STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, families, and organizations in the Des Moines, IA area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Des Moines, IA and throughout the country for over 45 years. We stand out as the t-shirt printing company of choice in the Des Moines, IA area due to our commitment to quality and service to our customers. You may have more questions about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or place your order by reaching us at 636-926-2777 or sending us a message at 636-299-0162 today.
How it Works
Placing a custom t-shirt printing order can seem a bit mysterous. You give your order to your favorite printing shop and receive a package filled with custom-designed, nicely folded t-shirts a few days later. 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 decided you need to have some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming occassion, school group, sports team, or some other use. You place the order and the Des Moines, IA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to choose and specify the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink colors or special effects
- What design will be printed
! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer advice and assurance during every step of the t-shirt printing process. Use our professional printers and designers. If you need help coming up with a killer logo or shirt design, rely on 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 create the screen
After you decide on a design, we get to work on preparing the screen that will be used to get your design printed on your shirts. The design is first printed on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing team will select the best mesh screen for your order. The screen is coated with a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. We place the film with your design on it on the screen and we expose the screen 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 produces 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.
This is where the ink comes in. Screen printing such as t-shirt 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. That’s plastisol for you. It is great because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
We then secure the screens to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. Our t-shirt printing artists take great care to line everything up exactly so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We apply ink onto the screen and pull a squeegee across the entire screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink precisely to where it looks bright 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.
Now your awesome design is on your shirts! But they aren’t ready to go yet. The ink goes on as a thick liquid, but in order to stay on the shirt, it has to be cured. In other words, the ink must be transformed into a solid so it stays on your t-shirts. In order 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 with temperatures that are too high. We know what we’re doing, though, so you know your prints will turn out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
After 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 handful of days. If you need it, ask us about shipping your order to you. For those last-minute situations when you need your t-shirts printed even faster, use our rush printing services.