STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and organizations in the Chesapeake, VA area. For almost 50 years, members of the Chesapeake, VA community and beyond have counted on us for all of their screen printing and embroidery needs. Our Chesapeake, VA t-shirt printing abilities and excellent customer service set us apart. We are sure you be wondering about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or place 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 can seem a bit mysterous. 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. One might go so far as to call it magic, but we aren’t one to toot our own horn. 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 – Place your order.
You’ve decided you want some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming event, school group, sports team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and the Chesapeake, VA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to choose and specify the:
- Brand, cut, style, material, and color of the shirts
- Ink type and color(s)
- The design you want printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. can give you guidance and assurance through 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. If you want to know which shirt or colors will work best for your needs, we can help with that too.
STEP TWO – We make the screen
After you decide on a design, we get to work on preparing the screen that will be used to print the design on your shirts. The design is first printed on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your desired end results, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen for your order. We then coat that screen with a substance called emulsion, which is sensitive to light. We place the film with your design on it on the screen and the screen is exposed 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 creates 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.
Now we are ready for the ink. Screen printing such as t-shirt printing typically 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? That’s plastisol for you. Plastisol works well for screen printing because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
The screens we made are attached to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. We are very careful to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We apply ink onto the screen and use 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, and if your design has multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink just right so it looks bright and keeps 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. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. In other words, we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. To make this happen 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 turn out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
Once the ink is cured, your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold them up nicely and pass them off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in just 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, check out our rush printing services.