heat press application tips

Heat Pressing Performance Apparel

Decorating Performance apparel can pose a few challenges.  The low scorching point, stretchability of the fabrics, and complex fabric composition has challenged decorators and their suppliers to come up with new techniques and products.

Heat pressing Performance apparel using the incorrect products and methods can lead to scorch marks and poor quality transfers.  However, two products recently introduced can be applied at a low temp and a short dwell time, making them the ideal materials to use.

Spectra Perform Cut is a “Cut-only” Heat Transfer Vinyl that applies at only 280 degrees.  For full color, Spectra Perform is a Solvent or Eco-Solvent printable line of products that can also be applied at 280 degrees.  Both products have a unique adhesive that will adhere to Polyester, Nylon, Lycra and many synthetic blends.  Both also offer tremendous Stretch and Rebound, which will keep the decoration looking great, even after they’ve been stretched out.

If you’ve tried decorating Performance apparel before, but didn’t like the “heat press box” that accompanied your transfer, give one of these new products a try!

 

Understanding Heat Press Accessories

There are a lot of accessories available for your heat press.  Understanding the available accessories, how and when they’re used can have a big impact on your business!

Cover sheets 

Cover sheets are used with almost every heat transfer.  Their purpose is to protect the transfer, material being applied to, and the platen of your press.  Commonly used cover sheets are Reusable Cover Sheets (“Teflon” Sheets), Kraft Paper, and Silicone Cover Sheets.  You can achieve a different effect on some transfers using the different cover sheets.  Reusable cover sheets can add a bit of Gloss, while Kraft Paper and Silicone sheets usually provide a Matte effect.  Reusable cover sheets are the most durable.  If you take care of them, they should last dozens, if not hundreds of presses.  Kraft Paper will usually last 25 – 50 presses and Silicone cover sheets will normally last only a few presses.

Pad Protectors

“Quick Slip” Pad Protectors are made of the same material as Reusable cover sheets.  Their purpose is to protect your lower platen from damage due to an accidental press, reduce wear of the pad on the lower platen, and make it easier to slide your garments on and off the press.  A Quick Slip is a “must” for any heat press owner!

Heat Printing Pillows

Heat Printing Pillows are used to absorb thick seams and neck lines, pockets, and other obstructions.  Pillows are made of very similar materials to the Reusable Cover Sheets, stuffed, and sewn.

Print Perfect Pads

If you have a “hard” obstruction that cannot just be absorbed by the Heat Printing Pillows, or if you need to raise the application area, you’ll want to use a Print Perfect Pad.  Zippers and Buttons are common examples of obstructions that make a nice flat surface area difficult to achieve.  The Print Perfect Pad targets your application area and allows the obstruction to fall to the side and out of your way.

Interchangeable Platens

Hotronix Heat Presses are outfitted with a “quick change” platen, giving you the ability to quickly and easily change out the lower platen that is on your press.  Available Platen sizes are 6″ x 10″, 8″ x 10″, 7″ round, 11″ x 15″, as well as some “specialty” platens, like the Hat Bill Platen, Can Cooler Platen, and Shoe Platen.  Custom made Platens are also available.   The 6″ x 10″ and 8″ x 10″ platens are ideal for smaller application areas, like a left chest application, new born and toddler apparel, or labels.  The 7″ round platen is ideal for the ends of Tote bags and other “hard to get to” areas.  11″ x 15″ is my preferred platen for decorating women’s apparel and any simple “front” applications.  Changing out the platen will make the application process much more production friendly, as well as help to eliminate any ruined garments because of uneven pressure!

All of these (and more!) accessories are available from Imprintables Warehouse.  Click or call today!

Revised Material Calculator

A while back i posted my Material Calculator and it has been the most popular post on my blog.  Many customers have used the calculator to help them determine both the yardage needed and the cost per design for their Heat Transfer Material, namely our Spectra Eco-Film (check out the Color Chart).

Since i first posted the Material Calculator about a year and a half ago, there have been a few changes to the product offering.  Some highlights are the addition of some more “fashionable” materials like our Spectra Alloy, Spectra Glitz, Spectra Gloss and a few others.  We’ve also lowered the price on our popular Spectra Patterns.

Here’s an example of what you can do using the Material Calculator:

A customer comes to you and needs 24 6×8 designs printed on the front of their shirts.  Using the material calculator, you can quickly find out you’ll need only two yards to complete the job and each design will cost you $0.69 using the Spectra Eco-Film.  You’ll also see what the cost would be for other material options if you chose to offer a glitter, glow in the dark or other type of design option.

The updated version of the calculator can be found in the Box on the left hand side.  It is named Material Calculator v.2.1.  If you have any questions at all on how to use the spreadsheet, please email me!

Solving Dye-Migration

Dye-Migration is dye from a sublimated fabric bleeding through and dyeing a heat transferred design. Since Polyester is the only fabric that is gets its color from the sublimation process, it’s the only fabric that you’ll see migrate. Dye-Migration should not be confused with opacity. In the world of garment decoration, opacity refers to a heat transfer blocking out the color of the dark garment where as migration is the dye of the fabric coming through and becoming a part of the transfer.

So how do you solve Dye-Migration? Simply by using the right product. Standard heat transfers may not block migration. If you run in to an angry polyester that doesn’t like being transferred on to, you can use the Solutions Sub-Block for a full color printable fabric or Spectra Sub-Stop for single color vinyl cut transfer. Both products are available from Imprintables Warehouse and from me by requesting a sample.

Please see the pictures below for what migration looks like and how much a difference using the correct media makes.  The fabric this material is applied to is one of the popular performance wear garments. 

Heat transfer with Dye-Migration:

migration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same heat transfer using the Solutions Sub-Block:

sub-block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Side by side comparison:

side by side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The side by side comparison really shows the migration from one transfer to the next.  It is most apparent in the white but the entire design is noticeably faded. 

Dye-migration can be a problem but certainly not one that can’t be avoided or fixed.  Just like choosing the correct transfer for a cotton or nylon, choosing the correct transfer for garments prone to migrate is essential to success as a garment decorator.

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The Versatility of the VersaCAMM

Q:  What is the worst thing you can tell your customer? 

A:  “No.”

How many times have you had to tell your customers “No”?  Far too often I’m sure.  If it’s not “no”, then it may be “I’ll have it for you in two weeks” because you have to outsource the job.  There isn’t a machine out there that will give every customer everything they want, but there is one that will give you a heck of a start.  That machine is the Roland VersaCAMM.

So what makes the VersaCAMM such a versatile machine?  Consider the following.  Imprintables Warehouse offers 15 different types of Digital Media…and that’s just for garment decoration!  While most would expect a media for cotton, poly and cotton/poly blends to be available, they may be unaware that they can decorate performance wear, spandex, nylon, leather, both light and darks, just by switching out the media loaded in the machine.  Possible applications range from the common t-shirt to fire retardant leather race apparel to polypropelene bags that have become popular in the Promotional Product industry.  Not to mention socks, shoes, shorts & sandles…and much more!  And yes, i did spend a minute or two trying to think of another product you can decorate than begins with an “s” but decided to go on with the post.  No sense getting sidetracked. 

How about a printable Flock?  Anyone have a need for full color Reflective printing for safety apparel?  Have you had requests for a Puff print on a t-shirt?  Metallic is another effect that can serve an entire new market.  If your customers haven’t asked you for this yet, it may only be because they haven’t seen it! 

Speaking of new markets…Imprintables Warehouse has introduced a new line of printable material.  Our NAM line, or Non-Apparel Media is a bit of a departure from what has always been availabe from IW.  These materials were brought on to work in conjuction with the digital media for garment decoration that was mentioned above.  The difference is that these are not heat applied medias, but pressure sensitive.  Same printer, same inks, more versatility.  Imprintables Warehouse now stocks 12 more medias (that’s a total of 27 if you’re playing along) for application on to football, baseball & hockey helmets, stickers, laptop skins, removable wall graphics and posters just to name a few.  Consider the ability to print on banners, vehicle graphics, custom labels for bottles and window displays.  The list goes on and on!

Think about this.  Your customer brings you one piece of artwork.  All they may expect is a new t-shirt, hoodie or maybe a cap.  If you can offer them what they came to you for, that’s great.  Having the ability to offer them so much more will bring in more $$$$ and make for a happier customer and a happier you! 

If you are intersted in adding the Roland VersaCAMM or if you’ve already made the investment and you’re interested in any of the medias offered by Imprintables Warehouse, please email me at adam@imprintables.com.  You can also call me in the office at 1-800-347-0068 x 234 or on my cell at 724-322-1085.

If you’re interested in reading more about the VersaCAMM, please read a previous post – Comparing the Versacamm – Direct to Garment.

Thanks for reading!

AY