What to Know About Screen Printing on Tote Bags

Posted by Ellie Batchiyska on

Summer is a popular time of the year for tote bags, so don’t be surprised if you get an influx of orders for them over the next few months! Screen printing on tote bags isn’t overly complicated, but you’ll want to read through the following helpful tips in order to get the best results for your customers. 


Use Cotton Totes

When you’re sourcing tote bags for your shop you’ll have a wide variety of suppliers and materials to choose from. The quality of your print is important to your customer’s satisfaction, but this also depends on the quality of the bag, too. 

Cotton totes will leave you with the best results and the cleanest prints. In general, cotton is the easiest fabric to screen print on, so you’ll be happy to find out that quality cotton totes are widely available. 


Print with Pre-Burned Screens

Using pre-burned screens for your prints will result in higher-quality images. Especially when you’re printing on thicker materials like you often find with totes, you’ll want to use a screen that allows for high-resolution printing. Conveniently, this is a major benefit that pre-burned screens offer. 

Our Standard 20” x 24” pre-burned screen is the perfect size for screen printing on tote bags. These durable screens last for 3,000 pulls, producing clear and progressive prints for your customers such as gradients, half-tones, fine lines, and other intricate designs–things that wouldn’t be possible with conventional mesh screens. 


Do the Proper Prep Work

Before you start printing on the tote bag, make sure to do all the necessary preparation so the bag is clean and ready for printing. This is a similar step for printing on any garment, so don’t overlook it when you’re printing on totes. 

Remove any lint or dust from the surface and secure it down to the press before you get started. If the bag shifts during the printing process, dirt or other contaminants are present on the surface of the tote bag, or any other mishaps occur, you’ll likely end up with poor-quality prints that you can’t turn over to customers. 


Invert the Image

A common mistake that screen printers make when printing on totes is that they forget to invert the image on the screen. This is because you invert the tote into the press opposite to how you’d insert a t-shirt. So, be aware of this difference to avoid making costly mistakes and having your image come out upside-down. 


Do a Few Test Prints

Like with any other garment or item you’re printing on for the first time, doing a few test prints can ensure you’re getting a quality print that your customers will be pleased with. This allows you to make adjustments to your printing techniques early on rather than after you’ve completed all the totes. 

For those who haven’t printed on tote bags before, this will give you a good opportunity to try it out and see how similar it is to screen printing on other garments.

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