STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the Pittsburgh, PA area. People in Pittsburgh, PA 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 Pittsburgh, PA t-shirt printing abilities and customer service that will make every screen printing order you place a wonderful experience. We are sure you be wondering about what we can do for you, our methods, or how to place your order. Ask us questions 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 come with an air of mystery. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite t-shirt printing screen print shop 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 – Place your order.
You know you need to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming occassion, school group, athletic team, or some other use. You contact your shop to place the order and that is where the Pittsburgh, PA t-shirt printing journey begins. When you place your shirt order, you will have to determine the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
Don’t sweat it if you are intimidated by the thought of creating a design and making all these choices! STL Shirt Co. can give you counsel and assurance through every step of the 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. 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
Once you have created your design, we go about 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 experts will select the best mesh screen to use in printing your shirts. To the screen, we apply a substance called emulsion, which is sensitive to light. 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 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 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, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We work deliberately to line everything up precisely so that your design is oriented correctly 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. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt we print. For designs with multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink precisely to where it looks bright and retains the sharp lines in the original design. Lucky for you, our t-shirt printing team has mad skills.
STEP FOUR – The ink cures.
The ink is now 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 liquid ink into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. In order to make this happen we introduce the ink to heat. It takes research and trial and error to perfect the curing process. It is easy 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!
Once the ink is cured, it means that your t-shirts are officially printed! Next, we fold them up nicely and pass the finished product off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in 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.