Where to buy t-shirts wholesale for screen printing?
July 16, 2010 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Hi friends! So, I was wondering if anyone knows how/where to purchase wholesale packs of blank t-shirts? I'm an artist, and I've been gifted a box of screens for screen printing. As the demands rise I would like to find a way to buy shirts in larger quantities but I'm not sure how to go about it.

Thanks for your help!

P.S. I've
posted by wild like kudzu to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What's your definition of bulk? Tens, hundreds, thousands?

Here's a site selling them for $1.35 each
posted by Think_Long at 11:24 AM on July 16, 2010

Not your question specifically, but if quality matters, Alternative Apparel (not to be confused with American Apparel), does the finest T-shirts for bulk printing purposes, as well as individual purchase.
posted by Dragonness at 11:31 AM on July 16, 2010

A screenprinter I knew contacted big stores and any clothing manufacturers and bought their defects/seconds in huge bags for a few bucks a pop. Most of the shirts were perfectly usable and the rest were good for test runs etc.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:33 AM on July 16, 2010

You might want to look into getting a wholesaler's license. I'm not really sure about the details, but some wholesalers won't give you the cheapest prices unless you have one.
posted by radioamy at 11:37 AM on July 16, 2010

You could also apply for a wholesale account with American Apparel.
posted by val5a at 11:59 AM on July 16, 2010

Where are you located? There is probably a place local to you.

When I lived in NC I used Carolina Made near Charlotte.

S&S Activewear was another with good online ordering and pretty cheap shipping. Also case pricing on any quantity.

You might want to look into getting a wholesaler's license.

When they ask for your EIN just use your social security number, same thing.
posted by bradbane at 12:45 PM on July 16, 2010

I get all my stuff from http://blankshirts.com/

website's in my profile if you're interested
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:56 PM on July 16, 2010

The most common mills are Anvil, Gildan, Hanes, Jerzees, and Fruit of the Loom. If you want something cheap these brands are they way to go. Usually their websites will indicate who they distribute through. Some options for distributors would be Alpha, Sanmar, and the aforementioned S&S Activewear. You will need to set up an account.

Of course there are the higher end tees; American Apparel, Alternative Apparel, and some lesser known brands at the distributors. It really just depends how much you're willing to spend and how fashion conscious you want to be.
posted by fancypance at 3:58 PM on July 16, 2010

I'm in school for printmaking right now, and I just wanted to ask you a tactical question before you invest to much money: Have you every done any serious, large amounts of screenprinting before?

If you have, disregard the rest of this post. But you say that you have just received a box of screens as a present, and that makes me think that maybe you have never done this before. If I am correct and you haven't, please keep in mind that screenprinting large amounts of t-shirts is going to take a more equipment (and more expensive equipment) than just some screens. Printing a few t-shirts with just some screens is not a problem. Printing more than a dozen, especially if you are printing more than one color, you will need a t-shirt printing machine so that you don't need to readjust registration on EVERY SINGLE SHIRT. Oh my god, that gives me a headache just thinking about it. Also, you will need to heat set all of the shirts after printing. How are you planning to burn the screens? Do you have a light table? Have you ever used emulsion before? Using a stencil on more than a dozen t-shirts is going to make for a messy design. Do you have the space to handle that many shirts with wet ink?

I'm not trying to kill your dreams or question your competency. Everyone starts somewhere, and dreaming big is good. I'm just suggesting that you head on down to target and pick up a 6-pack of hanes t-shirts and see how you like printing t-shirts before you blow a few hundred on t-shirts, especially if you have never done any screenprinting and/or don't have a screenprinting studio area set up. I wish you the best of luck.
posted by emilyclaire at 7:19 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

BuyWholesaleTshirts.com has a very large selection of brands, colors, styles, and materials with no minimum purchase requirement. The site might look a little scammy/suspect, but I've placed several orders with them over the last few years and everything has always gone well, even when I screwed up an order and had to call to fix it.

They also have a lot of non-shirt choices if you want to do hats or totebags or something to switch it up.
posted by phunniemee at 11:06 PM on July 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys! I'll look into some of these options. Also, emilyclaire, I have actually made and sold batches of t-shirts before. Sure, it's hard and unpredictable and it takes over my entire apartment, but I make it happen, and I think it's fun. So far I'm just selling the shirts by word of mouth, so I'm not going to be buying 100s of shirts and distributing them to stores, but I have enough demand to make an investment. Anyway, thanks again for your advice guys!
posted by wild like kudzu at 10:55 PM on July 18, 2010

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