STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies used by individuals, groups, and businesses in the Tacoma, WA area. For almost 50 years, members of the Tacoma, WA community and beyond have counted on us for all of their screen printing and embroidery needs. We are commited to making the Tacoma, WA t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. You may be wondering about our capabilities and services, our methods, or how to place your order. Ask us questions or start your order by calling 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. If you want to describe it as magic, we won’t object. 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 – Make your order.
You’ve determined you need some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming event, work group, athletic team, or some other use. You place the order and that is where the Tacoma, WA t-shirt printing journey begins. 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)
- The design you want printed
! STL Shirt Co. can give you advice and assurance during the entire t-shirt printing process. Our professional screen printers and designers are available to help you. For assistance in creating the perfect logo or 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 prepare the screen
After you decide on a design, we go about making 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. To the screen, we apply a substance called emulsion, which is sensitive to light. We place the film with your design on it 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, and the rest of the emulsion hardens in the light. This creates 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.
Now we are ready for the ink. T-shirt printing and other screen 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? That’s plastisol for you. Plastisol is ideal for screen printing because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
Next, we mount the prepared screens to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed 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 pull a squeegee across the entire screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. We repeat this 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 just right so it stays vibrant 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! But they aren’t ready to go yet. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. This means the ink must be transformed into a solid so it becomes permanent on your t-shirts. In order 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 easy 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, your t-shirts are officially printed! We fold the shirts up neatly and pass them off to you. We can have your shirts or other items printed and packaged within 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, we even offer rush printing services.