colours, like a puff or high density or other effects? Will affect the price, of course.
Simple plastisol inks, without any standards, should be the cheapest option. Except for the binder, which is water-based and can only be printed on light-coloured t-shirts (preferably white). But these have no opacity, so the darker the t-shirt to be printed, the weaker the printed colour.

If you want water-based inks with opacity, it will probably be more expensive, because the inks are more expensive to buy and also have an expiration date, which is not the case with plastisol inks. Water-based inks are also a bit more difficult to print, especially since fixing the print takes longer.


Plastisol inks are the cheapest to print with the exception of transparent binders. Water-based inks with opacity cost more when printing on dark-colored Garments. If you are looking for special Ecolabel-compliant inks, you will have to pay extra. Special effect inks are generally more expensive depending on the technology used.

Quantity of printed Pieces.

Screen printing costs are related to the quantity printed. As explained in this picture.

Screen printing cost diagram

Small quantities high cost, large quantities low cost. This is because of all the preparation you have in screen printing compared to digital printing (DTG) for example. If you have a small quantity, you may want to think about Direct to Garment Printing, if the quantity to be printed is high, you will go for screen printing.

More on Screen Printing VS Digital Printing.


As you can see, screen printing prices are closely related to the quantity you need. As all the costs to prepare for screen printing, artwork, film, frames and ink are needed, regardless of the quantity, 1 or 10000PC. If you are a screen printer or a customer, this report should help you to understand where the cost factors are and how to reduce them if you can.

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As a German resident of Mauritius with a loving wife and two children, I bring more than 35+ years of experience in the screen printing industry. Although English is not my first language, I use advanced artificial intelligence to optimize the clarity of the content, and re-edit so that the factual content is accurately reflected to my knowledge.

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