What I Learned Creating the Ultimate Screen Printing Kit

by Dustin Lee July 15, 2014

If you're a RetroSupply member you probably know that we're finally releasing The Ultimate Screen Print Kit this week (tomorrow actually!)

In the process of creating this pack I've talked to a lot of people and learned a lot.

Here's some of the work I did to create The Ultimate Screen Print Kit:

  • Purchased $856 worth of screen printing gear.
  • Screen printed my own posters (even thought the kit is designed to help you create convincing digital mock-ups of screen prints I wanted to understand the process).
  • Talked extensively with the guys at SilkScreeningSupplies to get a better understanding of the process.
  • Burned 3 screens the wrong way and had to start over.
  • Worked with talented designers like Rob Brink to bring you great extras with this kit.

Perhaps the most useful thing I learned while making the kit is about common misunderstanding about screen print effects.

Here's what I learned:

Screen Printing Doesn't Have a Lot of Texture. 

You know how on screen printed posters and t-shirts you see some really amazing textures? Well, those don't typically come from the screen printing process. In fact, most of the distressed textures you see are the result of textures that were burned into the screens. 

This was REALLY hard for me to believe. In fact, I had to ask a few different screen printers multiple times in multiple ways. Because I didn't believe it. 

Note: Textures can be achieved in screen printing. You just have to try really hard to mess up! So that's exactly what I did. The Ultimate Screen Printing Kit includes real distressed screen print textures I pulled myself : ) See below for one of the totally distressed ones : )


Planning is your friend. To get a really amazing screen print effect you need to plan your work out carefully.

It's important to carefully consider:

  • The order of layers
  • Color combinations
  • Potential consequences/awesomeness of misregistration

I realized really quickly that creating a great piece of work isn't going to happen from just dropping your work into The Ultimate Screen Printing Kit PSD file. You need to experiment. The Ultimate Screen Printing Kit isn't for everyone. If you want instant results by just dropping one file in this isn't the kit for you.

But if you want a ready-to-use tool kit that makes it easy to add your layers and start tweaking you're going to love this kit!

Here's something I created in about 5 minutes using two colors. Check out these details in the image below:

  • Distressed texture on the sides form the screen pull
  • Halftones (created by professional screen printer Rob Brink)
  • Subtle shades in ink (from pressure variations in the pull)

It takes a lot of time, money and practice to create great work. 

Here's what it takes to get started:

  • An investment of at least $200 for the very basic equipment (we're talking bare bones here).
  • A dedicated space to burn screens, store your gear, print and hang your work to dry.
  • Lots of time to practice. It's easy to start screen printing. It's a lifetime journey to master it.

If you're a busy designer or don't have a basement or garage to set up as a studio The Ultimate Screen Print Kit is a great way to create some excellent screen print effects digitally. It's a small fraction of the cost of a studio and you'll get some great digital results. 

P.S. I'll be opening the cart for The Ultimate Screen Printing Kit tomorrow morning. Keep an eye on your inbox. I'll be offering a n Early Bird Discount for the first buyers : )

Dustin Lee
Dustin Lee


1 Response


August 09, 2014

Hi Dustin, I have a typical DIY set up for my screen printing. I use the garage, the laundry, the dining room table. I expose my own screens in the sun and absolutely love the process. I’ve got it down to a fine art now and have minimal re-works on screen exposures. My art work is fairly basic, one and two colour prints. Great for the basic home ware products I sell at markets here in AUS.

T from designed to a T

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