STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies for individuals, groups, and organizations in the Cleveland, OH area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Cleveland, OH and throughout the country for over 45 years. We have the Cleveland, OH t-shirt printing abilities and customer service that will make every screen printing order you place a wonderful experience. You may have more questions about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or start 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 screen printer 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 – Place your order.
You know you want to have some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming event, club, athletic team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and that is where the Cleveland, OH t-shirt printing journey begins. When you place your shirt order, you will have to decide on 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 assurance through every step of the t-shirt printing process. Use our professional printers and designers. Need help designing a logo that perfectly captures your vision? You can 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 create the screen
Once you decide on a design, we go about making the screen that will be used to print the design on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing experts will select the best mesh screen for your order. To the screen, we apply a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. 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, and the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This creates the stencil.
If you want a design using multiple 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. What you are feeling is the plastisol ink. It is great because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on a shirt of any color.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We work deliberately to make sure everything is registered and lined up exactly so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We apply ink on top of the screen and pass 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. For designs with more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink just right so it shows up nicely 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! But there is still one more step. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. This means the ink must be transformed into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. To do this we introduce the ink to heat. It takes research and trial and error to perfect the curing process. It is easy 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!
Once the ink is cured, it means that your t-shirts are officially printed! We fold the shirts up nicely and hand the finished product off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within only a few days. Ask us about having your order shipped to you. And if you are in a jam and need your t-shirts ready in a week or less, we even offer rush printing services.