Behind the Scenes: What happens at a shirt printing company

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Numerous steps go into designing a T-shirt and it all starts with the graphic designer. Then it's printed.

The more colors in the design, the more it gets separated.  

"So this is what's printed out. It's printed out on a piece of film and as you can see, this is a two color print," said Cozmo Holloway while holding two pieces of film in the air.

He's the production manager at Nothing Too Fancy's printing facility. There's not a color they don't have or can make.

"Any kind of requests or special colors and stuff like that, we can achieve here," said Holloway.

The printed film is then transferred to a thin screen under intense light. It's then pressure washed and the screen is ready for ink.

Shirts are chosen and rotate from station to station, passing under quick heaters to help dry the ink, before moving on and picking up additional colors, if the graphic calls for it.  

"Lighter shirts are great, darker shirts are a little trickier. The heathering will show through the ink," said Holloway.

Then they go through a dryer, similar to a commercial pizza oven, just not as hot. From there, the shirts get separated by size, folded, put into a box and sent to the store.

Nothing Too Fancy is located on Union Avenue in downtown Knoxville.

"Anything that makes Knoxville unique, we put it on a T-shirt," said Nothing too Fancy owner Lisa Burnett.

This year will be Burnett's fifth year in business.  

"The Body Farm has been popular since we debuted it around Halloween; it's been very popular. Our biggest one lately is probably the new, 'Orange and Aight,' we have it in two different colors. It was a big hit on Instagram, so that's the one everyone is excited about right now," said Burnett.  

Others are definitely taking notice, like Emily Kirk, a freshman at UT and her mom, who stopped in.

"I like this shirt and I thought the Body Farm was really cute. My mom likes the Blizzard of '93. She was sending it to my dad saying how he would love that too," said Kirk.

Holloway said the majority of their printed shirts are for their retail store, but they've done custom orders for the Boys and Girls Club and Tennessee Valley Bikes.

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