How To Heat Press a T-shirt – A step-by-step process

Whether you want to put your favorite player’s name and number at the back of your jersey or you are a design enthusiast, heat transfer stands out as a modern, effortless, and flexible method of printing your artwork onto T-shirts. If you want to know How To Heat Press a T-shirt then you can read our guideline. Through this step by step process, you can get the idea about printing your own t-shirts at home with a simple machine and can start your own t-shirt printing business.

As an evolving means of designing clothes, it has become a great alternative to the classic screen printing. Heat transfer gives your shirt a neat and nice look. You can be sure of getting that awesome design printed on your shirt exactly the way it looks on the screen.

Heat transfer is a very good method of designing clothes for T-shirt entrepreneurs because it is not only easy and affordable; it is also a great way to custom design T-shirts. With heat press transfer, you don’t have to worry about quantity because, as opposed to screen printing, customers don’t have to order in large quantities. Whether you order one copy or a thousand, heat transfer is still very affordable.

The concept of heat transfer is very simple; all you need is a heat press machine, an inkjet printer with regular printer inks or T-shirt inks. The paper used for transfer heat in T-shirt printing is called carrier paper.

This carrier paper has a film on it. The side of the film on it is the side that the design will be printed on. The unprinted part of this sheet has to be trimmed using a vinyl cutting machine before printing, and then the transfer will be placed on the shirt and eventually heated in a heat press with medium to high pressure.

As a T-shirt entrepreneur, you have to understand how to balance the choice of what you want and what you should actually do. There are some important choices you should make as an entrepreneur; some of these choices are highlighted below.

How To Heat Press a T-shirt – A step by step Guideline

Iron Vs Heat Press

No matter what quality or brand of paper you use, no matter how carefully the ironing is done, the heat press will always give you a better quality.

Anyone who is not in the business might consider using the iron instead of the heat press because it is readily available. But if you have to do this frequently, or you have to transfer your designs to a lot of T-shirts, then you should consider getting a heat press machine.

As an entrepreneur, using the pressing iron for heat transfer is not an option; you have to get a good heat printing machine and heat transfer vinyl.

The quality of Your machine

You need to buy an effective, reliable and high-quality heat press machine. A good way to know the quality of your machine first hand is to check the temperature at the middle and edges of the plate. To get the temperature reading across several points on your plate, you can make use of an infrared heat gun. If the discrepancy in the temperature at various points is too much, you don’t want to buy that kind of plate. You need a heat press machine that’s heating element covers the whole of the plate and consequently makes the plate has a fairly uniform temperature throughout, this would ensure that the transfer of the design is uniform and perfect. You will also have to worry less about inefficient transfer or peeling off of the design.

Needless to say, heat press machines are not created equal. They range from very basic machines to professional ones that are used for making bulk orders. The simple heat press machines are good and affordable for home use and for entrepreneurs that are just starting out. Professional heat printing machines have a much bigger platen which enables them to transfer on larger fabrics. The professional heat press also has sophisticated features like pressure, temperature and time settings. This is the ideal heat press machine for T-shirt entrepreneurs who are planning to offer orders by thousands in the future.

Professional Grade paper vs. “Store Bought” Paper

There is a large difference between a regular a paper and the professional grade carrier paper. The regular paper, which is available at office supply or departmental stores, is specifically designed for the low-end home iron.

You should not think of starting out a professional heat transfer service with a “store bought” heat transfer paper. This will not give a quality that is good enough. The professional grade paper is actually cheaper and better, why buy a regular “store bought” heat transfer paper?

Inkjet Printers vs. Laser Printers

Instead of using the laser printers, we suggest that entrepreneurs use a color laser printer for various reasons.

First, an excellent inkjet printer is costing much less than a laser jet printer. Second, refilling your inkjet printer is stress-free. Third, inkjet printers are the ideal printers for producing good heat transfers, not all laser printers can do the job.

Hard hand Vs Soft hand

These terms refer to how a transfer feels before and after washing. A soft hand can be felt but is not objectionable. A hard hand, however, is very stiff and can be objectionable.

Consider using a heat transfer paper that has a relatively soft hand after transfer and is even softer after washing. You certainly don’t want a transfer paper that gives a cardboard feel, you want a quality soft hand paper that will have enough film to make the image stick to the garment. You will always be able to feel it, however, but it will have a nice and soft feel.

Opaque Transfer Paper Vs Clear Transfer Paper

The choice of which of these transfer papers depends on the color of the fabrics. The clear transfer paper is used for white and other light colored materials and the opaque transfer paper is used for deep colored and dark fabrics.

Your inkjet printed transfers Vs Pre-printed transfers

The choice of which type of transfer to use also depends on various factors because they serve different needs and purposes.

Many pre-printed transfers are screen printed on a special type of paper. These are very common and you can get them online. When you transfer of a shirt and heat it in a heat press, the ink becomes soft and sticky. The ink then sticks tightly to the shirt so that the paperback is easily removed.

Unlike pre-printed transfers, many inkjet printed transfers involve custom designs, images, and colors. This customization, with no setup costs, and low startup costs, and quick turnaround times, are the fundamental qualities of printing your own particular warmth transfers.

These focused qualities are important to the point that even numerous screen-printing services additionally offer inkjet printed transfers.

The most important key on the best way to start a T-shirt printing business to remember about inkjet printed heat transfers, is how it works.

By itself, the ink has no capacity to adhere to a shirt! It requires some kind of film to make the design stay on the shirt. This film covers the paper sheet. This additionally implies that if you do not trim off the unprinted areas, the film on that area will also be on your shirt.

There is no real way to get around this reality. Obviously, a rectangular or square picture is very easy to trim. The potential trouble is in attempting to trim an irregular shape.

While inkjet printed transfers are not the answer for every printing situation, the market is huge to the point that literarily several thousands of shirts are sold each day with this procedure.

Including a Rhinestone or two transforms a basic design on a shirt into a 3-D impact that increases the value of the design. It gives a radical new measurement to pennies!

Using the Machine

Whether you are using a basic or sophisticated heat transfer machines, heat press machines basically function they same and are operated the same way. Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to operate the heat press machine:

Put on the machine by pressing the on/off switch

Turn the thermostat knob to the right until you can see the red heating light.

Turn the knob back to the left until the heating light turns off when the thermometer indicates the desired temperature for your transfer, The red heating light will turn on and off at intervals to regulate your desired temperature.

Set the heating time by pressing your digital timer if your machine has one. Press stop to reset when you hear the alarm.

Open the press by lifting the handle

Lay the transfer onto the spot you want the design to appear on the paper.

Close the machine against your fabric and the transfer and lock it firmly.

Set the timer based on the instructions you see on your transfer paper.

Lift the handle to open the machine.

Peel the transfer paper off the face of your shirt. You should read the instructions to know whether it is a “hot peel” or “cold peel” paper.

Wait for at least 24hours before washing.

You can also check our detail guide about using heat press machine

Tips When Using a Heat Press

Don’t be afraid of applying heat. It takes a lot of heat to get the design transferred to your material evenly and properly. Low heat supply will cause the design not to stick to your T-Shirt

Make sure you stretch the T-shirts before putting them on your heat press machine, this should be done to avoid the print from cracking. This is all about your DIY t-shirt printing at home process. There are lots of DIY t-shirts printing methods and we have discussed only one method here. Hope, you enjoy 🙂

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