We mostly do wholesale t-shirt printing.
Meaning quantity orders, not few shirt. Above video showing process for 1 color ink print and below is text explanation.
Either to do 1 shirt or 1000's, screen printing process is same from computer graphic to printing.
Here's how it works.
1. Graphic Design: It has to be clear, clean and proper format like PDF, High Resolution JPEG, PSD, TIFF, PNG, TIFF, Word Document. If you don't have graphic, you can use our online design tool to create one, it's free. You have to know that how many color ink you will be using for your graphic. Example: On black t-shirt with White & Green Ink for front left and White ink for back. That will consider 2 color ink front & 1 color ink back.
2. Apparel: What type of shirt, polo, t-shirt, we have varies type of shirts to choose from for your custom printing, embroidery. Every shirt has item number, you can choose from our catalog, we offer brands like Gildan, Hanes, American Apparel, Comfort Colors, Nike, Bell Canvas, Next Level. Dry fit material, 100% cotton, 50/50, soft style, Tri blend, many mix and different type of material and styles. So be prepare with item number, color of shirt, sizes.
3. Outputting on Film Positive: we use special film which is almost see through, we print using solid black ink with our printer. If your graphic has gradient, we'll use process call halftone, which has very tiny small solid black dots.
4. Making screen:, choosing right mesh count, exposing with proper timing
5. Machine Setup: Setting up screens on screen printing machine on print head, depending on how many color ink you have in your graphics, 1 screen for 1 color ink front or back only then do screen ink/print regesterations.
6. Putting ink: Pouring ink into screen, If your graphic has 2 color, 2 separate ink will go on 2 separate screens.
7. Make sample: Before we start printing on t-shirts, we make sure every ink color, graphic is align with each other.
This entire process take time anywhere from 1 to 3 hours give or take. Depending on how many color ink we'll be printing on your custom t shirts. If it's more then 1 color ink, it requires registrations. Example, if it's 2 color ink on shirt, we'll have to separate your graphic ink colors in computer, If your graphic has White & Yellow ink, White part of your graphic has to be separated in computer then the yellow part. After that make 2 separate film output with our printer (2 films) then 2 separate screens. This whole process is time consuming.
8. Production time: Once hard part is completed. Lets start printing, Many screen printer can print up to 200 - 500 shirts per hour. Our machine capable of 1500 shirts per hour, if person/printer can keep up with it!
So folks, This is how it's done. I've tried best of my knowlege to cover most parts. We also have created short video above and many other videos our there on YouTube if you search "How screen printing process works"
Many times we get request for printing 1 shirt, few shirt. No matter what quantity, entire process is same. So, many t shirt printing companies has min. order requirement. Anywhere from 12 to 48 shirts minimum. Reason for that is to make their time, labor, material, entire process worth while. Now, think of this when customer say i just want 1 shirt, it can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 for that 1 shirt, which is not worth spending unless you wants to!
Tip: If you want get most out of your money then get quantity like 24 or more. More you buy cheaper it is, remember it take few hours to prepare setup but it only takes couple of min to print 12 to 100 shirts.