How To Screen Print Your Own T-Shirts

Off contact is the distance between the bottom of the screen mesh and the top of the garment being printed .The purpose of off contact is to keep your print sharp and crisp. This is accomplished by the screen snapping off the garment and releasing the ink on the garment. The squeegee moves over the screen, pushing the ink as it goes, and the screen drops down and touches the garment. As the squeegee moves the screen snaps off the shirt, releasing a deposit of ink on the shirt.

Besides releasing the deposit of ink on the shirt, off contact keeps the screen from constantly touching the print. Off contact also helps reduce ink build up when printing wet on wet. Too much ink build up can cause blurry prints, so keeping a good off contact distance can help minimize this when printing wet on wet.

Off contact distance is usually 1/6" to 1/8" inch depending on the type of garment you are printing on and the type of ink you are using. Increasing off contact can increase the amount of ink deposited on the shirt. Decreasing and using a smaller off contact distance reduces the amount of ink deposited on the shirt.

Discharge and water base ink usually use 1/6" of an inch for off contact- equal to the thickness of a dime. Off contact for printing plastisol ink is usually 1/8" of an inch- equal to the thickness of a quater. Use a little more than a quarter (two quarters) for printing hoodies and sweatshirts!



Hi, I just want to make a quick correction for in case people are confused about the amount of off-contact…
In the text above, when he says “Off contact distance is usually 1/6” to 1/8" inch depending on…" he actually means 1/16th, not 1/6.

Also, in the text above, he says that the thickness of a dime is 1/16th of an inch, but it’s actually 1/32. And then he says the thickness of a quarter is 1/8th of an inch, but actually the thickness of a quarter is 1/16th.

Sep 14, 2018

Corey Cerqueira :

Hey I’m trying to start a tshirt company what do I need to start and where would I go to get all the supplies?

Sep 12, 2018

Christina Spina:

Discover The Secret 3-Step Amazon Formula & Start Earning Affiliate Commissions On Demand
1.Instantly deploy your new profitable, hands-free Amazon affiliate store.
2.Easily discover the most profitable and viral products to promote.
3.Press one button to build a site that will generate viral traffic and sales on autopilot.



Aug 20, 2018


Hey I’m trying to get a tshirt business started and I need to know what kind of machine I would need

Aug 04, 2018

Shantiah Davis:

Hi, starting out new! What’s the best screen printer to start with and supplies? TIA!

Jul 26, 2018


what kind of paper to use in print to tshirt

Jul 21, 2018

Kaylynn Anderson:

Hey I’m trying to get started on making t shirt and I’m not sure where to start if you could please contact me at thanks in advance

Jul 03, 2018

Debaditya sarkar:

Hello there,
I dont have a screen printing machine..but i want a plastisol screen printing on dark to creat off contact when work only with screen?please help me out.i really need to from india.

May 22, 2018

Andii Me:

Hi where would you suggest to buy a good heat press? And I am verse with photoshop and illustrator do or can you get heat pressers that work in conjunction with these softwares. As in all in one, as in have it connected to your laptop/Computor straight to your heat press at the click of a button? Thank you.

Apr 21, 2018

Leave a comment