STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, families, and businesses in the Charlotte, NC area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Charlotte, NC and throughout the country for over 45 years. We stand out as the t-shirt printing company of choice in the Charlotte, NC area due to our commitment to quality and service to our customers. You may be wondering about our capabilities and services, how we do it, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or begin 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 come with an air of mystery. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite t-shirt printing screen print shop and, a few days later, you have fresh-pressed, neatly boxed t-shirts on your doorstep or waiting for you at the shop. If you want to describe it as magic, we won’t object. 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 – Make your order.
You’ve decided you need to have some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming occassion, work group, sports team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and the Charlotte, NC t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to decide on the:
- Brand, cut, style, material, and color of the shirts
- Ink colors or special effects
- What design will be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. will offer guidance and help during the entire 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. We can also help you select the right shirt and ink colors.
STEP TWO – We create the screen
Once you have created your design, we go about preparing 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 desired end results, our t-shirt printing team will select the best mesh screen to use in printing your shirts. To the screen, we apply a substance called emulsion, which is sensitive to light. That film we printed your design on is placed on the screen and the screen is exposed to light. The design on the film blocks the light from reaching the coated screen in the shape of your design, but the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This creates the stencil.
If your design involves multiple ink colors, we repeat the process above, making a screen for each color in the design.
STEP THREE – We print.
This is where the ink comes in. T-shirt printing and other screen printing usually 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. That’s plastisol for you. Plastisol is ideal for screen printing due to its ability to withstand p washes, move with the flexibility of the fabric, and display 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. We work deliberately to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We add ink onto the screen and use a squeegee from end to end of the screen to smooth and press the ink onto the shirt. We repeat this for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely to where it stays vibrant and retains the sharp lines from your 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! But they aren’t ready to go yet. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. In other words, the ink must be transformed 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 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 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 nicely and hand them off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within only a handful of days. Ask us about having your order shipped to you. And if you are in a jam and need your t-shirts printed even faster, we even offer rush printing services.