How to Use a Heat Press to Design T-Shirts

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The Machine:

A high quality heat press with time, pressure and temperature settings like the STX Hotronix Auto Clam will be the perfect machine to get your jobs done. It’s best to buy the largest heat press, so that you have the versatility to design on a number of different textiles with the ease of a quick change platen.  The auto clam style heat press has magnetic technology that auto-opens to prevent over application.  As well as an easy lock down feature, so that you aren’t having to put too much tension on the wrists, elbows and shoulders with each press.

The T-Shirt Design:

Once you’ve purchased your heat press, next will be the design process.  There are stock designs that you can purchase from Stahls or Horizon Products.  Horizon Products will specialize in more of your custom design needs.   If you plan on creating your own designs there are plenty of creative supplies to choose from:  rhinestones, heat transfer vinyl, flock transfers, and screen printed transfers.

CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator are the two most popular design softwares.  Once you learn how to use the software your designs can be used with vinyl cutters, printer cutters and you’ll have images that are 100% original.

Purchasing the T-Shirt:

After your design is cut then your next step is to pick out the t-shirt you plan to heat press. Popular types include cotton, cotton/polyester blends, 100% polyester, nylon, Lycra and spandex.  It’s best to order shirts at wholesale places from a website like Mission Imprintables. Some people recommend doing a 2 second press on a plain t-shirt before your actual design press, to ensure that your garment is moisture and wrinkle free.

All About Accessories:

Teflon cover sheets that are 5ml thick.  Mclogan’s makes it a priority to get Teflon sheets that are made in the USA and thicker than the average 3ml sheets.  The 3ml sheets go bad after a few presses.  The 5ml sheets disperse heat evenly, are long lasting and ensure that your materials don’t get stuck to your platen.

Heat transfer pillows made with 5ml Teflon to help absorb seams, zippers, collars or buttons.  These pillows help to raise the fabric, so the heat will go evenly where needed.

Quick slip top platen covers these covers make it so much easier to clean your platens, disperse the heat evenly, and further protect your press. Heat presses have two platens, a top platen and a bottom platen.  The top platen will administer the heat, while the bottom platen will hold your garment.


10 Best Screen Printing and Sign Supply Products

There’s been a big shift in the screen printing industry towards eco- friendly products that yield great results, while being healthy for you and the planet.  We’ve also seen vinyl take off, with car wraps and the majority of those jobs being either for advertisements, or just strait up color changes.

Here’s our top 5 Screen Printing Supplies:

  1. Franmar Color Change:  an eco-friendly way to unclog and clean screen printing mesh.
  2. Eco Click Frames: environmentally safe product where you buy 1 screen and then can switch out and change mesh counts as needed.  No glues or chemicals needed!
  3. Thermotron Heat Press:  affordable heat press with the 3 in 1 LCD screen to help manage the tempature, time, and quantity.
  4. Livingston Tag Pallet Board:  allows for printing of a t-shirt neck label and the front of the t-shirt in one step.
  5. Mclogan Emulsion Remover Concentrate: most affordable emulsion remover on the market.

Top 5 Sign Supplies:

  1. Magnetic Vinyl Applicator:  the magnetic squeegee will hold your knife, while the squeegee will hold your vinyl in place.  You don’t even need to use tape!
  2. Knifeless Tech Design Line:  Tape that cuts through vinyl just like a plotter…genius!
  3. Avery Supreme Vinyl Wrap: This dual layer vinyl combines both color and clear protective layers providing a paint-like finish that is both durable and dazzling.
  4. Roland SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640:  Roland’s fastest, most powerful wide – format color printer/cutter ever, the 64-inch Pro 4 ushers in a new era of quality, precision and performance.
  5. Nikkalite Reflective Vinyl:  Highly reflective vinyl with a 7 year warranty.

xr640-1It’s been a great year and we thank you for your business.  Now that 2015 is officially off and running we hope that your year is filled with love, wealth, happiness and health!


Product Spotlight: Gecko Flex Specialty Melt Material

Gecko Flex Specialty Melt Material is a new product and one that we are excited to introduce!  Gecko Melt is made for people trying to heat press low volume foil transfers.  Instead of having to screen print a smaller job, you can now cut the adhesive and heat press different colors of foil.  Gecko Melt is a clear adhesive where you can now use all textile foils in lots of different colors.  Foil transfers can be a valuable asset for any screen printer wanting to create an eye-catching graphic effect. It also makes an interesting alternative for applications that have reflective inks. Foil is a great way to accent any garment.