STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, groups, and businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area. For almost 50 years, members of the Fort Wayne, IN community and beyond have counted on us for all of their screen printing and embroidery needs. We stand out as the t-shirt printing company of choice in the Fort Wayne, IN area due to our commitment to quality and service to our customers. You may be wondering about what we can do for you, how we do it, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or start your order by calling 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 may come with an air of mystery. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite printing 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. 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 – Place your order.
You’ve determined you need some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, work group, sports team, or something else. You place the order and the Fort Wayne, IN 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)
- What design will be printed
! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer advice and assurance through every step of the 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. We can also help you select the right shirt and ink colors.
STEP TWO – We create the screen
Once you have created your design, we go about making 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. Depending on the specifics of your order, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen to use in printing your shirts. The screen is coated with 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 but the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This is how we create 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 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. What you are feeling is the plastisol ink. Plastisol is ideal for screen printing 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, and each shirt is placed on a plate below. We work deliberately to make sure everything is registered and lined up exactly so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We apply 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. We repeat this for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink just right so it shows up nicely 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! We aren’t quite done, though. 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 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!
Once the ink is cured, it means that your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold the shirts up neatly and hand them 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 ready in a week or less, we even offer rush printing services.