STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, families, and organizations in the Birmingham, AL area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Birmingham, AL and throughout the country for over 45 years. We are commited to making the Birmingham, AL t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. We are sure you have more questions about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or place your order by calling us at 636-926-2777 or sending us a message at 636-299-0162 today.
How it Works
Custom t-shirt printing orders can have an enigmatic feel. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite printing shop and, a few days later, you have fresh-pressed, neatly boxed t-shirts on your doorstep or waiting for you at the shop. We wouldn’t blame you if you described it as magic. For those who have never experienced the process, t-shirt printing is a mysterious endeavor. Many of our t-shirt printing customers come to us for special occasions and events, so we understand the excitement that surrounds these shirts. Have you ever wondered about the journey that plain cotton tee has gone through to become the beauty you see hanging in your closet or reflected in the mirror today?
The T-Shirt Printing Process
STEP ONE – Make your order.
You’ve determined you want some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, work group, athletic team, or some other use. You place the order and that is where the Birmingham, AL t-shirt printing journey begins. When you place your shirt order, you will have to choose and specify the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink type and color(s)
- What design will be printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. can give you counsel and help during every step of the t-shirt printing process. Our expert screen printing artists and designers are at your disposal. For assistance in creating the perfect logo or design work with our professional design team. If you want to know which shirt or colors will work best for your needs, we can help with that too.
STEP TWO – We create the screen
After you decide on a design, we go about preparing the screen that will be used to get your design printed on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing team will select the best mesh screen for your order. We then coat that screen with a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. That film we printed your design on is placed on the screen and we expose the screen to light. The design on the film blocks the light from reaching the coated screen in the shape of your design, and the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This produces the stencil.
For designs with more than one color ink, we go through the same process for for each color in the design.
STEP THREE – We print.
Then, it is time to add the ink. T-shirt printing and other screen printing usually uses a special ink called plastisol. Have you ever noticed how, on a printed shirt, you can feel the texture of the design, but it is still soft and flexible? What you are feeling is the plastisol ink. Plastisol is ideal for screen printing because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. We are very careful to line everything up exactly so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We apply ink onto the screen and pull a squeegee from end to end of the screen to smooth and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely to where it shows up nicely and retains the sharp lines in the original design. Lucky for you, our t-shirt printing team has mad skills.
STEP FOUR – The ink cures.
Now your awesome design is on your shirts! But there is still one more step. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. In other words, we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. To do this we have to apply heat to the ink. It takes research and trial and error to perfect the curing process. It is easy to damage the shirt or the print if you use the wrong temperature or cure it for the wrong length of time. We know what we’re doing, though, so you know your prints will come out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
After the ink is cured, it means that your t-shirts are officially printed! We fold them up nicely and hand them off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within only a handful of days. If you need it, ask us about shipping your order to you. And if you are in a jam and need your t-shirts printed even faster, we even offer rush printing services.