Printing t-shirts on a budget?
March 3, 2008 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I need an online store that will screen print t-shirts for a low price.

I need to print a bunch of shirts (about 14). Printing locally seems quite expensive and all the online stores I find want a minimum of 36 or more. Some seem to be cheap but they get you with the set up charge ($45 for each color!). Have any of you tried an online store that is cheap and reliable?
posted by special-k to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I had some great luck with when I did a run for team softball shirts a couple of years ago. Good customer service, quick turn-around, and a neat little tool to visually design your shirt (and you can upload images, which was very useful for us). They weren't super cheap, but it ran to less than $20 per shirt, and we had lots of printing on them (names + numbers + a logo).
posted by tigerjade at 12:33 PM on March 3, 2008

the cost/time of making shirts is creating the screen(s) used to perform the printing. for a run as small as you are talking about im not sure you are going to be able to find a professional printer who charges significantly less.

do you have any art school near you? you might be able to find a student willing to do it for significantly less.

are you crafty? if so you could create the screens yourself. a basic screen printing kit will run you somewhere around $60 at any decent art store. googiling for "screen printing tutorial" will return plenty of information on what you will be getting yourself into if you decide to go this route.
posted by phil at 12:36 PM on March 3, 2008

Best answer: I've never used them, but all the cool webcomic artists use Brunetto. His pricing appears to be super awesome. Lots of samples of people that have used him that you may or may not recognize on the main page.
posted by kpmcguire at 12:37 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks kpmcguire! I own many of those shirts (xkcd, wondermark etc.) so I know the quality and the price is also the best I've seen. You made my day. :)
posted by special-k at 1:13 PM on March 3, 2008

The place I work can do t-shirts really well, but as phil mentioned above, small runs are not very cost effective. You'd probably be surprised at how cheap the actual shirts are these days, but screening them really well, with multiple colors? There's quite a bit of skill involved.
posted by snofoam at 1:55 PM on March 3, 2008

Spreadshirt has a solid reputation in terms of quality and price. CafePress is almost embarassingly bad and you'll want to avoid them like the plague. You can see video comparison of those two and Zazzle here.

Bear in mind that you do get what you pay for, and most online fulfillment services will pale in comparison to a good local screenprinter. Whether the time and money you'll save will be worth the dip in quality depends on what shirts will be used for. If you're just passing them around to your friends then you'll probably be satisfied with Spreadshirt, but if you're looking to seriously impress somebody you may want to consider stepping it up. Your preferences may vary, of course.
posted by Smallpox at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2008 can do your shirts with a direct printing system, if you're looking for good quality.
posted by lealynn at 11:20 PM on March 3, 2008

Response by poster: I just got my shirts from Brunetto and they are absolutely fantastic [both in quality and cost]. I highly recommend him.
posted by special-k at 7:12 PM on March 23, 2008

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