In screen printing, you might want to print something larger than will print on a single piece of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. But how to do it? There is software out there specifically designed to print stuff like this. It will break up the images, and print it in sections. But I am cheap. I didn’t want to pay $20 or more for a program that does nothing more than this. I started playing with some of the programs that I alreayd had. I couldn’t do it with Adobe Photoshop. It might be able to do it, but I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe a newer version has a feature for it (I am using version 3.5). I suppose I could just manually break the image up into smaller pieces, and print them on the transparencies. I tried Microsoft Word, but couldn’t get it to do it.
That I found the solution. Microsoft Excel!
Simply open Excel. Go to the Insert menu option, and select Picture. It will give you another menu, so select From File. A browse box will pop up, so use this to select the image that you want to print. This will insert your image into a single spreadsheet cell. Right-click on the image, and choose Format Picture. Under the Size tab, you will find the ability to adjust the size of your image. Make sure you have "Lock aspect ratio" checked, or it might distort your image.
Now you can print your image. Excel will automatically print the whole thing, using multiple sheets if needed. You can print whole banners if you want. I have used Excel to print a poster size image that was 5 pages wide, and 6 pages tall. So it was 30 pages in all. I just had to tape them all together.
So for screen printing, you would just print your image onto transparencies, and then tape the transparencies together (using transparent tape) into one contiguous image.

I generally make my own screen printing art using Adobe Photoshop. On my Screen Printing Artwork page, I show you how I made one piece of art.
Graphic art for screen printers is widely available. Lot of different things can be used. You can use clip art, photographs, whatever.

You can make your own art using any computer graphics program you have available. The paint program that comes with Windows can be used. My own choice is an old version of Adobe Photoshop. I love this software, and the use of layers allows cool images to be easily made. I have also used Microsoft Word to make text art.

There are plenty of sources of clip art that can be used. If you are planning on makng shirts to sell, make sure you have the rights to use the art for that purpose. If you are making a shirt for yourself, you probably shouldn’t have any problems unless you use some trademarked image, and happen to draw the attention and tick off the trademark owner. I have read this has happened with people using Disney images.
If you find single color images, then you are all set. If the images are multiple colors, then you will need color separation software. Color separation can be costly, involved, and is not for beginners. It would also require the use of a multi-color screen printing press in order to print it.

You can create screen printing art from photographs. If you want to print the images in multi-color, again it would require color separation software, and a multi-color printing press.
Another less expensive option is convert the photograph to a halftone image. Halftone images are like those black and white images that you see in newspapers. They are made up of little dots of different sizes. This can be done using Adobe Photoshop.
And even another way to print a photograph is to use a high contrast photograph, and convert it to two color. This is trickier to do. The photograph needs to have the right balance of dark and light shading, and then it stills requires a lot of exerimentation to get it to look good.
When printing black and white photographs, it works best if you are printing white on a black shirt, or black on a white shirt. If printing white on a black shirt, you would initial print a positive image (the black parts are printed black). If printing black on a white shirt, you would need to print the image as a negative. The white parts print as black.

Screen printing machines are pretty simple devices. The most basic screen printing machine for t-shirts holds a single screen so that it can be dropped down onto a printing surface holding a t-shirt, consistantly in the same position time after time. This allows the mass production of printed shirts.
A multi-color printing press is a little more complex. It holds multiple screens on arms that revolve around a center axis. Each screen is set up with a different color ink. The first screen is dropped onto the shirt, and a stroke is made laying the first color of ink on the shirt. That screen is lift, and the next screen is rotated into place, dropped, ink laid down for the second color. There may or may not be a drying step between screens, where the surface of the ink that was just laid down is dried using a flash dryer.

Screenprinting machines for t-shirts for sale:

AWT Econo-Tex Tabletop Printers
AWT Econo-Tex II Floor Model Printers
Blick 1-Color Garment Printing Machine
Blick 4-Color Garment Printing Machine
Dynamic 4-Color Screen Printer
Jennings Professional 1-Color Press

Build your own screen printing machine for t-shirts!
If you want to make your own screen printing machine, I have published free plans online for how to build a simple single color screen printing press.

You will also find new and used screen printing machines on eBay:

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