STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the Columbia, MO area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Columbia, MO and throughout the country for over 45 years. We have the Columbia, MO t-shirt printing abilities and customer service that will make every screen printing order you place a wonderful experience. You may be wondering about what we can do for you, how we do it, or how to place your order. Ask us questions 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
Placing a custom t-shirt printing order may have an enigmatic feel. 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 some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming occassion, club, athletic team, or some other use. You contact your shop to place the order and the Columbia, MO t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to choose and specify the:
- Shirt brand, style, material, and color
- Ink type and color(s)
- The design you want printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer advice and assurance through the entire t-shirt printing process. Our professional screen printers and designers are available to help you. If you need help coming up with a killer logo or shirt 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
Once you have created your design, we get to work on 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 desired end results, our t-shirt printing staff 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 is how we create 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.
Now we are ready for 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 due to its ability to withstand p washes, move with the flexibility of the fabric, and display vibrantly on a shirt of any color.
We then secure the screens to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We are very careful to make sure everything is registered and lined up exactly so we know that your design will end up in the right place 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. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt in your order. For designs with multiple colors, 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 retains the sharp lines in the original design. Lucky for you, our t-shirt printing team has mad skills.
STEP FOUR – The ink cures.
The ink is now on your shirts! We aren’t quite done, though. The ink goes on as a thick liquid, but in order to stay on the shirt, it has to be cured. This means the ink must be transformed into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. To do this we have to apply heat to the ink. Ink curing is a science, and it’s 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!
Once the ink is cured, your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold them up neatly and hand them off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within 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, use our rush printing services.