STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and organizations in the Norfolk, VA area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Norfolk, VA and throughout the country for over 45 years. We are commited to making the Norfolk, VA t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. We are sure you have more questions about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Ask us questions 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 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. 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 know you want to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, school group, sports team, or something else. You place the order and the Norfolk, VA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you place your shirt order, you will have to determine the:
- Brand, cut, style, material, and color of the shirts
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. will offer advice and assurance during the entire t-shirt printing process. Our expert screen printing artists and designers are at your disposal. If you need help coming up with a killer logo or shirt design, rely on our professional design team. Our experienced staff can advise you on the best shirt or combination of colors to use for your order.
STEP TWO – We make the screen
After you have created your design, we get to work on making the screen that allows us to get your design printed on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your desired end results, our t-shirt printing experts will select the best mesh screen for your order. To the screen, we apply a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. We place the film with your design on it 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 repeat the process above, making a screen for each color in the design.
STEP THREE – We print.
This is where the ink comes in. Screen printing such as t-shirt printing usually 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. Plastisol works well 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.
The screens we made are attached to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We work deliberately to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We add ink onto the screen and use a squeegee across the entire screen to smooth and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink just right so it looks bright 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 they aren’t ready to go yet. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. This means we have to turn the liquid ink into a solid so it stays on your t-shirts. To do this we introduce the ink to heat. Ink curing is a science, and it’s possible to damage the shirt or the print if you use the wrong temperature or cure it for the wrong length of time. You can rest assured that we have the curing process figured out, so you know your prints will turn out great.
STEP FIVE – You get your shirts!
After the ink is cured, it means that your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold the shirts up neatly and pass them off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in just a few days. Ask us about having your order shipped to you. And if you are in a jam and need your t-shirts ready in a week or less, we even offer rush printing services.