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My 5 Fav Screen-Printing Tools

My 5 Fav Screen-Printing Tools

| Kyndra Bailey
5 for 5! Today I'm sharing 5 tools that I keep by my side during screen-printing, besides the obvious things like ink, squeegees, etc.

Kyn you even believe it?? KYBI is almost FIVE YEARS OLD. I’m not crying – you’re crying! 😭

5 feels like a pretty big milestone, so you knowwww I’m going all out with All The Things like usual (cake, balloons, candles, a birthday collection) but I’m also adding a 5 for 5 blog series into the mix!

This is blog 4 of 5 in the “5 for 5 series,” where I’ll be posting a blog with “5 things [xyz]” every week leading up to the biz birthday.

This week is pretty niche the way week 2 was; the content of this series overall has been geared towards business owners, but I’d like to think anyone can take a little something away from each week if they look close enough. That said, this particular blog won’t interest you unless you have one thing in mind: screen-printing.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been screen-printing for KYBI since October of 2020. I was delusional about wanting to learn how to make high-quality apparel myself, and it’s been a long learning curve since then. 3+ years later, and I can confidently call myself a screen-printer!

When I got started with screen-printing, I learned about all the regular tools and equipment that you need – ink, screens, squeegees – but along the way, I’ve also discovered a long list of tools that no one ever really recommended to me but I wish they would have.

With that said, this blog is centered around my 5 screen-printing favorite tools that no one ever told me I needed, but things would’ve been a lot easier if they had! FYI – I’m ordering this list in the order they get used during the screen-printing process, because I don’t want to pick favorites. 🙂 Let’s get to it.

Frog tape

In screen-printing, you go through A LOT of tape. You have to use it to block off any spots along the edge where you don’t want ink to go through. The tape thing isn’t a new concept by any means, but I’d like to think I found the best solution for it overall: painters tape! This Frog Tape specifically.

Traditional screen-printing tape is finicky to work with and SO expensive per roll. Packing tape works okay, but its adhesive doesn’t hold up too well when you have to get chemicals involved. A few years ago, I discovered that this frog tape was great at blocking out ink that’s being pushed over it, and it’s easy to work with (i.e. you can just tear it with your hands). The best part? The adhesive holds up against all the ink degraders I’ve used, so if I ever want to leave my tape on the screens between print-jobs, I 100% can.

Get a 3-pack of frog tape here.

Spatulas, these specifically

Can I make a confession to y’all? I owe my mom about 4-5 mini spatulas. (Sorry, mom.) I borrowed them from her when I first started screen-printing, and safe to say – they were never returned. (She probably wouldn’t have want them back anyways considering that they were covered in ink.)

Those spatulas had wooden handles, which I HATED. They were so hard to clean and dry. I ordered a new set of fully-plastic spatulas shortly after, and they were nice, but they were super flimsy and hard to use with my inks.

Eventually, I discovered these spatulas on Amazon, and I never looked back. They’re completely silicone & plastic, which means they’re easy to wipe down and dry, but the spatula part itself is sturdy and picks up a TON of ink. The best part? These spatulas have curved lips which help you get to the very base of your container and scrape out anything along the edge. I bought 1 pack of these over 2 years ago, and each one is still going strong.

Quick side note: I do like these official screen-printing spatulas too, but they are a bit cumbersome to use and not to mention – expensive for what they are. If you’re eyeing up a spatula like this, I’d recommend buying 1-2 then using everyday kitchen spatulas for the rest of your printing.

Get a 6 pack of my favorite spatulas here.


Another broken sense of humor TikTok reference for ya: “I wouldn’t wish that upon my greatest enemy, unless of course, we’re talking about my enemy, Gwyneth Paltrow that random piece of string that made its way onto my printing surface.”

If you’ve ever screen-printed, you probably know what I’m talking about here, but if you don’t, let me explain. Clothing is covered with more lose pieces of fiber, yarn, etc than you probably realize. These loose pieces have a silly way of getting stuck to screens during the screen-printing process, and once they do, they like to… personalize your print.

Meaning: you can do a pass over your screen with a squeegee, but that ink won’t touch whatever you’re printing – it’ll just print onto the string/fiber/whatever, and when you lift that screen, there will be a tiny ink-less spot that matches the exact shape of the string/fiber/whatever.

TBH, it’s kinda neat that screen-printing can be so exact, but it definitely gets old pretty quick. Tweezers are the best thing I’ve found to remove these pesky stray clothing elements without causing a mess of ink on your hands or the screen. It’s such a small tool to have on hand, but seriously, they’re a life saver!

I recommend crafting tweezers over traditional tweezers, as they have a longer handle, and that can be useful when you’re printing ink-heavy designs. I have these, but any kind will do!


I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t purchase an apron for screen-printing until Amaya wanted to learn screen-printing and I realized she was going to start having a lot of clothes ruined, because I’VE had a lot of clothes ruined. I’ll be irresponsible with my own belongings any day, but add someone else’s belongings into the mix, and I had ordered a set of 2 aprons that same day.

Just like when you’re painting a wall and ink splatters get into more places that you realize, the same thing happens with screen-printing. I can’t tell you how much stray ink has made its way onto my clothes. And since this ink is quite literally made for clothes, it almost never washes out. I like to tell myself that they’re not ruined, they’re just, uh, personalized. :)

That said, this isn’t much of an issue anymore. I wear an apron every time I screen-print now, and my clothes are so thankful for it. I love these that we have because they’re cute and have two very nice pockets. Linked here!

Cleaning Gloves

So now we’re at the point in the list where we’re past the printing stage and we’ve made it to clean-up. Besides all the billions of chemicals you have to use during cleaning, there is one thing I think everyone should be using that no one talks about: cleaning gloves.

All the degraders and clean-up supplies I use are “better for you and safe for the environment,” but I can also tell you that every single one of them dries out my hands and weakens my nails big time. This isn’t necessarily a red flag for them, but it’s also not a green one, and the day I started wearing gloves during clean-up or screen reclaiming was the day my hands started saying thank you. (Plus, if you know me, I like to keep my nails painted, and these keep them looking fresh!)

Get a 2-pack of cleaning gloves here.

Bonus: Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Okay, we’ve made it past number 5, but there is one more thing I’d be remiss not to mention. This is only applicable if you take the traditional screen-printing route of emulsion, so if you use vinyl to make your stencils, don’t worry about this one!

If you’ve ever reclaimed a screen, you know you have to use a pressure washer, and those things get LOUD. I know we all want to be cool and not use earplugs, etc, but I can’t stress just how important noise cancelling headphones are when you’re reclaiming screens, especially a bunch back-to-back!

I bought these ear muffs mid-2023, and I really wish I would’ve bought them sooner. It makes the pressure washer so quiet, and I can even listen to my airpods underneath them, so that’s a major plus. I lived without these for a couple of years, but now I won’t reclaim screens without them, and I know my eardrums won’t be suffering down the line.

Get my pair here.

No matter where you are on your screen-printing journey, I hope this blog was useful to you! If I missed anything, be sure to comment them down below. 3+ years into this whole screen-printing thing, and I’m still making new discoveries every month. :)

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