Price Calculations in Screen Printing: What You Need to Know
Tips & Tricks
min read

Price Calculations in Screen Printing: What You Need to Know

Let's unpack four factors affecting your spending on your next custom apparel order.

Knowing where you spend your money is essential when planning a custom apparel order. The customization possibilities are endless (and sometimes overwhelming). Understanding how we come up with the price of your order helps you narrow down the best combination for you and your budget.

Price fluctuations can be confusing and even frustrating when building a screen-print order.

Over the years, we’ve completed hundreds of thousands of custom screen-printed apparel orders, from simple to complex designs- let’s just say that prices DEFINITELY vary.

To avoid any surprises during check-out, here is a crash course on some factors that may affect the price of your next order.

Type of Apparel

What kind of apparel do you want to use to show off your design?

The answer to this question will drastically affect your order total. The base price will differ depending on the material, quality, and size of different garments.

Picking between a hat, t-shirt, or hoodie is entirely up to you, but checking out the price differences might be worthwhile before you get dead-set on one idea. For example, printing onto a cotton t-shirt will be cheaper than a sweatshirt, so choosing between them will be an issue of price.

If you've decided on a T-shirt, deciding on the material is also a factor. Your most affordable option will be 100% cotton, while a more expensive option (but more breathable material) would be a tri-blend. It all depends on what you're looking for - and what you're willing to spend.

Print Locations

You've decided on a garment; now, where are you printing on that piece?

The number of locations you print onto is going to be another factor. Printing on both sides of a t-shirt or tote can be the most creative and expressive approach for your custom order but will also be the most expensive.

To be clear, when it comes to a t-shirt, one side = one location. So, if you want your company logo on the front of your shirt and your slogan on the back, that would be two separate locations. That logic will be the same for the pricing of totes, sweatshirts, etc.

A design on either sleeve would be another possible location. A custom-printed tag would also add another expense to your order. Remember: More locations printed = more money spent. 

Color or Colors?

How many hues are you going to use?

Color is super expressive and can make your apparel pop. Although picking more colors may give your design some added dimension, more colors equate to more money out of your pocket when it comes to screen printing.

Screen printing is a much different process than digital printing. Screen printing is manual, with each color needing its screen and individual process. Each color's screen is like a stencil where only certain spots of the screen allow the ink to seep through into your custom product. When additional color is added, another screen must be made, which means more labor, materials, etc.

The screen-printing process is like an assembly line, with each color needing its step. Adding an extra "step" to the printing process will slightly increase the price of your order.


How large is your order?

When you ask yourself how many items you should order, a rough estimate likely comes to mind. Keeping quantities low might save you money, but sometimes it might be the opposite.

Ordering more items usually leads to significant discounts. For example, ordering one custom t-shirt might cost you $45, but ordering 20 of that same custom shirt might cost you $20 per shirt. These costs depend on multiple factors and are 100% hypothetical, but ordering custom apparel in bulk might keep your pockets from hurting.

You can mix different garment types to achieve the next price break! For example, if you’re ordering 35 sweatshirts, you can add 15 t-shirts on and achieve the price break for 50 garments as long as the design on both the sweatshirts and t-shirts remains the same.

If you have a budget and a number of items you want to get, hitting that milestone to get that discount would allow you to put more money back into your order. Now you can afford that extra color in your desired design because you could save money in this category!

Messing around with different combinations can show you that with small quantities, adding things like more colors or more locations will cost you. But you can run wild when you get into more significant order quantities. Extra color won't make a huge difference when you order 500 shirts.

Don't be discouraged!

It's easy to see that there are a lot of factors that will affect the price of your custom apparel order! But don't let that get you down. Many affordable ways exist to complete your projects while freeing your creativity. Keep an open mind and explore the thousands of options to find your best fit.

We’ve been doing this screenprinting thing since 2009, so we are confident that our team can make your custom apparel dreams come true.

We’re here to help; hit us up.

Originally Published 09/21/2022 | Updated 05/12/2023

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