STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the Independence, MO area. People in Independence, MO and all across the country trust us for their complete screen printing and embroidery needs, as they have for more than 45 years. We are commited to making the Independence, MO t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. We are sure you be wondering about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or begin 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 may have an enigmatic feel. 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. One might go so far as to call it magic, but we aren’t one to toot our own horn. 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 decided you want some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming event, work group, athletic team, or something else. You place the order and the Independence, MO 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
- Design to be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. will offer advice and support during 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, 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 make the screen
Once you decide on a design, we get to work on making the screen that will be used to print the design on your shirts. The design is first printed on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing experts 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. We place the film with your design on it on the screen and we expose the screen to light. The design on the film blocks the light from reaching the coated screen in the shape of your design, but the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This produces 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.
This is where the ink comes in. T-shirt printing and other screen 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 is ideal for screen printing due to its ability to withstand p washes, move with the flexibility of the fabric, and display vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. We are very careful to line everything up precisely so we know that your design will end up in the right place on your t-shirt. We add ink onto the screen and use 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, and if your design has more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink just right to where it shows up nicely 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! We aren’t quite done, though. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. 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 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 when you don’t use the correct temperature or amount 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 the shirts up nicely and hand the finished product 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. For those last-minute situations when you need your t-shirts ready in a week or less, check out our rush printing services.