Screen Printing T-Shirts: The Basics

Before contacting a t-shirt screen printing company about your project, you should have a good idea of what you want and you should keep a few things in mind. We put together a quick list for our prospective clients.

All Tees are not created equal.

What is the difference between that t-shirt you have had forever, that just keeps getting more comfortable after every wash and the one that falls apart at the seams after the first wash? As the old saying goes;  You get what you pay for. This is especially true when it comes to screen printed t-shirts.  Chinese made, cheese cloth like $1.25 t-shirts do not compare to major brand tee manufacturers 100% Combed Cotton offerings. Many companies now offer tagless and tear-a-way tag shirts.  Some tees are fashion / athletic fit and others are standard square cut. There are woman’s v neck cuts, youth and toddler sizes as well as onesies and newborn sizes. Men’s muscle tanks, unisex hoodies and athletic clothing are all available.

100% Cotton is 100% Cotton Right?

Well yes, but there are different ways that cotton is “yarned”. When the manufacturer’s gin the cotton they can use several methods to extract the cotton fibers. Some are more time comsuming and take more steps than others. In the end, there is a difference you can see and feel.

Carded Cotton
carded cotton fibers
A Carding Machine is removed to remove dirt and short fibers, other fibers are laid parallel and formed into a rope like strands.  The result is a mixture of ragged, thicker, shorter fibers. Cheaper to produce, this cotton is rough, heavy and lower in quality.

Combed Cotton

combed cotton

Combing is the process of extracting fibers below a predetermined length and removing any remaining dirt and debris. Allowing only the longest, strongest fibers to be used to make a more durable, smoother, finer thread. A longer lasting, softer garment is produced.

Size of the graphic.

If you use same size graphic on different sized shirts, the graphic stays the same size across all shirt sizes. We can scale the image down to make a smaller graphic for the smaller shirts but another screen will need to be made and that is added expense. So if at all possible make your graphic size work for all your garment sizes. Most clients find a way to do this. child_adult


Standard Graphic Placements

This is the fun part. A little creative thinking goes a long way. Placement makes all the difference between a cool shirt or a future shop towel. Typical placement is a crest or logo on the left front chest and large graphic on the back. Or one sleeve and back, and the most common placement, right dead square center chest as big as we can print it!










Screen Printing Ink Colors

Every color has complimentary colors, as well as compound, monochromatic and analogous shades that are dictated by color physics. To see an example of this check out Adobes color wheel below. This is a great tool for graphic designers and artists. Also see sample PMS Colors online to give you a feel for the color options available to you. Keep in mind that all PC monitors replicate colors differently. The only true way to get 100% accurate color representation is to choose from a current PMS colorbook by eye.
Adobe Color Wheel
View Screen Printing PMS Colors Online

Graphics / ArtWork Requirements

In order to create a professional top-notch garment, we need high-quality graphic artwork.  Images taken off of websites, or scanned will not provide the minimum 300 DPI resolution that we need. Below is a list of acceptable file formats we will accept. Not sure what file types you have? No problem, we are here to help. Contact a representative at 480-222-2190 today.

.ai, .eps, .pdf




Screen Printing Inks

For most applications Plastisol is the way to go. We provide distressed printing using Fashion Base and Chino Based inks for a softer hand to the garments. We also provide many specialty screen printing inks allowing us to create a unique garment that is sure to impress.


Plastisol Printing

flock printing

Flock Printing


Foil Printing


Gel Printing


Metallic Ink


High Density Printing


Egg Shell Printing











Got it? Good.  Our account specialists are standing by 7am – 4pm MST to answer any questions at 480-222-2190 or check out our Quick Quote form and we will get back to you the next business day!

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Our Client's Include
Hot Topic
Urban Outfitter
Calvin Klein
National Park Service

Printing Techniques
Special Inks
Across Sleeves

Blanks of your Choice
Golf Shirts
And Most Apparel

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Tear Off Tags
Printed or Sewn On Tags
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Sewn Patches

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