How to Perfect Screen Printing on Hats

Using screen printing to put images on wholesale hats is a popular way to customize them for different purposes. While putting screen-printed details on hats seems simple, there are many tips you can use to get the best results for the image and the hats you have chosen. Here are some of the best ways our team at The Adair Group has found to perfect screen printing on hats.

printing on red cap

Source: Africa Studio/

Choose the Right Type of Hats

Some types of hats are more suitable for screen printing than others. The optimal hats for screen printing have a surface that can be laid flat for easier printing, like unstructured or foam hats. Five-panel hats can also be used for screen printing. You can typically find these types of hats sold along with bulk t-shirts and other printable items so you can see what options are available for displaying your images. 

Different styles of hats have different-sized printing areas, so you must take into account the size of the area you need for your image. Foam-front caps have the most printable area with an average space of 4 x 8.75 inches. Full-front crown-style caps have a slightly smaller printable area at 4 x 6.5 inches, and low crown caps have an area measuring roughly 3 x 5.75 inches. Visors’ print area averages 2.75 x 6.5 inches.

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Go Easy on the Ink

The materials that are used to make hats are less absorbent than the materials to make t-shirts, so a little bit of ink can go a long way. When you are designing an image to be screen printed on a hat, use only a few colors and allow ink-free spaces in the image to increase its chances of appearing sharp and readable. If a designer is helping you come up with the image, they will be able to give you some tips on how to make sure it’s legible. 

portrait woman wearing custom hat

Source: Geartooth Productions/

Keep the Design Compact

Artwork that will be screen printed on a hat must be more compact than a design used on a t-shirt due to the limited amount of room on the hat for printing. For this reason, small designs with solid shapes tend to work best for hat printing. If you are doing a hat/shirt combination, the design for the shirt can usually be recreated as a similar, smaller design for placement on the hat. 

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Curved Cap Printing May Require Warped Designs

If you are using screen printing on a type of hat that cannot be easily laid flat, there is a curved printing technique you can use to mark the image on the hat, but the design will have to be different. Certain shapes drawn flat become distorted when printed curved, so the solution is to warp the images in the drawing phase so that they come out properly in the printed phase. Warping the images by hand may be difficult, but professional printing operations have the equipment and experience to get the job done right. 

Consider Additional Decorative Options

There are many decorative options you can use on screen-printed hats to enhance the overall design. These may include using glittery or metallic inks, adding embroidery or using puffy or jeweled designs with the printed image. Various printing service providers may offer different possibilities, so be sure to ask a designer or check out their website for additional options before finalizing your design. 

red glitter spilled

Source: Rob Byron/

Screen Printing Hats Is Fun and Affordable

Keeping these tips in mind will help you get the best results for your screen-printed hats. Any professional printing company will be able to help you choose the best designs and colors to make your hat-printing efforts a successful endeavor. Then you can give the hats to employees, customers or anyone else with pride, knowing that you have represented your business well in a fun and unique way. At The Adair Group, we have all the wholesale hats, wholesale hoodies, bulk T-shirts and more that you need for your next printing project!

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