STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, families, and businesses in the Irvine, CA area. People in Irvine, CA and all across the country trust us for their complete screen printing and embroidery needs, as they have for more than 45 years. Our Irvine, CA t-shirt printing abilities and excellent customer service set us apart. We are sure you have more questions about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or start 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 have an enigmatic feel. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite t-shirt printing screen print 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. 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’ve decided you need to have some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming event, work group, athletic team, or some other use. You place the order and that is where the Irvine, CA t-shirt printing journey begins. When you order your shirts, you will have to determine the:
- Shirt brand, style, material, and color
- Ink type and color(s)
- The design you want printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer guidance and support through every step of the t-shirt printing process. Our expert screen printing artists and designers are at your disposal. For assistance in creating the perfect logo or 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 prepare the screen
After you decide on a design, we get to work on making the screen that allows us to print the design on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your desired end results, our t-shirt printing team 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 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.
Then, it is time to add the ink. Screen printing such as t-shirt 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. 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.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. Our t-shirt printing artists take great care to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We add ink on top of the screen and use 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 we print. For designs with several colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely to where 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.
Now your awesome design is on your shirts! But there is still one more step. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. This means we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. 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 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 come 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 them up neatly and hand the finished product off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within just a few days. If you need it, ask us about shipping your order 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.