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 4 main factors that will affect how much you spend on your next custom apparel order.

When planning a custom apparel order, it’s important to know where you’re spending your money. The customization possibilities are endless (and sometimes overwhelming) - so understanding how we come up with the price of your order might help you narrow down the combination that’s best for you and your budget.

Price fluctuations can be confusing – and maybe even frustrating- when you are building a screen-print order. To avoid any surprises during check-out, here is a crash course on some of the 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. Depending on the material, quality, and size of different garments, the base price will be different.

Picking between a hat, t-shirt, or hoodie is completely up to you, but checking out the price differences might be worth your while before you get dead set on one idea. For example, printing onto a cotton t-shirt is going to be a cheaper than onto 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 is going to 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 are 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 company 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 tag can also be added as a print location, but these will also add another expense to your order. Just remember: The more print locations mean the more you will be spending.

Color or Colors?

How many hues are you going to use?

Color is super expressive and can really make your apparel pop. Although picking more colors may give your design some added dimension, when we’re talking about screen printing, more colors equate to more money out of your pocket.

Screen printing is a much different process than digital printing. Screen printing is very manual; with each color needing its own screen and 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 there is an additional color, 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 own step in that process. Adding an extra “step” to your process will slightly increase the price of your order.


How large is your order?

When you ask yourself how many items you should order, there’s probably a rough estimate that comes to mind. You might think keeping quantities low will save you money – but it might just be the opposite.

Ordering more items usually leads to big 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. Obviously, these costs depend on multiple factors and are 100% hypothetical, but the point is that ordering in bulk might keep your pockets from hurting.

If you have a budget and a quantity of items you want to get, it’s possible that hitting that milestone to get that discount would allow you to put more money back into your order. Maybe now you can afford to get that extra color in your design that you wanted because you were able to 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 when you get into larger quantities in your orders, that’s when you can really run wild. An extra color isn’t going to 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. There are still plenty of affordable ways to get your projects done while still letting your creativity run free. Make sure to keep an open mind and explore the thousands of options you have to find the best fit for you.

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