Building a printing business is worthwhile, but it can also be challenging. When it comes to screen printing, mistakes can be costly. A bad print, bad art, and poor quality control can lead to wasted time and materials or, even worse, unhappy customers.

By avoiding some common screen printing mistakes, you will increase the quality of your output, decrease waste, and make sure you are providing your customers with screen-printed merchandise they’re sure to love.

So, let’s get to know these mistakes and issues.

Starting Without Preparation:

Starting without preparation is the first mistake printers make. Preparation is important for a successful screen printing business and the screen printing process. When you start, you should be well aware of what you’re getting into, including what tools and supplies you’ll need, how much money you’ll need to spend, who your clients are, and, of course, the fundamentals of screen printing.

Always Using the Same Mesh:

One of the general screen printing mistakes is using the same mesh for all jobs. Many new screen printing companies, especially those who are just starting out, think that a 110 mesh will do. But, in practice, 110 may not be the ideal option for all jobs.

Indeed, a 110 will get the job done and is ideal for routine printing tasks. But, a higher mesh is often required if you’re printing halftones or photorealistic motives. You’ll consistently achieve the best outcomes if you have a number of screen mesh options at your disposal.

You may achieve nicer prints and use less ink by using the appropriate screens and ink for each job.

Not Cleaning Your Screen:

If the screen printing screen is not well cleaned after usage, particularly with water-based inks, it will be more challenging to completely remove any residual ink that could harm the screen and jeopardize future prints. You must take care of them and keep them in good condition to prevent such screen printing mistakes.

Not Proofreading Your Artwork:

Typos occur. Misspelled words also happen. There are times when fonts and colors come near yet fall short. These screen printing mistakes are frequently so minor that they are simple to overlook. Before you begin printing, proofreading can help ensure your graphics are perfect. When sending any artwork to the press, please double-check it. Have a shop employee reproof your artwork after you’ve already done so.

The more eyes you have reviewing the graphic, the less likely a mistake will go to press. It is far easier to remedy an issue in your design than fix a 200-piece press run.

When you are ready to print, do a test run to ensure the image is placed correctly, the registration is accurate, and the graphic appears fine on the final product. Before printing, the artwork must be presented to your clients for final approval to preserve your profit margin.

Pressing too Hard on the Squeegee:

To achieve a good coat of ink, you need to hold the squeegee firmly, but you don’t need to put all your weight on it. Pushing too hard might be the result of ghosting or smearing, and you definitely don’t want that.

Water-based inks are frequently produced at lower viscosities, making it almost unnecessary to rub the screen to get effective ink transfer from the screen to the T-shirt. Also, since there will be more ink ON the shirt as opposed to inside the fibers, the print will be more brilliant and have an even softer handle for the same amount of ink.

Not Updating Your Equipment:

One of the main expenses for operating your business is the pricey screen printing equipment. It can be fascinating to continue using your outdated equipment because most screen printing machines can last for decades with routine maintenance.

Failure to upgrade your equipment as your company expands are severe screen printing mistakes that ultimately costs you time, money, and clients. New equipment can boost your output.

New screen printing equipment may require an initial investment, but it can pay off by accelerating the growth of your business and quality.

Not Thinning Your Ink to the Proper Consistency:

Several plastisol inks are in the market as ready to use, yet most inks are too thick to use directly from the container. Add some reducer to thin the ink and achieve the desired creamy, smooth texture. You get the danger of creating a blotchy or hazy outcome if you use too thick ink.

Sometimes, adding a small reducer will work, and other times, a thorough stirring will achieve the desired texture. In each case, spending the extra effort to do things perfectly will produce better outcomes.

Sticking to the Same Technique:

There are many fashion trends in the apparel sector, and screen printers work in this field. Experimenting with different inks and techniques will make your screen printing business relevant and growing.

Since customers want their t-shirts to feel softer and have a more “vintage” appearance, water-based and discharge printing has become popular. Detailed prints and distressed inks are also becoming more popular.

Because of these types of screen printing mistakes you lose out on the chance to grow your company when you rely too much on your primary line of technique and printing.

Using Many Angles on the Squeegee During the Paint Stroke:

Although it could take a few tries to find the perfect angle, it’s preferable to start with the squeegee almost vertical and then tilt it about 15° off vertical for novices. With a quick, clean motion, pull the squeegee in your direction as well. That will produce a clear image. A longer hydrostatic pulse caused by an excessive squeegee tilt can cause splurging under the stencil gasket. This may cause the ink to flow in unwanted places, leaving blurry outlines and other unfavorable print faults.

Working with Dirty Equipment:

Cleaning the equipment is necessary between each project. Old ink from previous print jobs, lint from your previous substrate, or finger smudges take little to ruin your finished product. Keep your pallets clean, and wash your hands frequently to prevent contaminating your substrates with oil, dirt, or old ink.

If your finished product still has a stain, a spot gun can frequently save it. Spot guns let you apply a concentrated cleaning agent to stains, smudges, or fingerprints.


After reading this guide, you must be able to avoid some of the most common screen printing mistakes. Fixing screen printing mistakes can be done by trial and error. However, focusing on avoiding these 10 rookie mistakes, screen printers make better results while printing.