STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, families, and businesses in the Cedar Rapids, IA area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Cedar Rapids, IA and throughout the country for over 45 years. Our Cedar Rapids, IA t-shirt printing abilities and excellent customer service set us apart. We are sure you have more questions about our capabilities and services, how we do it, or how to place your order. Ask us questions or begin your order by giving us a call at 636-926-2777 or sending us a message at 636-299-0162 today.
How it Works
Custom t-shirt printing orders may have an enigmatic feel. You give your order to your favorite t-shirt printing screen print shop and receive a package filled with custom-designed, nicely folded t-shirts a few days later. One might go so far as to call it magic, but we aren’t one to toot our own horn. To the unfamiliar, 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 – Place your order.
You’ve decided you need to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming event, work group, sports team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and the Cedar Rapids, IA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to determine the:
- Shirt brand, style, material, and color
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. will offer counsel and help during every step of the t-shirt printing process. Our professional screen printers and designers are available to help you. For assistance in creating the perfect logo or design work with our professional design team. Our experienced staff can advise you on the best shirt or combination of colors to use for your order.
STEP TWO – We prepare the screen
After you determine your design, we get to work on making the screen that allows us to get your design printed on your shirts. The design is first printed on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen for your order. To the screen, we apply a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. We place the film with your design on it on the screen and we expose the screen to light. Light is blocked from reaching the screen wherever the design is on the film but the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This is how we create the stencil.
If your design involves multiple ink colors, 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. Screen printing such as t-shirt printing typically uses a special ink called plastisol. You might have noticed that the prints on shirts are slightly textured, a little rubbery, but still smooth 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 a shirt of any color.
The screens we made are attached to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. Our t-shirt printing artists take great care to line everything up exactly so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We add ink on top of the screen and use a squeegee across the entire screen to smooth and press the ink onto the shirt. We repeat this for every single t-shirt in your order, and if your design has more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely to where it looks bright 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! We aren’t quite done, though. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. In other words, we have to turn the liquid ink into a solid so it stays on your t-shirts. In order to make this happen we have to apply heat to the ink. Ink curing is a science, and it’s possible to damage the shirt or the print when you don’t use the correct temperature or amount of time. You can rest assured that we have the curing process figured out, so you know your prints will turn out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
After the ink is cured, your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold the shirts up neatly and hand them off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in only a few days. Ask us about having your order shipped to you. If you find your self in a tight spot and need your t-shirts ready in a week or less, use our rush printing services.