Choosing the Right Platen for Printing Kids' Tees

When screen printing on kids' tees, selecting the correct platen size is crucial to achieve high-quality prints. For those using an older model of the Riley Hopkins JR. Screen Printing Press (4 Color 1 Station), adapting your setup to accommodate smaller garments can seem challenging. However, with a few strategic steps, you can create custom platens that meet your needs.

Step-by-Step Guide to Determining Platen Size

  1. Create Cardboard Templates: Start by cutting out platen shapes from heavy cardboard. These templates should be sized to handle multiple children's shirt sizes. A slight stretch in the garment is acceptable as it allows flexibility in usage across different sizes.
  2. Test for Fit: Place the cardboard templates on various kids' tees to ensure they fit well. This process helps you confirm the dimensions before committing to a final design.
  3. Order Custom Platens: Once you have the correct dimensions, you can order custom-sized platens. Removing and attaching these to your existing pallet holders as needed will save you from purchasing multiple platens.

DIY Platens: A Cost-Effective Solution

For those looking to save costs, making your own platens is a viable option. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Acquire the Bracket: Purchase a Riley Hopkins bracket, which is essential for attaching the platen to your press.
  2. Select the Wood: Use 3/4" plywood, MDO (Medium Density Overlay), or particle board. These materials are sturdy and provide a smooth printing surface.
  3. Prepare the Wood: If possible, visit a local cabinet shop to source waste materials from countertops. The laminate on these scraps offers a great, smooth surface ideal for screen printing.
  4. Shape the Platens: Cut the wood to your desired size. Make sure to round the corners for easy placement and removal of the shirts.
  5. Attach the Bracket: Secure the Riley Hopkins bracket to your custom-cut platen, ensuring it is firmly attached.

Video Tutorials and Further Assistance

For those needing visual guidance, various video tutorials are available online. Look for content that demonstrates the process of making platens, attaching brackets, and testing for fit. These resources can provide step-by-step instructions and valuable tips.

If you have additional questions or need further assistance, visit our YouTube Channel for detailed videos, follow our tech blog for more insights, or reach out to us locally in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Adapting your screen printing press for kids' tees is a manageable task with the right approach. By creating cardboard templates, testing for fit, and either ordering custom platens or making your own, you can efficiently expand your printing capabilities. Follow these steps to ensure your platen setup is versatile and cost-effective.

May 24th 2024 Jee Comendador

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