[PLANS] How-to Build a DIY 1-Color Screen Printing Press

When you start out in screen printing, I highly, highly recommended that you learn with a screen printing press – even if it’s a 1-color.

This is so that when you print your garment, the press will keep the screen from moving or jerking around as you pass ink to the garment. The press will ensure stability and that your print doesn’t get smudged up, leaving you with a crappy t-shirt.

I’ve built the world’s simplest 1-color press below to help anyone get started. Here’s what you need:

1. A sturdy work table

2. 2 pieces of wood
a) 2in x 15in x 2in (ledge)
b) 12in x 18in x 1in (platen)

3. Clamps or mini C-Clamps

4. Pair of jiffy hinges

5. Hammer

6. Screws and a screwdriver

First you’ll need a work table that you can trash since you’ll be spilling paint, drilling holes and who knows what else. Here’s what you’re trying to achieve.

a DIY 1-color 1-station screen printing press

Now get two pieces of wood. One is for the “ledge” and the other as the “platen”. The “ledge” is where your clamps will sit, while the “platen” is where you’ll be placing your t-shirt. The screen frame that I’m using is 12” x 16”. So depending on your screen size, the length of the ”ledge” must accommodate your screen.

DIY 1 color screen printing press
Ledge & Platen

I’m using these jiffy hinges and they have a total of four screw holes. Just drill holes into the “ledge” and screwed them in tight. Alternatively, you can use door hinges but that means having to drill holes into your screen. Not conducive if you’re using metal/aluminum frames.

screen printing press jiffy clamps

Next, place the “ledge” on the edge of your work table and clamp it down tightly using G-Clamps. As an alternative, you can also use some heavy duty industrial super sized monster nails to hold down the “ledge” piece.

screen printing press g clamps
hold down the ledge using G-clamps


Once this is done, insert your screen and adjust accordingly.

place screen in printing clamps
fit the screen in and adjust

Make sure the screen is aligned with the platen. Also, don’t forget to add some “off contact” space.




perfect screen alignment
adjust screen alignment
add off contact between screen and platen
“off-contact” between screen and platen

So there you have it! Good luck! If you’re feeling geared up for this, consider building yourself a 4-color press instead!

One Comment

  1. Vik September 22, 2010 Reply

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