From Concept to Reality: How an Idea Becomes a Shirt

At Uth Stuph have the privilege of working with a wide variety of wonderful customers, some of whom order from us on a regular basis while others might be getting their custom t-shirts for the very first time.  But regardless of how many orders they’ve placed, many clients aren’t aware of the activity that goes on behind the scenes to bring their ideas to life on a t-shirt.  So how do we do it?

Well, the beginning of every great t-shirt is a great idea.  This idea might appear crystal-clear in your mind as though you were already holding the printed shirt, or you may have a more general notion of what you’re looking for.  In some cases, you may not really know much at all about how you want the final product to look, and that’s okay!  Even the seed of an idea is enough for us to get some artwork rolling for you. 

After you’ve discussed your design idea with your relationship manager, it will be handed off to an artist who has the exciting task of bringing your description to life.  Sometimes the artist captures exactly what you were looking for on the first try, but other times it may take a few rounds of re-working or tweaking.  We have an online art-approval studio which allows you to view each version of your artwork and leave comments to the artist so that we can get the final design just right.  Once you’re satisfied with the design, all you have to do it hit “approve” in the design studio and your order will be ready to enter production

Our art-approval studio makes it super easy to approve or request changes.

The next leg of the journey for your artwork is the separations department where another artist will take the design apart color by color in preparation for print.  Once the design is separated, it goes on the screen room where it’s translated from digital artwork into something much more tangible.  The screens used to print most shirts are about waist-high, and a computer-guided tool burns an image of your design onto a set of screens, one color per screen.  The screens are washed out, taped up, and placed in a rack beside a press to await the final step.

When an order is ready to be printed, the screens are secured to the many arms of a circular press.  Beneath them are pallets covered in glue which rotate from one screen to the next until they’ve made the full circuit around the press.  A press operator will fill the screens with the prescribed ink color, ensure that everything is ordered and set up correctly, and then start loading your shirts onto the pallets.  A laser helps the press-operator line up the shirt for a perfectly straight printing.  As the shirts are loaded, the pallets spin under each screen, and the ink is pushed through the screen and onto the fabric.  Color by color, the design takes shape on the shirts until they looks just like the mockup you approved.  Finally shirts are pulled from the pallet and sent down a very hot dryer to cure the ink so that it won’t flake off or fade away.

After the printing is done, your shirts are boxed up and shipped out—and that’s only 72 hours from the time you approved the artwork!  So even if you’ve waited until the last minute to get shirts for your event, we’ve got you covered.  Interested in seeing your latest idea transform into a batch of custom t-shirts?  We’d love to bring your dream to life!  Click here to get a quote or give us a call at 800-242-9166.

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