Screen Printing in Columbus, Ohio - The Insiders Guide
How much experience does Local Threads have in screen printing?
The secret to any company’s success is the experience of people doing the work.
As an example, Tony and Chris work in our print shop and have over 50 years of screen printing experience between the two of them. Watching them work is like watching two masters. They’ve done it so long, they know how to do the perfect setup, apply the ink at the right angles, how much ink to use, and more.
Recently we did a vintage t-shirt print and we printed the inside of the t-shirt. The guys flipped it around and drove the ink through the t-shirt from the inside out. When we flipped the t-shirt back out, it had a really unique vintage distress kind of look to it. It was mind-boggling. As the owner of Local Threads, I’ve been in the business for 16 years t-shirt printing, and had never seen anything like it before!
So what IS screen printing?
Screen printing is the process of taking a logo, drawing, or other pieces of artwork and printing it onto shirts, jackets, really any apparel, or some other medium. This is done by putting your pattern onto a screen, and then squeezing ink through it so that your design comes through. The more screens your printer has, the more colors they can add to your artwork, and the better your piece will look. Some smaller printers can only print with 4 colors at a time, but the best results come from more colors. At Local Threads, we’re proud to offer 7 colors, plus white, for prints that stand out in a crowd. This allows us to give higher quality shirts to our customers than your typical printing company in Columbus, Ohio.
What is the process for getting my idea screen printed on a shirt?
At Local Threads, we start by having our in-house designers, right here in Columbus, Ohio, look at your artwork for any issues that need to be addressed before we get too far into the process. After that, we set up the screens to start printing! Depending on the number of colors involved, this can take 3 hours or more to get set up.
Next comes our three-proof process. First, we print a sample shirt to make sure the printers are set up and aligned. Then we make sure that our graphic designers review it, and lastly, the owner of Local Threads gives the final sign-off before we start the project. We’re looking for both major and minor issues, from misaligned prints to just a corner that didn’t come through right.
Only then do we start printing on the final product. We even have lasers on our printer to take measurements throughout the process and ensure that each shirt is made the same way, from the position of the shirt to the pressure that we use to apply the ink.
Are all screen printing shops pretty much the same?
Screen printers range from a one-man-show working out of their garage to a massive screen printing company. They can all put ink on a shirt, but the quality of the final product always comes down to the details. A Larger printing company is able to have people on staff who monitor the details and focus on customer service. Also, consider their ability to service your piece with an artist’s eye. Many companies will outsource this overseas to save costs, but at Local Threads, we’re proud to have an in-house design team, staffed right here in Columbus, Ohio who will look over your design and even provide feedback if we feel that some color may not work well with our screens.
Are all inks the same?
Absolutely not. There is a huge difference in the different quality inks that screen printers use. While some screen printing shops cut corners by using cheaper ink, we always want to make a shirt that stands out in a crowd and makes you look good. At Local Threads, we know you’re proud of your design, which is why we only print with premium, high-end ink. Cheaper inks aren’t as opaque as the ink we use, and opaque ink makes your design pop while also holding up longer over time. The quality of our ink sets us apart not only in Columbus, Ohio.
What about heat applied vinyl decals? I heard that was just as good as screen printing!
While vinyl is cheaper than screen printing, it is not nearly as durable. The main difference is that a vinyl design sits ON the t-shirt, but screen printing is actually set INTO the garment. Vinyl doesn’t allow for the same blending and depth of your design, but it also tends to detach from the garment after just a few washes. We want to make sure your design looks amazing the day it comes off the printer AND for many years to come. For that reason, we only offer screen printing with the highest quality ink.
I got a quote for $4 for a printed shirt. Is that a good price?
There are lots of screen printers online that will lure you in with a super low quote. Oftentimes, those quotes are for a subpar shirt, ink, process (or all three!), but there are always extra charges that they won’t tell you about until much later, effectively driving the cost up.
*Pro Tip: to avoid unexpected costs, be sure to ask about artwork fees, setup fees, or screen fees before committing to a printing company!