How to Heat Press T-shirt… 3 easy tips and tricks

Heat press is an easy process of printing t-shirts. You can easily heat press t-shirt by following a few instructions. In this article we will discuss ins and outs, tips and tricks to print our favorite designs on t-shirt. If you are a beginner in heat press t-shirt then 15”× 15” of heat press is better for you. This is enough for completing majority of projects in just one press as well as size is so compact that it can fit on your desktop easily. Small size heat press machines are efficient and work for both vinyl and sublimation printing.

While you are setting up your heat press machine go and check for other accessories. Most of the heat press machines come with a rubber pad while some have a central cushion. Always set up these before starting heat press. Before you start heat press pre-heat the machine for better results at a temperature of 238 0C. When heat press is taking time to be warmed, check the pressure because it is the requirement of heat press vinyl and sublimation. For sublimation it is necessary to adjust the pressure as everything you are going to sublimate have different pressure requirements.

For better performance of the heat press you have to put it on a stable surface as any unstable surface affects the performance of the machine. The machine should be on a lower surface as it requires some extra effort while you put it down. So, you have to set it according to your height so that you can pull it downwards easily.


Requirements for Heat Press T-Shirt

  1. Sublimation printer
  2. Teflon Sheets
  3. Pressing Pillows
  4. T-shirt
  5. Transfer paper
  6. Heat Press Machine

Sublimation printer prints your desired image onto the sublimation printer which you have to print on your -shirt through heat press. In market there is a wide variety of sublimation printers. You can chose best sublimation printer keeping in view the business you are going to start. There are also best wide format dye sublimation printers for printing large images.

Teflon sheets and pressing pillows are required for heat pressing. Teflon sheets protect vinyl during the process and top of heat press working as a heat safe barrier that transfers proper heat and pressure during the process.

Teflon sheets

In most cases Teflon sheets stick on the top of the heat press so if you accidently put something directly on to the heat press it will protect the substrate. Teflon sheets are inexpensive, but these work best during the process.

Teflon sheet for heat press

Pressing pillows are very important during the process as pressure is necessary for heat transfer vinyl. Some time you have to press collar or hood, or a baby suit also flags and mats so pressing pillows work best for these substrates. Pressing pillows come in different sizes so you have to choose according to your need.

pressing pillow sizes

Pressing pillows of large size work best on sleeves or while printing babies body dresses as these adjust there easily and stops any bleeding of ink. Small size pillows work great on t-shirts, hoodies and also on pockets. Heat pressing foam is inexpensive as compared to Teflon sheets, but these are not durable like Teflon sheets. So, if you have budget then go for Teflon sheets.

pressing pillow wide application
heat press t-shirt

Pressure and Temperature Settings

There is a knob on heat press machine which moves clockwise or anti clockwise for increasing or decreasing pressure. Adjust the pressure before starting printing. Checking of pressure is very easy, if you have to put effort while moving the knob then you are increasing the pressure, if you put little effort in moving the knob it means you are losing the pressure. For checking pressure perform Dollar Bill Test. It is very easy process. Just put the sheet on heat press. Close the machine and pull the bill outward. If the bill sticks and doesn’t come out, then pressure is ok but if it comes out on pulling then there is a need to increase the pressure.

pressure for heat press

There are higher end heat press machines available in market. These machines use digital pressure mechanism that works automatically for adjusting the pressure according to the substrate. Sublimation requires a lot of pressure as compared to other printing projects.

temperature setting during heat press t-shirt

Next is the setting of the temperature. The temperature mainly depends upon the texture of the substrate you are going to use. Most of the times 300-320 0F is the range of HTV substrate. Before you start to heat press your vinyl always check the temperature as it is the most important step.

How to Heat Press T-Shirt

Spread the vinyl substrate(t-shirt) on to the machine and make sure it is wrinkle free. If there left any wrinkle it will damage the whole design. So, it is suggested to press the substrate before you are going to print it as it also releases moisture of the shirt. For making sublimation more easy mark the centre but just folding the shirt in half and heat press it for few seconds. The line on the shirt will indicate the centre and it helps in better alignment of the design. Now you can easily put your design in the centre for sublimation.

Apply heat onto the design for few seconds (15-20). When heat press is done remove the transfer paper carefully to avoid any burning. Your shirt with your desired design is ready to use.

Heat Press t-shirt Conclusion

  1. As the name indicate it requires a lot of heat during the process but if you have any doubts then its better to first try it on a rough or old t-shirt. Always check the recommended temperature for the fabric you are going to sublimate.
  2. The quality of transfer paper is another important factor because the transfer paper use for inkjet printers is different from laser printers. In the same way transfer paper for white t-shirts are different from the transfer papers for dark colors. Make sure the shirt is wrinkle free so pre-pressing is a compulsory step in printing. For your convenience you can preview the design for checking the result product and shades of color. Also focus on the alignment so apply t-shirt fold method to find the center so the design will printed on the shirt accurately.
  3. As the printer does not print white color so it is suggested to print on white background. In this way the image having white color will show the t-shirt color.
  4. All these steps are very important so keep these in mind before you start heat pressing.

Also check our best sublimation printers for heat transfer.

2 thoughts on “How to Heat Press T-shirt… 3 easy tips and tricks”

  1. Pingback: 12 Best Sublimation Printers for Heat Transfer - Printers Doc
  2. Pingback: What is Heat Press... how does it work? - Printers Doc

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