STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies serving individuals, groups, and businesses in the Tucson, AZ area. We have been serving the screen printing and embroidery needs of the people of Tucson, AZ and throughout the country for over 45 years. Our Tucson, AZ t-shirt printing abilities and excellent customer service set us apart. We are sure you have more questions 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 give your order to your favorite screen printer and receive a package filled with custom-designed, nicely folded t-shirts a few days later. One might go so far as to call it magic, but we aren’t one to toot our own horn. 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 want to have some t-shirt printing done for some upcoming event, work group, sports team, or something else. You contact your shop to place the order and the Tucson, AZ t-shirt printing process is set into motion. When you place your shirt order, you will have to decide on the:
- What color, brand, style, and material the shirts will be
- Ink type and color(s)
- What design will be printed
If this already feels overwhelming, don’t fret! STL Shirt Co. will offer advice and help through 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 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 make the screen
After you determine your design, we go about making the screen that allows us to get your design printed on your shirts. The design is first printed on a transparent sheet of film. Based on your unique parameters, our t-shirt printing staff will select the best mesh screen for your order. We then coat that screen with a photo-sensitive substance called emulsion. That film we printed your design on is placed on the screen and we expose the screen 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 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 typically 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. It is great due to its ability to withstand p washes, move with the flexibility of the fabric, and display vibrantly on any color t-shirt.
The screens we made are attached to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. We are very careful to line everything up exactly so that your design is oriented correctly on your t-shirt. We apply ink onto the screen and pull a squeegee across the entire screen to apply and press the ink onto the shirt. This process is repeated for every single t-shirt we print, and if your design has 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 from your 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. 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 so it stays on your t-shirts. In order to do this we introduce the ink to heat. Ink curing is a science, and it’s possible to damage the shirt or the print when you don’t use the correct temperature or amount of time. We know what we’re doing, though, so you know your prints will come 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 neatly and hand the finished product off to you. We will package them up and have your shirts or other printed items ready in only a handful of days. If you need it, ask us about shipping your order to you. For those last-minute situations when you need your t-shirts printed even faster, check out our rush printing services.