Live Screen Printing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to create your own custom t-shirts with live screen printing! Our step-by-step guide will walk you through the process and give you the tools to create unique designs that stand out.

Live Screen Printing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Screen printing has been a widely used printing technique for several decades. However, a new trend in this industry has arisen – Live Screen Printing. This new method allows you to print on-demand, giving you the chance to create custom designs right in front of your audience. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Live Screen Printing, from understanding the basics to creating your very own print in just a few steps.

Understanding Live Screen Printing

What is Live Screen Printing?

Live Screen Printing is a versatile printing technique that involves printing a design onto a fabric or paper surface in real-time. This printing method allows you to print custom designs, making it perfect for events such as concerts, fairs, and product launches. You can print images, text, and graphics on a variety of surfaces, including t-shirts, tote bags, and paper products.

Live Screen Printing is a unique and interactive way to engage with your audience. It is a great way to create a memorable experience for your guests and leave a lasting impression. The process involves setting up a printing station at your event, where attendees can watch their designs come to life.

Benefits of Live Screen Printing

One of the most significant benefits of Live Screen Printing is its ability to create custom designs on-demand. Your audience can bring their custom design, which can be printed within minutes. This method creates a unique and personalized experience for your audience, creating a lasting impression. Additionally, Live Screen Printing is cost-effective, and you can print multiple copies of the same design without additional setup costs.

Live Screen Printing is also an eco-friendly printing method. The ink used in the process is water-based, which means it is non-toxic and safe for the environment. The process also produces less waste compared to traditional printing methods, making it a sustainable option.

Popular Uses for Live Screen Printing

Live Screen Printing can be used in various settings, including marketing events, music festivals, and product launches. Businesses often use Live Screen Printing to print their logos or brand name onto products such as t-shirts, tote bags, or stickers. Event organizers can use this printing method to create merchandise for concerts, fairs, or charity events.

Live Screen Printing is also a great way to create team-building activities. You can have your team create their custom designs, which can be printed onto t-shirts or other products. This activity can help promote creativity and collaboration within your team.

In conclusion, Live Screen Printing is a versatile and interactive printing method that can be used for a wide range of applications. It is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and personalized way to create custom designs on-demand. Whether you're organizing an event or looking for a unique way to promote your business, Live Screen Printing is an excellent choice for any creative project.

Materials and Equipment Needed

Live Screen Printing is a popular printing technique used to create custom designs on a variety of surfaces. This method involves using a screen printing frame, inks, squeegees, a printing press, an exposure unit, and other miscellaneous supplies. Let's take a closer look at each of these materials and equipment:

Screen Printing Frames

The screen printing frame is the primary tool used to print your design onto the surface. It is made up of a wooden or aluminum frame and a stretched mesh. The mesh is tightly stretched over the frame, creating a flat surface that you can use to print your design. You can use different size frames to achieve different effects. The frame holds a stretched mesh on which your design is printed. You can purchase screens in varying sizes and mesh counts depending on your project's requirements.

For example, if you are printing a small design, you can use a smaller frame with a higher mesh count. This will help you to achieve a more detailed print. On the other hand, if you are printing a larger design, you will need a larger frame with a lower mesh count. This will allow you to print a larger area with more ink.

Inks and Squeegees

Ink is the material used to print your design onto the surface. The printing process involves using a squeegee to push the ink through the mesh onto the surface. There are different types of inks you can use, including plastisol and water-based inks. The type of ink you select depends on the substrate you are printing on and the desired effect.

Plastisol ink is a popular choice for Live Screen Printing because it is easy to work with and produces vibrant colors. It is also very durable, making it ideal for printing on fabrics. Water-based inks, on the other hand, are more environmentally friendly and produce a softer print. They are best used for printing on paper and other non-fabric surfaces.

In addition to ink, you will also need a squeegee to spread the ink evenly across the surface, leaving the desired print. The squeegee is typically made of rubber and comes in different sizes. You will need to select a squeegee that is appropriate for the size of your screen printing frame.

Printing Press

A printing press is an essential tool used in Live Screen Printing. This device allows for the smooth transfer of ink from the screen onto the surface. You can use a manual or automatic printing press, depending on the size of your project, the number of prints needed, and your budget.

A manual printing press is operated by hand and requires more effort to use. It is best suited for small projects with a limited number of prints. An automatic printing press, on the other hand, is powered by a motor and can produce a large number of prints quickly and efficiently. This type of press is ideal for larger projects with a high volume of prints.

Exposure Unit

The exposure unit is used to transfer your design or artwork onto the screen, allowing you to print your design onto the surface. This device exposes the emulsion to light, creating an image onto the mesh. This image or design is then printed onto the surface.

The exposure unit is typically made up of a light source, a vacuum table, and a timer. You will need to place your design or artwork onto the screen and then cover it with a light-sensitive emulsion. The screen is then placed onto the vacuum table and exposed to the light source for a set period of time. The emulsion will harden in the areas that are exposed to the light, creating an image of your design on the screen.

Miscellaneous Supplies

Finally, you will require various other materials to complete your Live Screen Printing project. These items may include tape, emulsion, a scoop coater, a washout sink or bucket, and a heat gun, among other things.

Tape is used to mask off areas of the screen that you do not want to print on. Emulsion is the material used to coat the screen before exposing it to light. A scoop coater is used to apply the emulsion evenly onto the screen. A washout sink or bucket is used to wash away the emulsion from the screen after it has been exposed to light. A heat gun is used to cure the ink after it has been printed onto the surface.

With these materials and equipment, you will be able to create custom designs on a variety of surfaces using the Live Screen Printing technique. Whether you are printing t-shirts, posters, or other promotional materials, Live Screen Printing is a versatile and effective method for producing high-quality prints.

Preparing Your Artwork

Choosing the Right Design

Before you start your Live Screen Printing project, you must choose the right design or artwork. This design will be printed onto the final product. You can use computer software or hand-drawn artwork to create your design. The key is choosing a high-quality design that can be easily printed on the surface.

Converting Your Design for Screen Printing

After you have chosen your design, you need to convert it to a screen-printable format. This involves separating your design into individual color layers. Each layer is printed separately using a different screen, and the colors are then layered on top of each other to create the final image.

Separating Colors in Your Design

Separating colors in your design is essential to ensure that the colors are printed correctly on the surface. Each color requires a separate screen and a separate layer of ink. It's crucial to get the color separation correct to create a high-quality final product.

Creating the Screen

Coating the Screen with Emulsion

Once you have your design ready, you can start making the screen. This process involves coating the screen with photosensitive emulsion, a gel-like substance that reacts to light. You will need to apply the emulsion to the surface of the screen using a scoop coater, ensuring that it spreads evenly. This coating must dry completely before you proceed with the next step.

Exposing the Screen

After the emulsion has dried, the screen is exposed to light using an exposure unit. The light hardens the emulsion, creating a stencil of your design onto the mesh. The screen is then washed out with water, leaving the stencil behind to be used for printing.

Washing Out the Screen

The washing process involves spraying water on the screen, washing out the emulsion that was not exposed to light. This will reveal the stencil of your design onto the mesh, which will be used to create your final print. Once dry, your screen is now ready to be printed onto your chosen surface.


Live Screen Printing is a new and exciting way to print designs on-demand. This printing technique allows you to personalize and create custom prints in real-time, making it perfect for any creative project. Using the materials and equipment discussed in this article, follow the steps to create your very own screen-printed masterpiece.

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