STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and organizations in the Durham, NC area. People in Durham, NC and all across the country trust us for their complete screen printing and embroidery needs, as they have for more than 45 years. Our Durham, NC t-shirt printing abilities and excellent customer service set us apart. We are sure you be wondering about what we can do for you, our methods, 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 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 know you want some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, school group, athletic team, or something else. You place the order and the Durham, NC t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you place your shirt order, you will have to determine 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. will offer counsel and assurance during the entire 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. 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
Once you have created your design, we get to work on making the screen that will be used to get your design printed on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen to use in printing your shirts. The screen is coated with 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. 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 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. 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? 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 any color t-shirt.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We work deliberately to line everything 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 pull a squeegee from end to end of the screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. We repeat this for every single t-shirt we print, and if your design has more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely so it stays vibrant and keeps the sharp lines from your 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! But they aren’t ready to go yet. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. In other words, the ink must be transformed 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 possible 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 turn out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
After the ink is cured, your t-shirts are officially printed! We fold them up neatly and pass the finished product off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in only a handful of days. If you need it, ask us about shipping your order 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.