Printing Shirts

Posted: June 16, 2009 in General, Tee a Week

For Justin’s bachelor party I decided to print up shirts commemorating the event. I wanted to do something unique, so I decided that I would print up funny quotes for each shirt (so each shirt is different). I also wanted to print a custom logo on the back with the year and the event name “Fin Du Monde”

As I’ve mentioned before I get a little insane about things. I could have printed this stuff on white tee shirts for super cheap and been done with this, but the artist in me didn’t like that idea. White shirts are cheap because you can print on them just like paper (a la Cafe Press). Darker shirts require screen printing or creating a white base to print on, which is why I did both.

I shopped around a bit for a decent place to do the printing, and finally decided on Broken Arrow Wear. They did a number of things right. First, they have a good online estimator so I could get an idea of how much this was going to cost me. Second, they had good telephone support. I don’t know the size of the operation, and I was only printing 18 shirts, but I felt like my business was important to them.

My only issue is that I sent them artwork and it took a while for me to get the mockup back (luckily their support is pretty great so I never felt that I was left hanging). I approved that artwork, but was told (almost a week later), that some of the text that I had created was bleeding and it wasn’t looking good. Their artist put together another version using a different font, and we were off again. So my issue is that an experienced artist would have identified that problem before we got this far into the process. That said, Broken Arrow did the stand-up thing and when there was a problem, they fixed it. Regardless of anything else, it was important to them to get me something I was happy with. They get very high marks for that, and I wouldn’t think twice about using them again. Did I mention that their prices were so great that I was able to get a few extra tees for backup and it still was cheaper than most of the other shops I was looking at?

On the front I printed cartoon speech bubbles with funny sayings onto dark tee-shirt iron-on transfer paper from Avery. They make two different iron-on transfer paper types, the stuff for light shirts I assume has a clear transfer, but the dark tee-shirt stuff has a white background, so you need to cut the borders carefully.

My design incorporated the white background, but it did mean spending about an hour with an xacto knife cutting out speech bubbles. The process is pretty straight-forward, and I was able to iron on the 16 transfers in about an hour and a half.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result, my only regret is that I probably should have chosen a different shirt color. The kaki is much better than white, but it still lacks some of the pop I would have liked.

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