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FAQs

THE ORDER PROCESS

How do I place an order?

Please email us with information about the order such as garment type and colour, print position and the number of colours in the design(s) and the order quantity.  Ideally email over your artwork too and we are happy to give advice and put together a custom quote.

How long is the production process? 

Turnaround is usually 1-2 weeks from receipt of final artwork and payment but can vary, depending on our workload at the time.

Do you do a sample print/garment to check the quality/style of print and colour on the garment? 

We can provide sample prints but this adds to the cost.  It's not as expensive to have a sample digitally printed and some clients just want to see the blank garments, before ordering to check the style, colour and sizing.  We always send a PDF proof before going to print, to confirm print size and positioning.  

 

SCREEN PRINTING

How much does screen printing cost?

The cost of screen printing can be calculated by adding together the price of the garment and the print cost (multiplied by the number of garments that you are ordering) plus the screen prep cost.  Add on delivery cost and VAT to get your total.  A screen needs to be prepared for every colour of every design at a cost of £28.00 per screen.  The garment cost is a flat rate, until you start ordering into the thousands.  The printing cost is dependent on the number of colours in the design (more colours = higher cost) and the number of garments in the print run (more garments = lower cost).  The price matrices are on the website - we like to be open and honest about our pricing structure - but it's also fine to email us for a custom quote.

What is the minimum order quantity (MOQ)? Is the MOQ based across a range of size sets?

The minimum order quantity for screen printing is 25 per design and price per print goes down at 50, 100, 200, etc.  You can order lower quantities but these would be digitally printed (also great quality, eco, water based inks).  It's fine to have a mix of sizes within the order.

How do you match colours to the artwork?

For screen printing, we match to Pantone Matching System (PMS) references, if you are able to supply one.  Or we can find the PMS reference that's closest to the colour in your artwork (using colour matching software) and mix to that.  This means we can reproduce the same colour again for repeat order print runs.  Some people like to post us a swatch of the colour that they'd like and this is fine too.

How does screen printing work?

A screen is created for every colour of each print. The image is first separated into its individual colour elements (usually using Photoshop). Once separated, each colour element of the design is changed to black and printed out onto separate sheets of clear film at actual print size.

Each screen comprises mesh stretched over a wooden or aluminium frame. The mesh is coated with a UV-sensitive emulsion and left overnight in the dark to dry.

The film is then taped to the front of a screen and the screen placed face-down onto a vacuum UV light box. The screen is then exposed to UV light for a short time. Where the UV hits the screen, the emulsion changes its composition and crosslinks it together. Where the design on the acetate prevents the UV light from reaching the emulsion on the screen it does not crosslink. After exposure the screen is washed and the non-exposed emulsion washes away, leaving a stencil of the design behind.

For textile printing, the screens are attached to the arms of our printing carousel and garments are attached to the platen boards underneath. A multicolour design requires multiple screens (one for each colour) but, after careful registration, the different colour prints from these screens should fit together perfectly to reproduce the original design. A squeegee is then used to press ink through the mesh stencil onto the fabric. Prior to printing and after each colour the T-shirt must be heated under a heater to permanently dry or cure the ink to the fabric.

How many colours can I have in my design?

It is possible to screen print 6-7 colours.  For multicolour or full colour designs, DTG printing is generally the best option for small to medium sized print runs.  For larger print runs it's probably preferable to have your design remade as four colour process print so that it can be recreated in four colours (CMYK) and screen printed.

Do you use environmentally friendly inks in all your orders no matter how small?

Yes, we only use eco-friendly printing methods (both screen printing and DTG (digital) printing).

 

DIGITAL PRINTING

What is DTG printing?

Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing is a digital process using high quality inkjet printers that print directly onto the garment, the set up time is minimal, making it ideal for sampling, print on demand and small print runs. There is no MOQ for DTG printing and we use this printing method for quantities of 1-24. We might also suggest DTG for larger print runs if the design has lots of colours, has highly detailed or shaded areas or is to be printed onto a textured fabric or over a pocket or seam. 


I heard DTG printing isn't as good.  Is that right?

Not all DTG is equal - our machines give great quality prints but many DTG printers produce inferior prints that don’t last.  Our prints (both DTG and screen) should last pretty much as long as the shirt itself. We refined the process even more to get as much detail as possible and to avoid the shiny look that some prints have - we wanted it to look as close to screen printing as possible and now we think you’d be hard pressed to tell which prints are which.  

 

GARMENTS

Are all the garments you use environmentally friendly?

We source and print eco-friendly/sustainable garments - usually organic cotton but sometimes bamboo, modal, tencel, recycled polyester etc.

Do the garments come with any branding/labelling regarding being ethical?

Yes, the garments have a label on the inside left hand seam with details of their eco credentials.

Is it possible for me to see a sample of the garment before I order?

You can order a blank sample of the garment to check quality, colour and sizing but we do charge for this (non-refundable).  You're also welcome to come into the studio to view some garments before you place your order.

Will the garments shrink in the wash?

The garments comply with the general performance standards in the clothing retail industry. Some shrinkage and twisting may occur after washing but will stay within the acceptable limits for dimensional stability performance. To minimize shrinking and twisting, it is recommended that the wash temperature does not exceed 40C in a standard or delicate washing cycle, and the garments are reshaped before drying on a line or flat. Hot washes and tumble drying is likely to affect the dimensional stability of the garments and may also cause fading of colour. For the sake of protecting the environment, we say: wash at 30C or below, do not tumble dry, line dry and only iron when necessary.

Do the T-shirts have any labels or tags?

Stanley/Stella garments have a back neck label positioned off to the left side of the neck. This shows the EU size and underneath a smaller font US size. The inside waist label has the Stanley/Stella Logo, Organic Cotton and Fair Wear Foundation Logo. The wash/care label is also positioned in the waist seam of the garment and has the washing instructions and the size. The waist labels on these garment are 'tear out' and made of recycled polyester, which is also recyclable.

EarthPositive garments have a back neck label with size, the EarthPositive “Tick” symbol and the wording “Climate Neutral”. The inside wash/care label has the EP and low carbon logos. Salvage garments have a back neck label with size, the Salvage “Links” symbol and the wording “100% Recycled”. The inside wash/care label has the Salvage logo and certification marks. Continental garments have a plain size label in the back neck and a logo on the inside wash/care label. All the wash/care labels carry the FWF symbol except the products made in China. 

Can I supply my own garments?

Yes, you can but we charge 50p per garment handling fee. We also ask for extras for potential wastage from the printing process.

Is it possible to print onto stretchy polyester material using 100% solvent free inks?

No, it doesn’t work very well for these types of fabric. You generally need to use a chemical based paint that can stretch with the material.

 

THE INKS

What are water based inks?

Water based inks are inks that use water as their main solvent; not all water based inks are equally eco-friendly though. Our inks do not contain the harmful chemicals found in many commercially used inks.  You can read more about our water based inks under Resources.

What type of fabric printing inks do you use?

We predominantly use the Permaset Aqua fabric inks, made by Colormaker Industries. They’re formulated to be eco-friendly and don’t contain harmful ingredients contained in plastisol inks and discharge inks. They’re more eco-friendly than other water based inks too, as many water based inks contain white spirit. The Permaset Aqua inks come in two ranges, with different properties. The Texiscreen Permatone inks are made for printing colours and dark tones onto white or lighter garments.  They soak into the fabric and give bright, vibrant prints with a very soft handle. After a wash, you can barely feel the inks at all. The Supercover inks are thicker, opaque inks that sit more on the top of the fabric. We use these for printing light colours onto coloured garments. We can print one or two coats of ink, depending on the look you’re after.

Should I have one coat of ink or two?

We almost always print one coat of ink when printing dark ink onto lighter garments. However, if your print has a light coloured ink and you are printing onto a darker garment, you have a choice. Two coats of ink is very opaque and but feels stiffer (although not rubbery like plastisol inks). One coat of ink is less opaque but feels softer to the touch. One coat is nice on prints with a larger surface area, as it still feels relatively soft.

How durable are the inks? Can my garment be washed?

The inks that we use are high quality and durable.  The inks wash fine at 40oC and should last the lifetime of the garment, with no significant fading.  We would recommend ironing from the other side only and not to risk a tumble dryer!

So why doesn’t everyone use water-based inks?

Water based inks can be difficult to use. They air dry and can clog up the screen during printing. It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s worth it. Traditionally water based inks were not as hard-wearing and durable as plastisol inks and weren’t as opaque – but things are different now.

 

ARTWORK

How should I provide my artwork?

Please email your artwork to us.  If it's a very large file you may like to send it by WeTransfer.  There are more artwork guidelines and information on the file type under the Resources section.

What is colour separation?

For screen printing, every colour is printed separately.  The artwork has to be split into its constituent colours so that a screen can be made for each colour.  Each ink colour is then pressed through its screen.

How can I perform colour separation?

We would usually do this for you.  If there are a lot of similar tones, it may be easier if you can send a layered file, so that it’s easy to distinguish between the colours.

How many colours can I have in my design?

For screen printing we use a seven-station carousel and can print 6-7 colours including fluoro and metallic inks. Digital printing can be full colour but not fluoro or metallic.

Is it possible to print over seams?

We can print over seams but we prefer not to, as print quality is affected if the print area is not completely flat. We don’t generally print right up to seams or hems for the same reason.

When should a high resolution (90T) screen be used?

We use different resolution screens for paper printing and for textile printing.  For paper printing we usually use 90T (90 threads per cm) screens, and occasionally 120T screens for very fine detail and thinner ink coverage.  For textile prints we usually use 43T screens but also use 55T, 62T and 77T screens for very fine detail, printing onto a layer of ink and for CMYK prints.  Don’t worry about this though – it’s our job to choose the best screen resolution for the job.  Bear in mind, though, that you cannot use the same screen for printing onto paper and textiles.

Is it possible to screen print a photographic image?

Absolutely, digital printing is perfect for this and is usually the best way to recreate photographic imagery. Some people prefer their work to be screen printed and we can also screen print photographic images using process colours, recreating the image as a series of dots in CMYK. Some images work better than others so it’s best to email us the image for further advice. 

Can you screen print images with a gradient?

For screen printing we can only print one colour per screen. However, a gradient can be recreated as a halftone (a series of dots like old newspaper prints).  This works well for high contrast images but not so well for subtle shades and large areas of one shade. If you have an image and you’d like us to advise as to whether it would be suitable for printing in this way, please email us.

Digital printing is particularly well suited to this.

How can an image that has shaded areas be altered for screen printing?

The image has to be bitmapped and a half tone created. This is generally done in Photoshop. We can offer advice, or do this for you.

Can you create a distressed, vintage look?

Yes. The original artwork is altered to look distressed. We recommend one coat of ink, rather than two (for screen printing) You can request that we add some extender in the print to make it a bit more translucent, if you want your print to look slightly faded. 

How do I specify what colour I want?

You can choose from one of our ‘standard colours’ or, if there’s a specific colours that you’d like us to match please specify a Pantone reference or send a hard copy.  Alternatively, we can match the ink colour to your artwork on the computer screen using the closest Pantone match, but this will not be an exact match.

 

BOX PRINTING

Are the boxes recycled?

They are 75-80% recycled content.  There is a small amount of unrecycled content for the longer fibres, which allow the box to fold without cracking.  This seems to be standard for recycled boxes (although not usually mentioned).

Are the printed boxes recyclable?

Yes, they are fully recyclable.

Are the printed boxes biodegradable?

Yes, the inks are not harmful and so the boxes can be composted and are biodegradable.

What type of inks do you use?

We use the Permaprint range of inks by Colormaker Industries. They’re high quality water-based inks and we can use these inks to print onto paper, as well as other substrates like wood or plastic. These inks are extremely durable and are even used to print wallpaper.  We have metallic inks, glow inks and can mix pretty match any colour. We also have extender, which we can use to make more translucent colours.  We only print one or two colours onto boxes.

Are the boxes sent out flat?

Yes, the boxes are printed flat and sent out flat.  This saves massively on postage and storage space for you.  The folded boxes take up a great deal more space.

Can my print go over all the sides of the box?

Your print can go onto more than one side of the box but can't cover every side of the box.  The print is charged by size and can be up to A4 in size or up to A3 in size.  Print quality may be very slightly affected by going over a crease but this generally looks fine.  We can't print right up to an edge, or over the edge and the print must not go within 2-3mm of any edges or cut out sections.

 

DELIVERY

Do you deliver to Europe?

Yes, we deliver to all European countries, generally by road.  Drop us an email for more information on cost and delivery time.

Do you deliver worldwide?

We occasionally deliver to destinations outside of Europe.  Drop us an email to find out more.