Custom design rates can vary widely. Here's a rundown of my process for getting an image from an idea to a printed creation.
Each project starts with either creating an image from scratch or modifying your existing high resolution original.
Prior to printing the image is inverted into a "negative" and prepared for our Epson 4300 large format film printer. The image is converted from black to CMYK and expertly adjusted to maximize opacity on the printed film positive (something like a transparency sheet you'd use with those old school projectors).
Next I prepare the screen - a 20x24" aluminum frame stretched tight as the dickens with silk. Each image has a specific mesh count that works best, so several different mesh counts are kept on hand. Once your screen is chosen it gets degreased, coated with a photosensitive emulsion under low light and left to dry overnight.
Exposure's up next. The printed film positive is placed on our dedicated Ranar exposure unit, followed by the screen directly on top. The exposure will then blast the screen with UV light, hardening the emulsion except for where it's blocked by the image on the film positive.
Immediately after exposure the screen is sprayed with water, revealing a perfect stencil of your image - I love this part, it's so much fun every time! Each screen is post-hardened in the sun and set aside to dry completely.
Now we're ready to print on the four arm/four station Hopkins press. The platens/shirtboards get prepped with a thin layer of eco-friendly adhesive to make the canvas or shirt stay put. Once the screen's loaded onto the press we're ready for the ink and squeegee action. I do a lot of white ink on dark shirts. This requires a 3 step process of printing, briefly curing the ink with a flash dryer, and printing again for maximum coverage and a print that pops.
The last stage is curing the ink. Cure times vary among different inks, but usually require the finished shirt being heated to 320 degrees for 2-3 minutes to ensure a lasting print that won't fade or crack.