How To: Have A Smoother Ordering Process

Sometimes in life there are opportunities to make things a whole lot easier on yourself (and others). Placing an order with us is no exception to that rule.

When you are ready, there are few simple steps you can take to guarantee a smooth and pain-free order process. Your Customer Service Rep may also want to hug you.

1. Details, Details, Details.

The more details you provide when you submit your quote request, the faster you’ll get your prints! Give us any and all details you have. There’s rarely such a thing as too much information in this case. The more we have the easier it is for our Customer Service Reps to quickly and accurately build your estimate with minimal back and forth and revisions.

What kind of details are we talking about?
  • Print location – Where do you want your design printed (Front, Back, Sleeve, etc)? Will you have more than one print location on the same shirt?

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Printing Minimums: What Are They and Why Do They Exist?

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“Can I order just one shirt?”

Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to ask. This is an incredibly common question in the screen printing world. At Threadbird, the short answer is “no”. We have a minimum of 24 pieces on every order of up to 2 colors.

“But why? I don’t need 24 shirts.”

Great question. It all comes down to time. Screen Printing is a mechanical process that involves machines, manual labor and time. It takes the same amount of time to setup a job with 1 shirt as it does a job with 100 shirts. When the costs involved are averaged over 100 shirts, the order is affordable for the customer. But, when the same costs are averaged over 1 or 2 shirts, the order is no longer affordable.
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Your Threadbird Order is Being Processed: What Now?

When you place an order with Threadbird, our team immediately begins moving it through the system. You can help that process go smoothly and as quickly as possible by making sure your customer service rep has all artwork, sizing, due date (if specific) and shipping address with your order. We’ll handle the rest!

What exactly do we mean by “your order is being processed“? We’re glad you asked!

Once you’ve accepted and paid your invoice, here’s what’s next:

Your digital mocks are created. You should receive the mock for approval within 48 hours (usually faster).

  • Once you get the mock, double (maybe even triple) check the following:
    • Your Ship To address – This might seem obvious, but it prevents headaches down the road.
    • Finishing Options (printed tags, hang tags, fold and bag, etc.) – Do you have any? Are they shown on the mock?
    • Garment count for each size – Are all sizes and counts accurate?

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Our Purchasing department orders your blank garments.

  • We order your blanks right away to speed up your turnaround time. If you want to change your blanks, please let your customer service rep know as soon as possible to prevent additional delays and/or fees.

Your order goes into production.

  • Average production time after mock approval is 5-7 business days.
  • Any finishings and/or complex jobs may require additional time. Turnaround time is an estimate and not guaranteed.
  • If you have a specific due date, please be sure to let your customer service rep know when placing your order.
  • Questions or concerns about your order in the meantime? Contact printing@threadbird.com.

Your order is on the way!

  • You can expect an email with tracking information as soon as your order has shipped.
  • As much as we cross our fingers that it won’t be an issue, we can’t be held responsible for any shipping exceptions, i.e. inclement weather, lost packages, etc.

We understand you’re excited to get your order, so you can count on us doing everything we can to make that happen as soon as possible while delivering the best quality!


How To: Getting the Best Screen Print from Your Design Files

So you’re ready to place a garment order. What’s next, you ask? There will be a number of steps to make sure we have everything you need, one being “high resolution or vectorized artwork”. What the heck does that mean? Well, allow us to explain.

High quality artwork is crucial in the screen printing process. The design you print is a major selling point for any clothing brand, band or retail company. It’s the reason your customers want to buy it from you, and we want all of our customers to succeed. Below we’ll answer some of the top questions that our customers have about artwork files.

“What’s a vector file?”

A vector file is a scalable art format that is most commonly associated with Adobe Illustrator. It’s a file that can be sized small enough to print on a baby onesie or large enough to fit on a billboard without any degradation or loss of clarity. It’s the favored file format of screen printers because it can be easily resized should the artwork require it.

“What does ‘high resolution artwork’ mean?”

It means that when zoomed in at 100% on an image, it has well defined, crisp lines. The two images below help illustrate that. On the top you see two seemingly identical images, but when you zoom in on the two images you’ll see the contrast between the two. The left image is muddy and not well defined. The image on the right, however, is clean without any blurriness or distortion.

  • Low Resolution Artwork File
  • High Resolution Artwork File

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Turnaround Time: What’s Really Happening?

So you’ve placed an order with us and are wondering, “What’s next?” or “How long is all this production stuff going to take?” Well, we can assure you that the Threadbird team is hard at work to keep your order moving and to get the best final product possible to your door.

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Here’s what happens once you submit and pay for your order.

Your digital mocks are created. Our Art & Mocks team immediately starts working to put together your designs and all necessary details for your approval before handing the final mock off to the printing team. You should receive it within 24 hours and the faster you approve the faster we can keep your order moving.

Our purchasing department orders your blank garments. We order your blanks right away to speed up your turnaround time. If you want to change your blanks, please let your customer service rep know as soon as possible to prevent additional delays and/or fees.

Your order goes into production. The average production time from mock approval is 5-7 business days. Any finishings or complex jobs may require additional time, which means turnaround time is an estimate and not guaranteed. If you have a specific due date, please be sure to let your customer service rep know when placing your order. If you have any questions or concerns about your order in the meantime, please contact us at printing@threadbird.com.

 And finally, your order is on the way! We’re big fans of this part. We love when our customers finally get to see their finished product in person. Once you receive your order let us know what you think! Share some pictures and tag us on Twitter or Instagram or let us know if we can do anything else. We want to know how your experience was.

And that’s it! Not too bad, huh? If you’re ready to start the process, you can go here, or you can contact us at printing@threadbird.com.


Best Printing Styles for Screen Printing

There is an ongoing debate over the best way to screen print. Threadbird Printing has been working to develop an answer so that we can continue to deliver the best possible product to our customers. What we’ve found is that each style has its pros and cons and there is not one perfect process. It also comes down to who is doing the actual printing (there are good printers and bad printers) and what the customer is looking for. Personally, I like my prints to be soft, either no-feel or with a slight hand (barely any feel). However, some customers associate a thicker print with higher quality.

One of the things I love about screen printing is the science behind it. The ink, as well as the shirt itself, have such an effect on the end result. The shirt color and fabric can affect the outcome of the print. An experienced printer knows this and can help you better understand what results you will get. For example, some people believe you can only use discharge on 100% cotton shirts. This is not true; however, discharge does work “best” on 100% Cotton. On tri-blends or 50/50 blends, a discharge print will come out looking faded and vintage which may be the look you are going for. If you are not looking for a vintage print and want to use discharge ink, 100% cotton is the only option.

So, let’s take a look at the 4 most popular print styles today: plastisol, waterbase, discharge and hybrid.

Plastisol

Plastisol screen printing is the traditional style of screen printing that has been around forever. It is the most commonly used ink for screen printing because it is the cheapest and most user-friendly. It works on all types of fabrics, produces bright colors and is perfect for color matching. Like the name implies, plastisol inks are essentially plastic. The major downside to using plastisol inks is that the thickness of the ink can make the final print a bit on the rough side, which can feel heavy and less breathable. Colors can also bleed together when they touch and you do not get as much detail. Very detailed prints with small dots or lines may not print well.
Plastisol
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