Category Archives: Apparel


The Friskies awards celebrate the only thing that makes the internet worth itvideos of cats! Kong was excited to print awards shirts for the 2nd year in a row for this beloved event. IMG_9084IMG_9080 IMG_9085

TOMS card

TOMS Shoes is launching their new Austin store on March 11th, 2014 on S. Congress. To celebrate the new launch, TOMS collaborated with Alyson Fox, an Austin based designer who has worked with the likes of West Elm and Hawkins New York. Her work has been profiled in the Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, Style and many others.


When TOMS contacted Kong about printing Alyson’s designs on 150 pair of their classics, we didn’t hesitate. A first round of prototyping proved challenging as the shoes are designed with a raised seam that traverses the front toe cap. The problem was how to get the squeegee to ride evenly over the front of the shoe so that the right amount of ink could be deposited and provide a sharp crisp look to  Alyson’s minimal design. Initial tests were promising, but we knew we would have to work very hard to make printing on an after production shoe look seamless.

Kong prototypes


Kong’s printers and problems solvers, Brian Phillips, Bruce Braden and Katie Neustaedter  put their heads together and devised a system that got us the high quality results we demand of ourselves. In particular, Brian built a custom printing template that would allow for precise placement of the graphic with just the right amount of ink to make the design pop. We would tell you how he did it, but we’d have to. . .well, you know.


Kong and TOMS were quite pleased with the results – 150 limited edition Classics that will be available at the launch of TOMS new store on March 11th. We hope to see you at the launch!

Alyson Fox TOMS classic Front

TOMS Alyson Fox Shoes




One of the most common questions we get is “How do I pick the right t-shirt for my project?” And, with so many options available to you in today’s market, it’s not an easy question to answer.


Kong groups shirts into 4 basic tiers based upon the type of materials used, the brand name, the point of manufacture, and how well we have found the shirts to print and last over time. We typically recommend going with the best shirt your budget affords, as people like to wear shirts that fit well, are soft, and will last for a long time.


When determining what shirt is right for your project, material is the first essential element to consider. Cotton is, by far, the most common material used to make garments, and manufacturers use a variety of terms to let you know what type of cotton they are using. 100% Preshrunk Cotton and 100% Ringspun Cotton are the two most common types used. Manufacturers also use synthetic fibers including Polyester, Rayon and Spandex in garments as well. Sometimes these fibers will be blended with the natural cotton to yield a different type of shirt.


Preshrunk or “Open Cotton” shirts are the least expensive option you can choose for your project. The typical weights for a t-shirt in this category are 5.0 – 6.5 ounces and would be considered “Heavyweight”. Because this type of cotton is just one step above raw cotton, it cannot be woven as fine or as soft. Most common brands/models for this type of shirt would be Gildan 2000 and 5000, Hanes Tagless and Beefy T, Jerzees 29.


Ringspun Cotton shirts are lighter weight and have stronger fibers because they are made with a higher grade of cotton. Sometimes called combed ringspun cotton, this way of making a shirt creates a tighter weave and softer feel. Common brands we regularly use in this category include Next Level 3600, Bella+Canvas 3001 and American Apparel 2001’s (American Made). These brands are considered fashion forward in cut and feel and typically offer men’s/unisex and ladies companion styles in the same color selection.


Polyester is great at keeping us cool and is often marketed as a moisture wicking fabric or High Performance Shirt. There lots of terms manufacturers use to brand this fiber – for instance, Cool-max or Clima-cool – but they are generally made from 100% poly or a mixture of it and other synthetics.


When considering the tee that’s best for you, one great shirt option combines a high quality ringspun cotton with polyester. Many common blend ratios are 50/50, 60/40 and 65/35. Blending the two fabrics increases strength, decreases weight, and adds to softness. Although not a moisture wicking shirt, these blends do reduce sweating and show fewer stains. Common brands we print in this category would be the American Apparel BB401 (50/50), the Next Level Cotton/Poly 6200 (65/35) or CVC 6210 (60/40), and the Bella+Canvas 3650 (52/4).


Still another approach is the much beloved Tri-blend – a shirt using ringspun cotton, polyester and rayon. American Apparel’s version is the TR401, which they call the Track Tee. The Bella+Canvas 3413 and Next Level 6010 are also great options for Tri-blend shirts.


All of the above shirts, namely ringspun cotton, Polyester and Cotton/Poly blends will commonly come in Crew Necks & V-Necks and in Men’s & Women’s Styles. Some brands offer tank tops, racerbacks, deep V necks, scoop necks and youth styles as well.


Brand, fit and style options are often a matter of personal preference. However one thing is certain, there is no shortage of options to choose from when selecting shirts for your screen-printed project. Our staff is happy to advise you on what shirt will best fit your project and your budget. We also welcome you to come to our studio to see and feel the difference for yourself.

Born To Lose, Live to WInBeezelbub


Kong is excited to announce two new designs for the Kong Artist Series. “Born to Lose” uses discharge ink, on a tri-blend Bella+Canvas shirt which keeps it nice and soft. The other is our “Beelzebub,”  a black ink on black shirt with a high gloss overprint. Available in men’s and women’s styles, these cool shirts throw out the meek in favor of the metal. Get yourself one exclusively through the Kong Shop.

Two Arms Inc. is a ( soon to be husband and wife team ) founded by Mike Tabie and Karen Goheen in 2009. They met 6 years ago in Orlando, FL while working with a local design agency and screen-printing together on nights and weekends. Karen and Mike independently moved to New York but continued to work separately within large and small design agencies. After a year they decided to take the plunge and partner together and start a business focused on their unique own vision. Two Arms’ focus and dedication to craftsmanship, attention to detail, and that sweet spot between concept and execution have got them noticed in a lot of places, just like these shirts will get you noticed. For more info visit

Kong Artist Series

Kong is excited to announce our new project, launching  11.15.2013.  Has Launched. You’ll be able to see the first editions at our studios during the East Austin Studio Tour starting tomorrow. See the shirts now by clicking here.

We’re taking art off the wall and putting it on you!

The Kong Artist Series (#KAS) is an ongoing collaborative series between Kong Screenprinting and leading contemporary artists.  Kong invites an established or emerging artist to design a series of shirts, focused on a theme of subject the artist selects. No limitations are placed on subject matter. Artist are encouraged to experiment with the T-shirt as a venue for their concept and aesthetics, and to use it as a way to build more intimate connections with the wearer.

The designs are printed on the finest garments with premium inks and the utmost attention of Kong’s Master Printers. Initial runs of each design will be 60 shirts, which are published as open editions. Every detail has been considered. Our approach is simple – use the highest highest quality garments and processes possible, and let the art shine.

Garments tell as story about who we are and what we care about in the world. The Kong Artist Series appeals to people who realize that graphics can project quality, intellect, humor and beauty. If you’re looking for something unique, the Kong Artist Series will offer you new ways to break the mold.

To launch the series, Kong has selected three artists – Jiha Moon, M-lon (AKA Miguel Gonzalez)  and Kristofer Porter. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come:

Sneak Peak of Jiha Moon Art #KAS

Sneak Peak of M-lon Art #KAS

Sneak Peak of Kristofer Porter Design #KAS

Sneak Peak of Kristofer Porter Art#KAS


November Sale

Kong is offering you a deal during November– 50- 1 color Premium Ring Spun Cotton Bella Canvas 3001’s with a 1 (one) color front imprint for $340 per shirt (not including sales tax). That works out to less than $7 a shirt! Please email with the subject line: November Sale and get yourself some cool shirts!


Over the last two months, Kong has been printing a custom line of apparel for the startup Girls Will Be. Their mission is to create clothes that break free of the stereotypical girly styles dominating retail today. Girls Will Be is committed to providing girls more options to express their individuality with colors and designs that go beyond pink, girly embellishments and gender stereotypes.

highres_113_scKong worked diligently to customize every aspect of the printing of this line of 14 new designs. Girls Will Be founder, Sharon Choksi was onsite in the press room, working  with our team to make sure each color was perfect, each placement exact and that every detail of this Made in the USA (and printed in Texas!) product was high quality and fun. Please visit the Girls Will Be website and store. We’re sure you’ll find something special for that little girl you know who prefers to express her individuality in a color other than pink!

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.