STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, families, and organizations in the Columbia, SC area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Columbia, SC and throughout the country for over 45 years. We stand out as the t-shirt printing company of choice in the Columbia, SC area due to our commitment to quality and service to our customers. We are sure you be wondering about our capabilities and services, how we do it, or how to place your order. Ask us questions or place your order by reaching us at 636-926-2777 or sending us a message at 636-299-0162 today.
How it Works
Custom t-shirt printing orders can have an enigmatic feel. 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 – Make your order.
You’ve determined you need to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, school group, sports team, or something else. You place the order and that is where the Columbia, SC t-shirt printing journey begins. When you place your shirt order, you will have to decide on the:
- Brand, cut, style, material, and color of the shirts
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer advice and assurance through the entire t-shirt printing process. Our expert screen printing artists and designers are at your disposal. If you need help coming up with a killer logo or shirt 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
Once you determine your design, we get to work on preparing the screen that allows us 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 photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. That film we printed your design on is placed 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 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.
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 works well 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, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We are very careful to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely 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. 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 shows up nicely 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 there is still one more step. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. In other words, we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. In order 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. 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, your t-shirts are officially printed! We fold the shirts up neatly and pass 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.