If you are new to the heat transfer business or are thinking of starting out, you may have heard that there are three basics you need to know: Time, temperature, and pressure. Of these three, many issues or difficulties when heat pressing can be attributed to uneven pressure or too little pressure. We’ve outlined a few things below that will help you obtain a stress free heat transfer experience.
When applying different materials to the same garment, application order is key. Applying the materials in the order of thinnest to thickest will ensure the best pressure is applied for each. For example: if you have a very thin vinyl (such as metallic) and a thicker material (such as Siser’s new Brick), then you would want to apply the thinner material first, then press the thicker material.
Heat Transfer Pillows
Using a heat transfer pillow will allow you to apply even pressure on designs that fall close to zippers, collars, seams, and other parts of the garment that may cause uneven application. A heat transfer pillow is a foam core covered in a heat resistant material. They come in a variety of sizes, and therefore can be used for small garments and sleeves, or large garments and bags. It’s a small investment to make considering it will increase your production efficiency while decreasing the size of your “oops” pile.
Use a Heat Press
Although many simple designs can be applied with a nice clothing iron, it is very difficult to achieve even pressure throughout the pressing process without a heat press. Also, many thicker materials require a high amount of pressure to adhere properly, so unless you’re the incredible hulk, you might struggle to reach optimum pressure. This can limit the types of materials you want to use, therefore limiting your product offering. If you’re on the prowl for a heat press, take a look here.
Use the Right Platens
Platens are a great base for achieving even pressure, especially when using a heat press. They are sturdy, heat resistant, and have a firm yet flexibly tense surface. But using a platen that is too small or not the correct shape for your project can cause uneven pressure. If you make the investment for a decent heat press, go a step further and purchase a variety of platens to help you tackle sleeves, koozies, or whatever else you’re offering.
Do Your Research
When purchasing any heat transfer materials, always look to see what the temperature and pressure requirements are. Each materials application requirements vary depending on thickness, the type of adhesive, and the finish. Most manufacturers and distributors will have this information online or in a spec sheet or catalog. Siser has a great mobile app where you can look up all the info you need right from your phone. If you prefer a more tangible resource, other manufacturers have information booklets and catalogs that you can flip through. You can even download our DigiC.A.T. application chart here.
Exercising these 5 tips will give you a less painful working environment, help speed up production, and reduce time troubleshooting. This will leave you more time to do what you love: designing fun and trendy heat transfer projects!