[hackerspaces] Curiosity...where is a cheap place to order t-shirts

Jamie Schwettmann jamie.schwettmann at gmail.com
Mon Oct 21 03:30:05 CEST 2013

Local places almost always beat out online printers, esp on-demand
services, in terms of both price and quality, even for relatively large

It's a really good idea to ask a couple of qualifying questions when
evaluating a screen print shop.

1. Process

If they print a base white layer regardless of whether your design contains
white, using excuses like "because it's a dark shirt" run the other way,
because they're obviously cutting corners.  Those images will crack and
fade like crap in no time flat, and the colors will look washed out, even
when new. On top of that, they will probably also want to charge you extra
setup fees for the "necessary" white screen mask.

Many online shops have digital print processes that automatically and
unavoidably print white first, resulting in the same crap quality with
absolutely no room for technical negotiation.

A quality screen printing shop knows they can save screens (saving you
money, and saving them screen-making overhead) by using more paint instead
of more screens. They will print the colors in your design multiple times
over to achieve appropriate vibrancy, rather than screw up the quality with
a superfluous white layer.  This results in a design that ages considerably
more slowly and gracefully than the alternative.

2. Graphic design assistance

Of course your rasterized jpeg design is perfect... Except that it isn't.

A crappy shop (or an online shop) will encourage you to send the jpeg, then
feed your naive input straight into their crappy process, described above.
You will be nonplussed by the result, fast as it may be.

A quality shop knows they have to manually color separate, color *match*,
font match/replace and scale your design appropriately for the garments
they're printing, and will send you proofs to choose from until you are
satisfied.  They're going to be entirely reworking that unscalable raster
image into several two-tone vector images representing the separate
screens.  They may or may not charge a fee for this, so if you can do any
of that to spec yourself, you might save some $$$. Most of the time,
however, it's a good idea to let the professionals at the shop do some work
on it, since they know best what their process requires, even if your
design has already previously been professionally worked up for screen

Anticipate and allow up to two weeks to complete the proofing process, and
expect to be actively involved.

3. Community-focused service

Large/bulk/online/low-quality shops simply don't care about the particulars
of your organization, just their bottom line.

Quality shops are populated by creative professionals who realize their
customers are their community. They are far more likely to be interested in
learning more about your organization than the big/crap shops, and will
concern themselves with creative suggestions or changes that actually
contextually suit your order.

The best experience I ever had with a  screen printing shop was in ordering
shirts for the local society of physics students chapter.  The shop we got
not only reworked and laboriously proofed the design for us even after we'd
done lots of that by committee, but they triple printed the bright colors
onto quality black shirts for us, and even took the creative initiative to
surprise us with glow-in-the-dark and UV-reactive additive to our
radiation-themed design!! So awesome!

I hope this info helps!!


On Oct 20, 2013 4:01 PM, "William Macfarlane" <wmacfarl at gmail.com> wrote:
> ++on local t-shirt printing -- it's something where, on small-scale, you
really aren't going to get better pricing on the internet.  The printers
are getting better bulk discounts on the t-shirts then you are likely to
get from an internet printing service since they're buying lots more.
> Also the people who run little screen printing businesses tend to be
pretty cool and fun to get to know.
> We screen-print our own, though, mostly.  It's easy, and fun, and when
someone asks if they can get a t-shirt it's fun to have them print it
> On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM, Joshua Pritt <ramgarden at gmail.com>
>> We have an artist mall type place in an old mill.  There's a t-shirt
printing place in there.  We were able to save a lot by not paying for
shipping since we just walked in and picked them up.
>> It would be worth your time to find a local place.
>> On Oct 20, 2013 6:31 AM, "hadez" <hadez.hso at nrrd.de> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 8:40 AM, john lunger <justj1915 at yahoo.com>
>>> > Anyone know of a cheap place to order t-shirts?
>>> we found a local screen printing company that's actually a rehab
>>> location for recovering drug addicts.
>>> they have competitive prices, good service, high quality and the warm
>>> and fuzzy feeling ;)
>>> regarding the shirts itself we found that going really "cheap" will
>>> leave you with crappy and thin wares that you wash once and throw
>>> away.
>>> but what worked for us is finding a company that just sells plain
>>> clothing at a good price, buy those and have them printed.
>>> you might have something similar where you live, so check it out.
>>> the printing company might be able to recommend a clothing supplier,
>>> --
>>> hadez
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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> --
> -Will
> www.partsandcrafts.org
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