STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, families, and organizations in the Oakland, CA area. People in Oakland, CA and all across the country trust us for their complete screen printing and embroidery needs, as they have for more than 45 years. We have the Oakland, CA t-shirt printing abilities and customer service that will make every screen printing order you place a wonderful experience. We are sure you have more questions about what we can do for you, our methods, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or place 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 can have an enigmatic feel. You put in your t-shirt printing 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’ve decided you want some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming occassion, club, athletic team, or some other use. You contact your shop to place the order and the Oakland, CA t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you order your shirts, you will have to determine the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink type and color(s)
- The design you want printed
Don’t sweat it if you are intimidated by the thought of creating a design and making all these choices! STL Shirt Co. is here to offer counsel and help through 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, work with 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 prepare the screen
Once you decide on a design, we get to work on preparing the screen that allows us to print the design on your shirts. First, we print the design on a transparent sheet of film. Depending on the specifics of your order, our t-shirt printing team will select the best mesh screen for your order. 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 and the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This produces the stencil.
If your design involves multiple ink 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. Have you ever noticed how, on a printed shirt, you can feel the texture of the design, but it is still soft and flexible? That’s plastisol for you. 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 a shirt of any color.
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 exactly so we know that your design will end up in the right place on your t-shirt. We add ink on top of the screen and use a squeegee from end to end of the screen to smooth 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. There is an art to applying the ink precisely so it stays vibrant 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! We aren’t quite done, though. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. This means we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. To make this happen we introduce the ink to heat. It takes research and trial and error to perfect the curing process. It is possible to damage the shirt or the print if you use the wrong temperature or cure it for the wrong length of time. We know what we’re doing, though, 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 nicely and hand them off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in 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 printed even faster, use our rush printing services.