STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies for individuals, families, and organizations in the Louisville, KY area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Louisville, KY and throughout the country for over 45 years. We stand out as the t-shirt printing company of choice in the Louisville, KY area due to our commitment to quality and service to our customers. You may be wondering about what we can do for you, our methods, or how to place your order. Ask us questions or place your order by giving us a call 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 give your 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. One might go so far as to call it magic, but we aren’t one to toot our own horn. 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 know you want to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, club, athletic team, or some other use. You contact your shop to place the order and the Louisville, KY t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to determine the:
- Shirt brand, style, material, and color
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. will offer guidance and assurance during the entire 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. We can also help you select the right shirt and ink colors.
STEP TWO – We prepare the screen
Once you determine your 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. To the screen, we apply 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. 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 your design involves multiple ink colors, 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. 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 a shirt of any color.
The screens we made are attached 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 we know that your design will end up in the right place on your t-shirt. We add ink onto 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 in your order. For designs with several colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely so it looks bright 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.
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, we have to turn the liquid ink into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. To do this 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 with temperatures that are too high. You can rest assured that we have the curing process figured out, so you know your prints will come 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 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. 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.