Screen Printing Frames

Your Stop for Name Brand Screen Printing Frames

Screens are made by stretching a piece of mesh over a frame, which consist of a variety of materials. The most well-known materials are wood, aluminum and innovative frame systems like Trax Screen. Finding a sturdy frame with the right tension is one of the most important roles in the printing of an image.


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Why Choose Garston for Your Screen Printing Frames?

affordable pricing

Affordable Prices

After starting strictly as a sign business, we’ve progressed into screen printing, and we still offer the most honest, low prices for all of our screen printing supplies.

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Customer Satisfaction

Here at Garston, we take the time and effort to find the screen printing supplies you desperately need for your project or print shop. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we’ll point you in the right direction.

screen printing supplies

Name Brand Products

Having a Screen Printing business can be expensive. That’s why we price our products at a low, affordable rate. We also supply most of our products in bulk, saving you more in the long-run. Can’t find what you need? Reach out to us!

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Types of Screen Printing Frames

Using heavy frames can cause premature wear on textile presses, and fatigue on printers for extensive print runs. That’s why some choose Aluminum frames, which are lighter than wood frames. They can be used to stretch a variety of mesh, resist corrosion and durable.

Screen printing wood frames are typically inexpensive, and hold only a limited amount of tension for printing cycles.

Trax screens are an innovative screen system that are quick and easy to use. With these frames, mesh panels are sewn into locking strips and a stretching tool. No glue, no equipment and no experience is needed for this frame type.

How To Select the Right Screen Printing Frame Material

Before you impulsively purchase a screen printing frame, it’s best to understand the pros and cons of each.

Wood Frames: Frames On A Budget

The best part about wood screen printing frames happens to be it’s price point. Compared to aluminum, steel or trax screens, wooden frames are either mostly used by beginner screen printers, businesses just starting out or those who want to quickly and cheaply stock up on frames. They can be used for projects of any size – simple prints, large prints or ones that don’t need precision without sacrificing the quality of the print.

There are a few drawbacks as well. Most wooden screen printing frames lack durability and strength. It’s a possibility that the frame could be warped coming straight out of the box. This is due to the tension from the screen. Because it’s wooden, it will inevitably deteriorate over time, not only due to the nature of the product but the exposure of chemicals and water. They are also usually heavier than its aluminum counterparts.

By understanding what kind of job you’re working on, a wooden frame has the possibility of working out for a lower price, saving you money on supplies.  

screen printing wood frame
direct to garment printer

Aluminum Frames: Maximized Performance

Compared to a wooden frame, aluminum frames supply durability and longevity. When exposed to solvent and water in a washout booth or tank, the aluminum is less likely to warp. By being resistant to warping, this frame type will last longer, stay flatter and last through thousands of prints.

If you need to remove the mesh and the glue from the frame, it’s possible and won’t damage the aluminum at all. After cleaning aluminum frames, you’ll be able to re-stretch them, giving them the long-lasting tag they’re well-known for. They’re also light weight, making transporting them easier and the shipping rates on these frames will save you more money than wood frames.

If you want a screen printing frame that will maximize your performance in the shop, these are the perfect solution. The material makes them more durable, letting you re-use them for years, and they’ll last through multiple washes.

Trax Screens: Ease of Use

Re-stretchable frame systems are an innovative, easy to use products on the screen printing market. When it comes to re-stretching your screens, the process can take as little as 2 minutes.

Instead of having problems with cleaning and prepping, you’ll worry less about waiting out the starting and drying process. They’re not put together with cheap mesh or de-laminating glue, giving you more peace of mind when removing or washing your mesh. Trax screens come with a reusable square sided frame, stretching tool and a pack of mesh insert panels.

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Screen Printing Frames FAQ

Why Is Aluminum the Frame of Choice?

Aluminum is the most sought after frame choice for screen printing because it’s unaffected by water. It’s much stronger, lighter and durable than wood or steel. It has a high value, but the use you get out of it makes up for the price tag.

What Causes a Screen Mesh to Rip Off The Frame?

There are a few different reasons why your mesh isn’t staying properly on your frame.

  • You could be printing too close to the inner edge. It’s best to double-check that you have clearance around your image and to use the correct size squeegee.
  • It’s possible you have an air gap between the bottom of the screen (the print side) and the top of the item you’re using. The air gap shouldn’t be large, this will cause the squeegee to push the mesh down.
  • There could be certain inks or solvents (acetone, MEK, lacquer thinner, haze removers) interfering with your frame.
  • It could simply also come down to the way you’re handling the screen. Making sure everything is properly in place before you begin.

What Size Frame Do I Need?

The size of your frame will be determined by what size your image is. You can make a judgement call by taking the size of your image and adding approximately 6-8 inches. This will give you the inside measurement of the frame, then add the thickness of the frame bar. You’ll need to double the measurement because there’s two sides to the frame. This general measurement will give you a minimum size for the frame you need.

Then you can look through the selection available and choose a size that’s the best match or close enough to your measurement.

How Long Does a Frame Last?

If you take care of your aluminum or wooden frame the correct way, it can last for years. Here’s a few practices that will help keep them useable:

  • Clean your frame thoroughly after every print job
  • For storing unused wooden screens, only store them in airtight container (this could also be heavy duty trash bags) to help them avoid warping from humidity.  
  • Handle your screens and the entire frame with care.

How Do You Use Blockout Tape On a Frame?

You can use blackout tape to cover the edges of your frame, on both the inside and outside. This will protect the uncoated edges of the screen, and keep ink and solvents from seeping into the frame and glued areas.

What Do I Do If Two Frames are Stuck Together?

When you receive your screen printing frames, you could come across some of them stuck together. Separating the frames inside the box or with too much force is unnecessary. Instead, take them out of the box together. Don’t pull them apart, but simply tap them on the floor gently at a slight angle. This tactic should separate the frames without further causing damage.

What’s The Best Screen Printing Frame to Use With a Manual Press?

You can essentially use any screen printing frame with a manual press including wood, aluminum or retension, but it needs to have a tight screen. You can alter a wood screen to be tight, but it won’t always hold. Most fabric (mesh) will relax over time, so you need to have a frame with a good tensioning process.

If there’s no way to tension your screen, then you’ll have a soft screen and this can be difficult to print with. This is especially bad for using white ink. If you have a soft screen and you try using white ink, it’ll be difficult to go through the screen and it’ll have a hard time registering.

Garston, Sign Screen & Digital

Honest, Fair Prices On All Frames

Here at Garston, we always believe in putting our clients first and supplying them with the best screen printing supplies available. That’s why we stock some of the most well-known screen printing frames in the industry

We’ve been in this business for decades, and we understand the amount of time and effort you put into your lifelong hobby or print shop. Having the most efficient, reliable frames is what you can count on when you work with Garston.

Have a question about our screen printing frames? Don’t hesitate to contact us! You can reach us at 800-966-9626.