STL Shirt Co. is one of the best t-shirt printing companies for individuals, families, and organizations in the Wilmington, NC area. People in Wilmington, NC 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 Wilmington, NC t-shirt printing process an enjoyable one for each and every customer we serve. We are sure you have more questions about what we can do for you, how we do it, 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 can seem a bit mysterous. You put in your t-shirt printing order to your favorite printing shop 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 need some t-shirt printing done for your upcoming event, club, athletic team, or some other use. You place the order and that is where the Wilmington, NC t-shirt printing journey begins. When you order your shirts, you will have to determine the:
- Shirt brand, style, material, and color
- Ink type and color(s)
- Design to be printed
“But I’m not a graphic designer,” you exclaim. Not to worry! STL Shirt Co. can give you counsel and support 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 prepare the screen
After you determine your design, we get to work on 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 team 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. 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 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.
This is where the ink comes in. T-shirt printing and other screen 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. Plastisol is ideal for screen printing because it withstands washes, moves with the fabric material of your shirt, and shows up vibrantly on a shirt of any color.
We then secure the screens to a printing press, stretching each shirt on a plate below. Our t-shirt printing artists take great care to line everything up precisely so to make sure the design is printed in the right position on your t-shirt. We apply ink on top of 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, and if your design has more than one color, we repeat it for each color on every shirt. It takes skill to get the ink just right so 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.
You can now see the design on your shirts! But there is still one more step. After the ink is applied, the ink has to cure. In other words, we have to turn the liquid ink into a solid that will stay in place on your t-shirts. 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 with temperatures that are too high. 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 neatly and pass the finished product 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 ready in a week or less, use our rush printing services.