Ordering T-shirts for “Dummies”. A quick guide to getting started.

“I want to have t-shirts printed … but I don’t know how to get started”
… we hear that all the time, no worries, you aren’t alone.

Textile screen printing is a very mysterious process to some. (wow, that almost sounds sexy, doesn’t it?)

Yesterday, I had a customer, that could not understand our medium in any way, shape or form including  how to get started …. so, for those of you that think screen printing  feels too complicated to pursue….or too confusing to order……( or you don’t know what the hell it is or if it is even what you want)…


1) Start looking for  local screen printers. Someone you can visit to see the quality of their work & put a face to your new biz relationship …please, do not e-mail screen printers a country or continent away, asking for a quote…..driving your shipping & duty costs nuts among other things & where you are far too detached to know if they are the kind of business you want to deal with.

2) You CAN  manage your screen printing needs at a distance ONLY IF you love (oh yes, you can love your screen printer) & TRUST your screen printer, and KNOW your screen printer & know you have enough experience ordering using  Internet communication.

2) Ask friends & business acquaintances for referrals. Ok…. ask TRUSTED friends & acquaintances… LOL.

3) Avoid impostor textile screen printers.

Would you go to any other printer or any other business set up in their garage?
I wouldn’t go to any professional business set up in a garage….so what is it with people thinking screen printing in a garage is fine.
You know what? …those people just think that it will be cheaper…that’s all.

Great… you will get what you pay for….with no guarantees on quality or service…. & inadvertently hurt the environment.

Sure,  set up in a garage….IF you aren’t good enough or experienced enough to make a real business of screen printing & don’t care about using unethical chemicals (& putting them down the sink) to clean & prepare screens…. way to destroy the environment, assholes!

We are all judged by the worst of our industries….this, in my estimation, is the worst of our industry.

4) Don’t be embarrassed to call a screen printer and ask questions or what you think, might be stupid questions.
There are no stupid questions. Really there aren’t.
Why should you know anything about screen printing?
Your screen printer, if they have good customer service, will answer your questions & help you to understand our process. They will hold your hand through the process, if you like.
Ask for a tour of their shop. Ask to see samples of their printing. Ask for references.
Good customer service should never make you feel stupid.

(Many thanks to some of our competitors – constantly pissing off customers with rude or unclear customer service….I will send you flowers one of these days).

5)  I don’t have artwork! Can’t draw a straight line? No worries. A good screen printer will have an artist at your disposal.
It IS fun to see your own artwork in print, so think about it.

6) Do not break copyright law or trademark law.
People own artwork & rights to images, you have no right to rip them off.
Do not ask your screen printer to print registered logos….like “Harley Davidson”, “Gucci” or “Batman”.
Don’t be a dick.
Any screen printer that violates trademarks & copyrights… you got it …. total dicks.

7) Having even a rough idea of what you might need, will help expedite you order. Having a bit of an idea of  the quantity of garments you need, how many artworks you want to print per shirt & how many colours in each artwork… would be super helpful in order for your screen printer to be able to quote you accurately.

8) Screen printing is not instant. Give your printer lead time to do your artwork & work through details.
Call around to find out screen printers schedules.
Rush orders are common….but get a commitment from your screen printer for your due date… then make sure to follow up & be as available as possible to help the rush process.
Picking the right printer is the best way to avoid being  “over promised & under delivered”.

9) I only need one shirt! Direct screen printing can be expensive if you just need one or a very few shirts…..ask about sublimation (in old school language: transfers)…. if your screen printer doesn’t do them, I am sure they can advise you of where you can get it done.

10) Have fun! Working hand in hand with your printer should be enjoyable. We want you to be happy & (dare I say it?) satisfied.

I know this is a bare bones kind of “getting started” … so …. what questions can I answer for you???

I am happy to field any questions you have … for any job you have … or problems you may have had with any screen printer, anywhere.
Just ask.


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