Helpful tips for ordering custom printed tee shirts
If you've never ordered custom screen printed t-shirts before or if you've had a bad experience with a previous t-shirt order, then we might be able to save you from a future headache with a few of our tips for ordering custom t-shirts. Whether you place your t-shirt order with Joe's Tees or with another t-shirt printing company, take the time to learn about what's involved in the t-shirt ordering process. We want you to be aware of the many different variables that could increase the price of your custom tee shirts.
- T-shirt color, style and brand
- T-shirt sizes
- Number of colors in the print design and number of print locations
- Lead time for completion of t-shirt order
- Type of print - Spot Color vs. 4 Color Process
- Artwork fees
- Setup fees and re-order minimums
If you want to have your t-shirt design printed on a variety of color t-shirts, this should never cost you more unless the printer has to change the color of inks to accommodate the color of the t-shirt. For example, let's say your design is just black text and you want your design printed on an assortment of light color t-shirts. This would be no problem at all, as the black ink would look great and stand out from the color of the t-shirt. Now, suppose you want to mix in a few dark chocolate t-shirts with your order. You would then incur a small color change fee because the black ink would barely be visible on the dark t-shirt and the printer would have to wipe out the black ink from the screen and reload it with a much lighter ink color.
There are many different styles of t-shirts to select from such as ringer tees, camo tees, v-neck t-shirts, pigment dyed t-shirts, pocketed tees, long sleeve t-shirts and more. A unique style of t-shirt can really look great and set you apart from everyone else, but keep in mind that these styles cost you more money.
The brand of t-shirt that you select for your printing order will also play a major role in the overall price. The best value is to choose from quality t-shirt brands like Gildan, Hanes, Anvil, Jerzees and Port & Company. If you want a higher quality fashion fit, organic or ladies cut tee and you don't mind spending a little extra, you could choose from popular brands like American Apparel, Alternative Apparel and Bella.
T-shirt sizes larger than Adult X-Large usually cost about $2.50 more per t-shirt and the price goes up with each size increment. Tall tees will also be more expensive due to the amount of extra material needed to make the shirt. If you mix in Toddler size t-shirts along with regular Youth and Adult size shirts, you may incur a setup fee as the print design may be too large to fit properly on the smaller, Toddler size t-shirts.
The amount of colors in your print design and the number of print locations will have the biggest impact regarding the price of your t-shirt order. The least expensive t-shirt order would be a 1-color, 1-location print on a white t-shirt. Multi-color and multi-location print jobs require more labor and supplies than 1-color, 1-location print jobs.
Here's a brief overview of the t-shirt screen printing process. Each color of your design is output as a film positive on laser film and then burned on a pre-coated screen. Each screen is then manually loaded onto the press, each filled with the proper ink color, and then put into registration by the printer. The printer will then load the t-shirt on a palette, lay down 1 color at a time by pressing the ink through the screen with a squeegee onto the t-shirt. Finally, the printer will remove the t-shirt from it's palette and run it through a conveyor dryer for proper curing. This process is repeated for additional print locations and print designs.
The average turnaround time for a t-shirt order is different with every t-shirt printing shop. Our average turnaround time is 5-7 business days which we think is fairly fast. In most cases a t-shirt printing company will charge you a rush fee for a turnaround time inside of 5 business days. Try and give the t-shirt printer at least 5 business days to complete your order. Some t-shirt companies may require more than 10 business days to complete your order, so always be sure to ask the printing company about their turnaround time.
Most all t-shirt designs can be color separated and printed using spot color, which is the most common t-shirt printing technique used today. However, if your t-shirt design is a photograph, then it will most likely have to be 4 color processed. Process printing is much more expensive than spot color printing and is really only worthwhile for large runs of t-shirts. This technique is expensive because it may require more than 2 or 3 screen setups until the printer can get the image to look right. The t-shirt printer should let you know immediately if your design needs to be 4 color processed.
If you want the t-shirt printer to come up with a design for your shirt order or if your design needs to be color separated, then you are probably facing an artwork fee. You can review our artwork guidelines which explain in detail our requirements for artwork, any artwork fees and lists acceptable artwork file types. Always ask your t-shirt screen printer about any potential artwork fees.
What, more fees? Most t-shirt screen printing companies charge setup fees for every shirt order. Setup fees offset the cost associated with preparing screens for the press. Joe's Tees does not charge setup fees for screen printing. When you get a quote from a t-shirt printer, make sure to ask about any setup fees.
No matter what event or occasion you are ordering t-shirts for, 9 times out of 10 there's always a few stragglers that suddenly want a t-shirt and you've distributed all the shirts! If you think there's a possibility of this happening, please ask your t-shirt printer to set aside your screens for a few days in case you need a couple more t-shirts. We hold all screens for 5 business days before they are reclaimed.