SCREEN PRINTING PROCESS
1. Artwork - Designing the Art
It all starts with your ideas. Your idea is taken to our in-house designers who make a computer generated version of that idea using Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, incorporating the t-shirt color(s) and ink colors you have chosen for your order. Nothing is ever printed without customer approval of the artwork provided (except on repeat orders).
2. Film - Process the Art
Once you approve your design, it goes to our production artist, who take your design apart with a method called color separation. Each color of the design will have its own screen. Before the production artist can take the design to the screen department they must print each color on a film positive.
3. Set-Up - Preparing the Screen(s) and Press
Screen printing relys on well constructed screens. The film positives from the production artist go to the screen department, who prepares the screen by coating it with photosensitive emulsion. The color separated positive is attached to the emulsion coated screens, and taken to be burned for t-shirt printing. This process is done for each color of your design.
The screen is placed into a unit that exposes it to ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light burns the design into the mesh. Water is then used to remove the excess emulsion to let ink come through the screen. This is very important to get the best screen printing results.
4. Screen Printing - Producing Your Custom T-Shirts
Screen printing finishes by transferring the ink through the screen onto the shirt. To begin this process, the press is loaded with the mesh screens. Ink colors are then poured onto the proper screens.
The screen printer then loads the t shirt making sure that it is even and sitting straight on the t-shirt palette. Once it is loaded properly the printer lowers the screen (or on the bigger presses, raises the shirts) and pulls the ink across the design with a rubber squeegee.
The t-shirt is then removed and placed on a belt that runs under a special dryer. This dryer will cure the ink at 320°F. At the end of the dryer, Quality Control inspects each garment to ensure the garment meets our high quality standards. Hope you have enjoyed this explanation of the screen printing process.
1. Digitizing - Designing the Art
The embroidery process begins with an idea or a piece of artwork. That artwork then has to be "digitized" which is the specialized process of converting 2 dimensional artwork into stitches or thread. Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot take a particular format of art such as a jpeg, tif, eps, bmp, and convert it to an embroidery tape. The digitizer has to actually recreate the artwork using stitches, meaning, the digitizer is programming the sewing machine to sew a specific design, in a specific color, with a specific type of stitch. This is the process known as digitizing.
2. Set-Up & Production - Preparing Our Machines and Production
Once the artwork has been digitized, it is then ready to be put into production. Production embroidery is a very hands on process. Before the sewing can begin, specific thread colors must be loaded by hand into the machines. A spool of thread for each color for each sewing head must be loaded. The machine itself is programmed by the operator to sew the design in a particular color sequence and a particular sewing speed. The garments must then be "hooped" individually, again by hand, and then loaded into the machine. Once the design has completed sewing, the garment is taken off the machine, un-hooped, and then sent to the next step in the production process.
3. Finishing - Final Touch-Ups
After the garments have been sewn, they go through a finishing process. During this step, the garments are inspected for quality, individually trimmed of excess backing material and excess threads, then folded and packaged ready for shipping to the end user.