FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS

The Bee’s Knees Print Studio is locally owned and operated in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

We are currently based out of a residential art studio, which is why you won’t see a physical address. I do most of my business from home, my studio, or on the go, but I’m more than happy to sit down with you at a coffee shop and discuss your project.

Like many local shops, we rely pretty heavily on word of mouth, so if you’ve gotten some prints from us, tell your friends! I’ll be expanding into an honest to goodness brick and mortar shop just as soon as I can, but for now printing out of my cramped little studio is working just fine.

If you’re a Santa Fe local and you’d like to get together, whether it be to discuss a project, learn more about printing, or just shoot the breeze over coffee, drop me a line!

Currently The Bee’s Knees offers screen printing and limited graphic design.

I’d love to help you with your design project, but if it’s not attached to a printing project I may not be able to dedicate the time you’d need to its completion. There are a zillion rad artists out there that would be stoked to work with you, and I’ve worked with many of them myself.

If you’re just looking for straight-forward prints for your business, band, charity, or event, I have no problem whipping those up for you and doing the design work in-house for a small fee.

We’ll be expanding into some heat transfer vinyl and sticker stuff soon, and I’ve got my sights set on in-house embroidery and Direct To Garment printing in the future, but for now I’m happy to provide the best hand-printed garments I can at great prices.

I began printing in early 2016.

Initially I wanted to print cool car t-shirts to help fund a race car build my buddy and I are working on. You can check out that project on Instagram @TunerPunk 

I’ll still print some Datsun tees from time to time, but more for fun than anything else.

Since my humble beginnings as a kitchen counter based screen printer, I’ve printed hundreds of free shirts for local non-profits, as well as countless awesome other items for artists, brands, and businesses all across the country! 

The Bee’s Knees Print Studio may be growing every year, but if you’re a little guy just getting started and want some cool stuff, I’d be super excited to hear from you!

Screen printing is awesome, is what!
It’s a method for decorating a substrate, really. The printer will coat a screen with a photo-sensitive emulsion, allow it to dry, and then cover a section of it with a positive of the image they’re trying to print. 

From there, we’ll expose the screen and the emulsion to light, allowing the areas outside the scope of the film positive to be cured, while the areas protected by the film are not. After that, we’ll wash away the unexposed areas with water, and press ink through those areas with a squeegee to replicate your image precisely as many times as necessary.

To put it simply, I’ll be pushing different colored inks through a hole in the screen onto your stuff in the shape of your art, and then curing that ink so it stays there forever.

There are tons of inks, screens, emulsions, and so forth, but that’s the basics for you!

One word here: YouTube.

You’d be amazed at what you can learn online! 

Some of my favorite Screen Printing YouTubers are The Print Life, Catspit Productions, Kevin Hackett, Ryonet, and Rhybeats, all for completely different aspects of professional screen printing. 

From there, I built my own press out of wood, clamped it to my kitchen table, and messed up about a thousand times until I figured out what I was doing.

Screen printing is an art, and I am always growing as a printer and experimenting with new techniques, but I’m happy to say that I can handle just about any project you throw at me, so get in touch!

I’ve become kind of a huge nerd about this stuff so if you’re interested in learning more, I’d be happy to talk your ear off. Check out the Contact page to get in touch and I’d be happy to give you a crash course.

PAYMENTS AND BILLING

There are four easy steps here.

1: Provide your artwork and request a quote.
2: I provide a mock-up of your art to serve as a rough idea of print placement and sizing, along with an all-inclusive quote. You’ll approve the mock-up or request revisions.
3: Once your mock-ups are approved you’ll receive an invoice. Upon receipt of full payment, we’ll be off to the races.
4: I order your garments, print them, and ship them out or deliver them myself to your door!

Easy Peasy! Things can get a little more involved if you need to provide an invoice to a corporate representative, make modifications to your artwork or garment quantities and sizes, or some other weird thing comes up, but it’s usually that simple.

I prefer PayPal payments for their protection on both ends, but can accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Checks will only be accepted from repeat customers or reputable local businesses, and must be approved before time of purchase. Check orders must be paid in full before production begins.

If you’re local and you have a wad of cash in your pocket you’d like to use, come on down! I’ll make you an invoice and provide it in person so we’ll both have records handy. 

Because we’re making customized products together, I am not able to accept returns.

Don’t panic, though, there are some policies in place that’ll make them unnecessary anyway!

Before production, I will send you a mock-up, and eventually a photo of your print for you to approve. Production will not begin until that approval is received. This means it’s your last chance to make any revisions, correct any errors in your original artwork, or make any changes. Once this approval is received, production will start right away, so please be sure when you approve your print that you’re happy with the product.

In the extremely unlikely event that your print is offset, out of place, or somehow incorrect after approval due to a mistake I’ve made, I will reprint any effected garments free of charge.

Please have a look at your order when you receive it to make sure you’re satisfied with our work, and let us know if you have any questions or concerns! I believe in 100% customer satisfaction, and always strive to provide the highest quality product I possibly can.

Super big garments are a bit more expensive, but I do not charge more to print them. If you need XXXXXXXXL t-shirts, let me know ahead of time so I can make sure they’re available in the garment model you’ve selected.

Things like hoodies and fleece items are more difficult to print, so the per-print price will increase a small amount to accommodate the additional considerations required when printing them.

Promotional items like tote bags are generally very inexpensive, but the printing process is the same as anything else. Your per-item expense will decrease, but the print expense will remain the same.

SCREEN PRINTING AND ARTWORK

This is a super important question to ask any printer, and I’ll tell you why.

I currently print with a six color commercial press.
Light garments generally allow ink deposits to maintain their colors without any issues. Dark garments require an “underbase”, or a layer of white or light ink underneath to preserve the color of the ink. This means that if you want black, navy, dark gray, or any other dark garment, I’ll need to use one of those six colors as the underbase, leaving only five available for the remainder of the art. Please keep this in mind when making your artwork and garment selections.

There are printing methods like CMYK or 4 Color Process, or Simulated Process which allow the inks to blend and provide a much higher number of available colors. These methods can be discussed if they will suit your needs and the needs of your particular print job.

There are three major ink types for textile printing.

Plastisol inks are a plastic-type solid in a carrier base. They provide extremely vibrant colors and tend to hold up longer than the shirt they’re on will. They have a slightly heavier feel depending on the area covered, are less expensive, and more readily available. These are the inks I use the most.

Waterbased inks are acrylic inks in a water base. Their colors tend to be less vibrant and have a more vintage or distressed appearance, but are softer to the touch. Waterbased inks require special curing procedures on t-shirts and other garments, but can air dry on paper substrates.

Discharge inks are waterbased inks with a discharge agent mixed in that removes the pigment of the shirt and replaces it with the pigment of the ink. They are the softest, but lose a lot of their color and contain unpleasant chemicals during the printing process. I generally avoid these inks due to my current equipment setup.

As you probably know, there are about a million different blends out there.

I try to stick to 100% cotton garments for printing because they wash the best, hold ink the best, and are the easiest to work with. Shirts and other garments blended with polyester or other non-natural fibers require special printing techniques which make them more expensive to order, and I find that they generally do not print as well as cotton does.

There’s an additive for just about everything. You can make ink stretch, cure at a lower temperature, bond to nylon or other plastics, and even puff up! I do charge a fee for additive printing, but if you’re looking for safety vests or windbreakers, we can certainly make that happen.

This is a question I get asked a ton. To answer, I want to detail the printing process a little better.

To print one shirt or a thousand I have to do the following:
Collect the artwork and prepare it for film output.
Burn the image into the screen, run a test print, and set the press up.
Order a blank garment.
Print the blank garment.
Deliver the blank garment.

This process can take quite a while, and eat up time I’d be spending printing larger jobs that were more profitable.

If you’d like, you can visit our Print Lottery page and sign up for a free t-shirt with your art on a first come, first served basis. As far as I know, I’m the only printer that does this, so check it out!

If you’re dead-set on getting a single garment ASAP with your thing on it, I do have a pricing method in place that I will make available to you. Standard ten business day turn-around will apply here because you’ll need to be entered into my current production schedule.

I sure can!

For t-shirts, I like to stick with Next Level Apparel, Bella Canvas, and Allmade. These shirts are all different profiles, but are all exremely soft, wash well with minimal shrinkage, and print great.

Next Level, Bella Canvas, and Allmade also make great hoodies, tank-tops, baseball tees, and a ton of other rad stuff. These are considered “mid-grade” garments, and are very affordable.

If you want to really crank up the quality, I’d suggest going with American Apparel. 

If you’re on a budget, Gildan, Jerzees, Hanes, and Fruit of the loom make some really good stuff that won’t break the bank. The profiles and cuts won’t be as premium, but they’ll last you a long time at a great price.

If that doesn’t answer your question, send it to me via our Contact page and I’ll get back to you in a jiff!

Yes, but there are some special considerations here.

I have wholesale accounts with a few very large garment vendors across the country. The price I pay for a t-shirt will be lower than yours which will save both of us a few bucks, and I can get nearly anything shipped to my door within three business days.

Screen printing is very exact and can be extremely precise, but it’s no science.

If there’s an issue with a misprint, or a problem with curing, I will not have access to the vendor that supplied your garments, which means I will not be able to replace anything that didn’t turn out just right. I always order a few extras in each batch, and if I don’t need them, you’ll get a few extra shirts at no additional cost.

On top of all that, places like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby tend to stock b-grade shirt blanks on their shelves so they can make a greater profit on their sales. The blanks I order come straight from the manufacturer, which reduces loose threads and weird stitches.

If you’d still like to provide your own garments, visit my Contact page to get in touch and inquire further. Special considerations like providing extra garments for testing and spoilage will be discussed and we’ll go from there!