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Quick Tips for Loading a Shirt Perfectly Every Time

You might think that when it comes to screen printing, you simply place the shirt on the platen and follow up with inking it. Well, unfortunately it is not that simple, and loading a shirt perfectly takes skills that need consistent practice. Once you’ve learned this skill and really get into the rhythm of loading a shirt, you’ll end up feeling like a pro.


It is important to properly prep your work area before getting started on loading shirts onto the press. We suggest that you have a table or a cart nearby (preferably next to you) that can hold the stack of shirts you are planning on printing.

Center Creases

When pulling shirts out of the box, shirts appear to have what we like to call, a center crease. While it is not a center line, it will work as a starting point. Be aware and make sure you do not make the mistake of using this crease as the true center of the shirt when loading!

“Rocking Motion”

This is a fairly popular method for loading shirts. You pick up the shirt from the bottom, placing your fingers on the side seams and make the fabric tight between your hands. Once this step is fulfilled, you “rock” the shirt forward onto the platen. As you “rock back,” pull your hands with your body and then tug on the shirt’s shoulder seams to ensure it is centered.

Finally, “The Pedal”

Now, we know that the process for loading a shirt is going to be the same for an automatic press and manual press, however the pedal feature on an auto will increase the speed. The pedal presses will allow you to load a shirt, and then once you have that rocking motion down for loading you are going to incorporate the pedal. As you begin the rocking forward motion, you are going to press your foot down on the pedal causing the press to pause. Once you lift your foot it will allow the arms to swing you over to the open platen!

Here at BOLT Screen Printing we pride ourselves in creating quality custom apparel that brings your vision to life. We have assembled a team of professionals, who strive to understand your goals and assist you with out of the box advertising and branding techniques. We combine our knowledge of all things apparel with your project goals in order to provide killer gear and a stress-free experience.

With an ambition to create premium quality vintage threads, Bolt was born. From our passion of creating the best clothing for our clothing store Opolis and our customers expressing the desire to see their designs on our high-quality apparel we knew the next step would be to open Bolt. After being in the industry for over 13 years, we've perfected the process of turning amazing ideas into even better results. Contact us today by emailing us at, or giving us a call at 405-493-9557!

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