STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the Costa Mesa, CA area. For almost 50 years, members of the Costa Mesa, CA community and beyond have counted on us for all of their screen printing and embroidery needs. We are commited to making the Costa Mesa, CA t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. You may have more questions about what we can do for you, how we do it, or how to place your order. Ask us questions or begin 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 may seem a bit mysterous. You give your 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. We wouldn’t blame you if you described it as magic. 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 know you need some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming occassion, club, sports team, or some other use. You place the order and the Costa Mesa, CA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to decide on the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. can give you counsel and support 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. 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 have created your design, we get to work on preparing the screen that will be used to print the design on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Depending on the specifics of your order, 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 the screen is exposed to light. Light is blocked from reaching the screen wherever the design is on the film and 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.
This is where the ink comes in. T-shirt printing and other screen 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. It is great due to its ability to withstand p washes, move with the flexibility of the fabric, and display vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
We then secure the 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 that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We add ink on top of the screen and pass a squeegee from end to end of the screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt in your order, and if your design has several colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! But they aren’t ready to go yet. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. This means the ink must be transformed into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. In order to make this happen we introduce the ink to heat. 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!
After the ink is cured, your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, 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. If you find your self in a tight spot and need your t-shirts printed even faster, use our rush printing services.