How to use Heat Press Machine; A Step by Step Guide

A heat press machine requires a complete understanding of its knowledge. The steps must be followed properly to ensure the effective working of the heat press machine. Investing in a good heat press machine is extremely important to perfectly press the fabric. Smaller press machines are suitable for smaller designs. Whereas, larger heat press machines provide a greater variety of designs.

Heat press machine

The new, no-fuss method of printing designs onto t-shirts is the heat press system, heat transfer printing, t-shirt heat press, or simply t-shirt press. But as far as durability and consistency are concerned, screen printings are more efficient.

Regular consumers, on the other hand, have no way of knowing the difference between a shirt that is heat pressed and a shirt that is screen printed. This is beneficial to t-shirt vendors as heat press printing is not only simple and inexpensive, but it also allows for customized tee shirt printing.

For screen printings, a customer should order printing fabrics in a large quantity otherwise the cost per piece will be too expensive. However, heat press will be comparatively more cheaper even if you order one or thousands.

How to use a heat press machine

Not all heat press machines are designed in the same way. The performance and the working pattern vary. Certain heat press machines are just functional without any extra specifications are ideal for home use. They are economical and a good option if you are new to heat press machines.

Advanced heat press machines are designed for large-scale production. The large metal board helps to accommodate large garments and has a larger working area. There are also more advanced options available on specialist heat press machines to control temperature, time, and pressure.

Before purchasing a heat press machine, it is important to clear all the confusion and go through all the steps thoroughly to avoid mistakes. The detailed step-by-step guideline on how to properly use a heat press machine is given below.

  1. Turn on the heat press machine by simply switching on the on/off button.
  2. Start rotating the thermostat knob in the right direction until a red heating light appeared.
  3. As soon as the desired temperature is showed by a thermostat knob, rotate back the knob in the left direction until the red heating light disappears.
  4. The appearance and disappearance of red heating light is to maintain the temperature you need.
  5. If the heat press machine is supplied with a pre-installed timer, then turn on the timer and when the alarms start ringing carefully turn off the timer.
  6. To open up the press machine, hold and pull the handle.
  7. Place the t-shirt and set the transfer paper upside down inside the shirt.
  8. After placing the t shirt and the transfer paper, release the pressure on the handle and bring it down securely locking it.
  9. According to the directions mentioned on the transfer paper, set the timer.
  10. The ringing of timer will indicate that the t-shirt is pressed completely.
  11. Then open the press machine and remove the transfer paper.
  12. Leave the shirt for 24 hours allowing the print to set and lock before it is washed off.

Tips and tricks

Do not hesitate if the machine is taking time and more heat as the machine usually requires a sufficient amount of heat to transfer the artwork uniformly and correctly. If the machine is switched off without using a lot of heat then the artwork will cause a problem with washing and won’t look natural. If you’re worried about damaging the t-shirt, practice on a worn out shirt you don’t regret destroying.

To avoid damaging the cloth, make sure to follow the instructions and temperature recommendations mentioned on the transfer paper of each fabric. Straighten the shirt and place it on the heat press.

Lastly, all you want is a crooked shirt. There are several alternatives available for this purpose other than grids and lasers. One method is to ensure that the tag is matched with the t-shirt press’s framework. Opt for a device that reflects a laser onto the garment for a simpler and more effective way of achieving proper t-shirt placement. Before placing the shirt in the press make sure that the shirt is stretched. This is essential to prevent the print from scratching.

Choose your fabric

Not all types of fabrics are suitable for heat press machines. Any material that melts when exposed to extreme heat (synthetic materials, thin fabrics) should be avoided. It is suggested to pre-wash the printed shirt if it’s going to be washed afterward. Not washing the shirts before printing will cause wrinkles to appear after the first wash.

Cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, and Lycra are the most common fabrics for heat press printing.

Artwork preparation

An inkjet printer is traditionally used to prepare the artwork for the heat press machine. You must first create your artwork using software applications such as Corel or Adobe Illustrator. One of the cons of using the heat press machine is that it is not capable of printing anything white using inkjet printers.

Printing Design

The transfer paper is an important component of the heat pressing process. This is a waxed and pigmented sheet on which your template is first printed. In the newspaper, it is drawn over your garment. There are various types of transfers based on the printer and color of the fabric.

  • Inkjet transfers

Make sure to use the right transfer paper if you are heat pressing the shirt with inkjet printers. Since, an inkjet printer cannot print white color, instead of the white color use off-white fabric.

  • Laser printer transfer

The quality of the printing using laser printing paper is poor than inkjet paper.

  • Sublimation transfers

Sublimation transfers are a more costly choice since it requires sublimation printers and special ink. The ink here transforms into a gaseous form, penetrating the cloth and permanently staining it. Besides that, it only deals with polyester fabrics.

  • Ready-made transfers

You can even get pre-printed patterns that you can place in the heat press without any need to print the fabric yourself.

Taking care of heat pressed fabrics

Heat-pressed t-shirts necessitate more attention from both printers and customers than screen-printed t-shirts. Heat pressed t-shirts last longer if you follow the given instructions;

  • Air dry the shirts rather than using a dryer.
  • Keep the shirts inside out to prevent cracking.
  • Do not wash the heat pressed shirts with harsh ingredients.
  • When putting the shirts in the wardrobe, make sure they aren’t wet (to avoid molds).

To become an expert in using a heat press machine, read enough to understand the mistakes and clear out confusions. Pressing a template onto any surface is a simple process that helps you to convey your imagination while still earning money. Despite the variations in form, scale, and functionality, all heat press machines have various techniques. Along with shirts, mugs and hats can also be heat pressed. There are numerous options for selecting the appropriate transfer paper, as well as specific guidelines for customizing each type of surface.



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