Our unique Gang Run/Silkscreen Sticker Printing technique is a very labor intensive (and time consuming) process that results in the very best, highest quality stickers on the market. Due to the nature of the process, turn around time typically takes about 2-3 weeks, but can take more or less time, depending on a number of factors.
We understand, especially in this day and age of instant gratification and same-day-drone® shipping, that awaiting your precious stickers can be frustrating, but we want to assure you that your patience will be rewarded once you see the extremely high caliber of stickers that we produce.
Below, we’ve outlined the steps involved so that you are aware of where your stickers are during production, while becoming familiar with our printing process…
You placed an order and uploaded your Sticker Art.
We review each sticker file to ensure that it is ready for press.
We check the dimensions of your sticker file, vs the dimensions on the order form.
We double check the bleed, safety, die lines and anything important to our printing process.
If file corrections are simple, we will fix your file and approve the order. If the file requires extra attention, or customer approval, we will email you with specifics and/or request a new sticker file.
Note: your order will not be sent to press until the artwork is approved and ready to print.
Your Artwork is now approved. Next we begin Pre-Production.
Pre-Production entails simultaneously preparing all of our customer’s stickers for press. This includes the meticulous process of “Color Separation and Trapping,” where each sticker file is independently separated into 4 colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and then recreated/recomposed of tiny dots. This is how we can make thousands of colors from CMYK. Some color compensation is done on our end to ensure the best, most vibrant colors.
Next is the Sheet Layout, where we organize all stickers from each gang-run onto one individual 30″ X 40″ sheet and prepare all of the files for film. During this phase, we also clean and ready the press, prepare the dark room, silkscreens, emulsion, etc. while organizing the sticker material and inks, so that once the film comes back, we are ready to print.
Now your artwork is ready to send to film.
Sent to Film
The finished sticker sheet layout is sent to the film house. The film house prints 6-7 large sets of film for every gang run. One set of film for each color, C,M,Y & K, one set of film for the black and white back print and one set of film for the die cutter to use as a guide.
Timing can vary, but this process usually takes a couple of days to get back into our hands to be prepared for press.
Now that we have the film in our hands, we expose the pre-prepared screens one at a time. Again, this process takes some time.
Silkscreen sticker printing is all about set up and preparation. Once the files are actually on press, the actual printing goes rather quickly.
Every single Sticker Sheet is printed one color at a time and one sheet at a time. As the sticker sheet comes off the press, it is instantly “flash-dried” with a UV light, and stacked into a pile.
Essentially, every sticker is printed one at a time, this results in very thick ink and vibrant colors and an incredibly high quality sticker.
Here’s some extra details about our printing process.
While your stickers are being printed, our metal dies are being made by hand. A brand new, unique die is made for each and every sticker that we have ever printed.
Using the film as a guide, the metal dies are formed with hand tools (much like a cookie cutter) and then hammered into a pre-jigged piece of plywood.
The edges of the dies are filled in with rubber, and the entire gang-run die is put inside of a stamping machine. Then, each sheet of vinyl is put into the machine, one at a time, where the large sticker sheets are essentially stamped out into individual stickers. We do this thousands of times over, at which point the stickers are collected and organized into stacks of 250.
Your stickers are now ready for packing. Stickers are quickly analyzed, one at a time to ensure quality. We always print 10% extra stickers per order, to ensure that all of your stickers meet our high expectations.
Any misprinted or mis-registered stickers are shredded, but that is rarely the case. We almost always send the extra stickers to you, free of charge. Look for the “Free Stickers” sealed packs.
Boxes are filled with a corn-based packing peanuts (just pour them into the sink and add water to dissolve) and your stickers are sealed inside the boxes.
Now we’re getting close! The final step of the puzzle is organizing your stickers for shipping. Your FedEx or USPS tracking number will be emailed to you any time now.
Let us know what you think when your stickers arrive. We’d love to hear from you with any comments or suggestions. Thanks for being patient. Quality takes time!