In House Production is Working Great!
The first in-house processes (instead of sending everything out for printing) are going VERY well! The first is using a cutter and pressing ink onto a shirt, and everything we have tried with it has worked perfectly. A couple of tests to get kinks out and we had a wonderful retail product. We now use this technique until we have the next one up and going…
[Update Fall 2013: We now produce our own screen printing in-house!]
The second process is even better(!) We have ordered out stacks of pre-made sheets for a lot of our 1-color designs made with screen printed inks called ‘plastisols’. These are the highest quality imaginable and extremely easy to produce ‘on demand’.
These techniques are what make it possible for us to have so many colors all the time and what made it possible to begin lowering our prices on the simplest designs.
‘Plastisols’ are screen printing that is delayed until needed. The ink is screen printed normally, but it is screen printed onto a special release paper instead of the shirt. It isn’t fully cured; it’s left semi-wet (!)
Then, when we have an order, we pull out a sheet and melt the ink into the shirt at high heat and pressure. The result is just as though the ink was printed onto the shirt originally, but it means we don’t have to stock pre-printed shirts.