STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the San Diego, CA area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of San Diego, CA and throughout the country for over 45 years. We have the San Diego, 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. 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 put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite printing 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 – Make your order.
You know you want some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming event, work group, athletic team, or something else. You place the order and the San Diego, CA 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 colors or special effects
- What design will be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. can give you counsel and support during every step of the t-shirt printing process. Use our professional printers and designers. Need help designing a logo that perfectly captures your vision? You can rely on our professional design team. We can also help you select the right shirt and ink colors.
STEP TWO – We create the screen
Once you decide on a 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. Based on your desired end results, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen to use in printing your shirts. The screen is coated with 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 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.
Then, it is time to add the ink. Screen printing such as t-shirt printing usually 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. 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 a shirt of any color.
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 line everything up exactly so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We apply ink onto the screen and pass a squeegee across the entire screen to smooth and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt in your order. For designs with multiple colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink precisely to where it looks bright and retains the sharp lines from your original design. Lucky for you, our t-shirt printing team has mad skills.
STEP FOUR – The ink cures.
You can now see the design 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. This means we have to turn the liquid ink into a solid so it stays on your t-shirts. In order 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 with temperatures that are too high. We know what we’re doing, though, 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 only a few days. Ask us about having your order shipped to you. And if you are in a jam and need your t-shirts printed even faster, check out our rush printing services.