interested in comprehensive designing kit for t-shirts, caps, and coffee cups

GMartin used Ask the Experts™
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

            Throughout the past, I have networked out to online companies whenever I wanted a coffee cup made or a  t-shirt customized for someone special on their birthday or as a special gift for Christmas,  Recently, I have been wondering how nice it would be if I could simply do it myself from home which brings me to this upcoming question.  Can a kit complete with the needed hardware and software be purchased which would allow a novice individual like me custom design t-shirts, caps, cups, plates, and so forth from home?  If so, could someone perhaps provide an online purchase link or links so I can review the components of such a comprehensive kit?

              Thanks so much in advance for any attention given to this question.  I look forward to reviewing any and all feedback given in reply to this question.

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silk screen diy kit
Principal Software Engineer
Considering the investment in good screen printing equipment (and there's no point in buying anything other than good equipment, because cheap stuff makes unusable products) ... I'd say have it done by a one-off shop on the internet, rather than investing a couple hundred bucks to a couple thousand in equipment that'll take up space and not be used very often.

Yes, one can go to the store and buy an unprinted t-shirt for $8 and print it, rather than having a one-off shop inkjet print it for $25.  That's a $17 difference.  If one invests $300 in a very minimal screen printing rig, you'd need to do 15 items to reach the break-even point.  This discounts the cost of plastisol t-shirt ink at $40 per one pint of a single color (hobby type "poster" ink is just extra-fine tempera.)  Plus the whirligig press which is necessary to get shirt registration right, and the drying oven to polymerize the plastisol ink.

Coffee cups?  Can't screen print them at home; the screen printing equipment to do curved surfaces is very expensive.  There is, however, a transfer film which can be used to do coffee cups from an inkjet printer ... but it's expensive except when bought by the box, and that puts you back in the "I'll break even someday" situation.  And the result is fugitive (i.e., non-permanent) for reds and yellows.

As for sandblast ... even if you've got a sandblaster, the photosensitive resist is $15 for a single 8.5.x11 sheet.

For this kind of thing I let the professionals do it.  Only when it's ten items or more do I sheepishly go see my friend the printing instructor and say "Can we set up to do this sometime?"
I answered your question but I agree with Dr Klahn.
Perhaps the best bet is to do your own artwork and ship out the files to folks who will do the rest.
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Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

          I apologize for the lengthy delay in getting back to this post.  Work has been hectic lately and leaving me wiped out when I get home.  At any rate, I went over everyone's shared input and links.  As always, I deeply appreciate everyone's shared feedback and research.  It always means a lot.

           With respect to what I decided, I will simply stick with continuing to order neat customized merchandise which catches my eye as opposed to customizing my own.  It seems like it will be the most affordable and easiest approach to go with.

           Thanks again, everyone, for your help :-)

Thank you. Good luck on the venture.

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