heat press

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!

How to Create a Custom T-shirt Business

I’m fortunate to work in an industry with very little barrier to entry.  I’m also fortunate to work for a company that has taken the time and devoted the resources to making it as easy as possible to make those barriers even more insignificant.  Many entrepreneurs are drawn to our industry because the start-up costs can be under 1k.

Here’s what you need:

The steps are simple.  After you purchase your vinyl cutter and heat press, you can register a FREE account on CadWorx Live.  Login to CadWorx and find a design.  You have thousands of pieces of Clip art to choose from and hundreds of different templates!  Customize the design with your own text and send the design to your Clipper vinyl cutter.  The Clipper will cut out your design in the Heat Transfer Material of your choice.  Once it’s done cutting and you’ve weeded away the excess material, take the design to your Heat Press and heat apply to your T-shirt!

What makes my industry great is that it is as much fun to make custom shirts for yourself, friends, and family as it is to sell them to your customers!  For under 1k, you can either have a fun hobby (and probably less expensive than my wife’s hobby of shoe collecting) or a legit, profitable business!