How to use the new designer app


Our new online design app has been a really fun project for us to put together and we really hope you enjoy using it.  One of the best ways to use the designer is to just start playing around with the different tabs and edit features.  You really can’t do anything wrong.  Here’s a breakdown of each tab and edit feature:




The home tab is where you start with the blank shirt.  You initially have the option to add new text, or add new art.  The new art option includes adding clipart from our collection, or uploading your own artwork.  We’ll discuss both options further in their respective tab descriptions.  The home tab is also where you’ll eventually see your design layers.  There’s nothing there when you first start with the blank shirt, but as you add elements to your design, the layers will be there with additional options to adjust and/or edit each element.

Change Item



The change item tab gives you the opportunity to choose a different shirt color, or a totally new item.  This is a great tab to return to once you’ve done your design as you can see it on different shirt colors at the click of a button!

Add Text


The add text tab is where you can add any text.  The current version of the designer lets you add one line of text at a time, so if you’ll have multiple lines, type the first line into the box and hit go.  The text will appear on the shirt and you can now start making adjustments.  Depending on the number of words in the text line, you may want to adjust the size of the text first (“adjust the text size” up and down arrows on the left) so that it appears fully within the bounding box.

The first edit feature on the left is the font.  Click on the font button to reveal the available font styles and click one to select it. (subsequent lines of text will show up in the same chosen font.)  You may want to select your print color at some point.

The color boxes on the left are our stock print colors, so choose that and then go back up to the edit features.

Next up is text shape, where you can add arch up, arch down, covex/concave, wave or wedge.

The distress button adds a distress filter to your image.  Feel free to give it a try, if you don’t like it you can simply click the button again to remove it.

The last edit button on that row is for an optional outline color.  This can give text a real standout look on the t-shirt, adding depth.  This feature works best with larger text, you probably don’t want to use it for very small text.

Next, you have the size and rotate tools.  You may have already used the size too, feel free to play with that some more to get it right where you want it after using the other edit features.  The rotate text option lets you rotate around 360º. (Rotate will start rotating clockwise if you start from 0 and go up)

You can continue to add lines of text as you need them, making adjustments as you go.  At anytime, you can select a line of text and click on the trash can by the text box to delete that line.  Be careful, this can not be undone!

The Alignment tools at the bottom allow you to center the text to the bounding box, layer up and down (for designs that have multiple elements that are in the same space) and mirror which mirror-reverses whatever is selected.  These alignment tools are present on both the text tab and the artwork tab which is up next…

Add Artwork


The add artwork tab allows you to add clipart or upload your own artwork.  To add clipart, either use the search box to search for a term such as “daisy” or “heart”, or you can narrow it down by clicking on suggested categories below.  Once you have found the desired clipart, just click on it and it will appear on the shirt.  Just click and drag the clipart to any position within the bounding box.

On the left, you’ll see your edit features appear.  You can add distress, which will add a distress filter over the artwork just as mentioned in the text section.  Again, to remove the distress, just click the button again.  At any time you can also delete the clipart using the delete clipart button.

You can select the print color for the clipart using the stock print color boxes.

Next, you can adjust the size of the clipart up or down using the slider

Then, if needed, you can rotate the design up to 360º.  (Rotate will start rotating clockwise if you start from 0 and go up)

Just as mentioned above, the Alignment tools at the bottom allow you to center the text to the bounding box, layer up and down (for designs that have multiple elements that are in the same space) and mirror which mirror-reverses whatever is selected.

Get Pricing


Next up on the upper tabs, is get pricing.  In this screen, you will enter your desired sizes and as your quantity increases, you’ll see the pricing change.  We have price breaks at 12, 24, 48, 100, 150, 200, and 500.  If you get close to a price break, it’s usually a better deal to add a few shirts to get the price break.  As you enter sizes you’ll also see the pricing information updated in the summary box.

Open Design

The next tab, the open design tab is for those who have previously saved a design.  Once logged in, you’ll be able to pull up a previous design from your account.

Save Design

If you’re not ready to place an order at this point, you can save the design by clicking on the save design tab.  This feature allows you to save your design without completing an order.  You do need to be logged in for this feature and it will prompt you to do so.  If you don’t yet have an account, you can register at that point.


You may have noticed that there is a small box at the lower right of the t-shirt that shows a summary of what you’ve created so far.  It will tell you how many print colors you have on the front and back and will give you the price per piece once you enter sizes.  It is also where you see the place order button which you will use once we finish up the design and ordering details.  At any point you are ready to place an order, click on the place order button at the lower right.  If you’re not logged in it will prompt you before proceeding to the order details page.

As always, give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions along the way.


The Screen Printing Process

If you’re reading this blog, chances are, you’ve either ordered custom t-shirts before, or you’re planning on ordering them in the near future.  You call a company and explain what you want, and then probably approve a proof and pay.  Alternately, you order online and all those steps are automated.  Did you ever wonder what happens after you hang up the phone or close the web page?  Obviously, all of our orders are in various stages of production at any time, but here’s a quick rundown of our process isolated to your order:

  1. Once the order is finalized, the blank goods are ordered from one of our national distributors.
  2. Your artwork is separated into each of its colors by hand in software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.  Then film positives are printed in solid black on clear film which is used to make the screen.
  3. The screen is exactly what it sounds like.  A large square of mesh stretched over a frame.  The screens are prepped by being coated entirely with a light-sensitive liquid emulsion that dries to a solid coating.  The film with your design in black is used to block light that the screen is exposed to.
  4. Next, the exposed screen is sprayed with water which dissolves the area where the design was blocked out on the screen.  The rest of the coating, having been exposed to the light, is now a hardened barrier.
  5. At some point in this process, the blank t-shirts  for your order have arrived!  The order is pulled and counted and laid out on a cart ready to go to press.
  6. When your job is up, the screen is loaded up on the automatic screen press and the press operator makes sure that it is both centered and straight.  This is a critical step as all shirts in the job will be done with this same setup, and the screen doesn’t move again until the job is done.
  7. Ink is put on the screen and we’re ready to do a press check!
  8. The printer does one print, and the print is double checked for EVERYTHING.  We make sure the print is straight, centered, positioned correctly on the shirt.  We double check the print to make sure the color is accurate and that there are no anomalies in the design comparing it to the proof sheet.
  9. Each shirt is loaded onto the press by hand but goes around and is printed automatically.  As the completed shirts come around, they are pulled off and put into a belt dryer (think pizza oven, seriously!)  The dryer heats the print to its cure temperature and when it comes out the other end, it’s dry and ready for packing.
  10. The shirts are counted and folded and placed in boxes ready to ship.

I hope you enjoyed this small peek into our day.  Give us a call at 1-800-870-3959 if you have any questions.

T-Shirt Printing on Lightweight Triblend and Poly-Cotton materials

One of the most popular t-shirt styles of the last few years has been the lightweight poly-cotton and triblend fabric tees.  These styles offer a more modern, and retail ready quality for your custom t-shirts.  They are really comfortable, and come in stylish colors, interesting fabric textures, and modern washes.

We have worked to develop the best strategies and techniques for printing on these fabrics, which we would like to share with you:

Consider the shirt color and ink color carefully.  Printing a darker ink color on a lighter t-shirt color requires only a single layer of ink in order to get full coverage, which results in a print that is thinner on the fabric.   With darker shirt colors, if you print a color like white, it requires two layers of ink in order for it to be a bright, opaque white on top of the color.  This results in a print that is thicker, and can weigh down the shirt fabric if you have too much coverage in the print area.

Designs for these fabrics should be either light and airy, or smaller in order to make the most of the fabric itself.  If you have a really soft, lightweight t-shirt, and then you print a giant solid circle or rectangle on it, that will weight the fabric down, and make the entire area have a plastic feel to it.  This is especially important in the case of printing the lighter ink color on the darker shirt color.  We recommend designs that have a lot of the shirt color showing through, then even large designs can have a lighter feel to them.

One of our print strategies for printing light ink colors on dark t-shirt colors is to base the inks down.  We use a specific product meant to make the inks more viscous.  This minimizes the weight of the print, and also helps to create a smoother finish.  This can slightly minimize the overall brightness of the ink color, but with two layers of ink, you still get a nice opaque finish to the print.

If you’re looking to have more of a vintage feel to the print, we can limit a light color print to a single layer of ink so that the darker shirt fabric shows through the print.  This results in a thinner layer of ink, and reduces opacity greatly for a neat effect.  This works especially well with distressed artwork, another great idea for reducing the amount of ink that is ultimately laid down on the shirt.  If you are interested in this technique, be sure to talk to us about your design and ink/shirt color choices so we can help you determine if it’s right for you and your design.  Making sure you understand the process and setting your expectations are our number one priority.

Have you used these products in the past?  What are your experiences?  We’d love to hear from you.  Whatever you decide, we’re here to help you.  Give us a call, we’d love to discuss your project!