STL Shirt Co. is one of the top t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, groups, and businesses in the Topeka, KS area. People in Topeka, KS and all across the country trust us for their complete screen printing and embroidery needs, as they have for more than 45 years. We are commited to making the Topeka, KS t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. You may have more questions about our capabilities and services, how we do it, or how to place your order. Have your questions answered or start your order by giving us a call at 636-926-2777 or sending us a message at 636-299-0162 today.
How it Works
Placing a custom t-shirt printing order may have an enigmatic feel. 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. We wouldn’t blame you if you described it as magic. 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 occassion, club, athletic team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and that is where the Topeka, KS t-shirt printing journey begins. When you order your shirts, you will have to choose and specify the:
- Brand, cut, style, material, and color of the shirts
- Ink colors or special effects
- The design you want printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. will offer counsel and help through the entire t-shirt printing process. Our professional screen printers and designers are available to help you. 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 create the screen
Once you have created your design, we go about making the screen that will be used 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 team will select the best mesh screen for your order. 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. The design on the film blocks the light from reaching the coated screen in the shape of your design, but 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.
This is where the ink comes in. 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. 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.
We then secure the screens to a printing press, with each shirt pulled taut and placed on a plate below. We are very careful to make sure everything is registered and lined up precisely so we know that your design will end up in the right place on your t-shirt. We apply ink on top of the screen and use a squeegee from end to end of the screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. We repeat this for every single t-shirt in your order, and if your design has several colors, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. There is an art to applying the ink just right so it shows up nicely and keeps 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! We aren’t quite done, though. Once the ink is applied as a viscous liquid, it must be cured. In other words, we have to turn the ink from a liquid into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. 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 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 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 them up neatly 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. If you find your self in a tight spot and need your t-shirts printed even faster, we even offer rush printing services.