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How to Build a DIY Single-Color Silk-Screen Printing Station

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I enjoy DIY screen printing t-shirts and like to share my experience with others.

My wall-mounted screen printing station.

My wall-mounted screen printing station.

Deciding What Kind of Screen Printing Press to Make

Over the past few months, I have been teaching myself to screen print. Over this period I have made a few different stations. So I thought I would show you how to make one for yourself, and talk a little bit about the pros and cons of both.

Apart from purchasing some hinge clamps, this has not cost me any money at all as I already had all the wood I needed. If you don't already have wood, you may want to take a drive around the industrial areas of your town. Many companies leave free scrap wood out in front of their buildings. If you do need to purchase some wood, it shouldn't be expensive.

The above image is of the latest station I made, which is mounted to the wall. However, I will share three different designs that I have made so far.

The three types of printing presses I have made so far are:

  • Wall-Mounted Press
  • Simple Board with Hinge Clamps
  • Workbench-Mounted Press

The Wall-Mounted Screen Printing Press

The wall-mounted press was probably the easiest to build and requires only a few materials. It also functions better than the other two types of printing stations I've made.

The thing I like about this one is that the board where you put your t-shirt is adjustable, which means you can use different sized screens. Another advantage to this one is that you can place the t-shirt over the board.

Materials Needed

  • 0.5m x 0.5m, flat piece of wood
  • Clamp
  • 2x4
  • Pallet Wood
  • Wood Screws
  • Hinge Clamps

Instructions

  1. Mark the center of the flat 0.5mx0.5m piece of wood.
  2. Cut the wood at an angle so that you can slide the t-shirt on and remove it easily.
  3. Clamp a piece of 2x4 that is more than half a meter long onto the railing of the wall you are mounting it on. This is where your board will sit and also where the hinge clamps will be mounted. In my case, it was on my shed. If you want to make it permanent, you could screw the wood, or bolt it onto the railing.
  4. Attach a piece of pallet wood onto the 2x4 that is attached to the railing with wood screws.
  5. Place the hinge clamps onto the mounted 2x4 and screw them into place, making sure they line up nice and straight.

How to Build a Wall-Mounted Printing Press

Simple Printing Board

Basic printing board with hinge clamps.

Basic printing board with hinge clamps.

Screen Printing Board With Hinge Clamps

The 2nd design is the most simple as it is just a flat wooden board with hinge clamps. This is a very basic design, and all you need to do is purchase some hinge clamps, and then screw them into the wooden board making sure they are lined up correctly.

There were a few things that I didn't like about this one. First, it is not adjustable. The hinge clamps are screwed into the board where the t-shirt sits, so you can't adjust the distance between the screen and where the t-shirt lies. Second, it is difficult to slide the t-shirt over the board because it is sitting on the table, so you just have to lay both layers of the t-shirt on top of the board. I have an instructional video below to show you a little more about this style of press.

Materials Needed

  • 0.5m x 0.5m, flat piece of wood
  • Hinge Clamps
  • Wood Screws

Instructions

  1. Carefully line up the hinge clamps.
  2. Mark where they should go.
  3. Screw the hinge clamps into place.

How to Build a Simple Press With Hinge Clamps

Workbench Screen Printing Press

The 3rd one is similar to the first. You can adjust the bottom board. However, this press is made to sit on top of a workbench. I think if you are going to make something like this, you want to make it so the board protrudes from the desk so that you can slide the t-shirt onto the board. For this press, I used regular hinges, and I attached them to a piece of metal where the screens would be clamped to.

This downside to this is I found it very hard to get it lined up nice and straight. I found that the great thing about using hinge clamps is that it is very easy to get everything lined up correctly.

The video below shows you how I built this one.

How to Build a Workbench-Mounted Press

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