Learning Curve for Heat Transfers

For those of you who are looking to start your own T-Shirt business, you’re going to need to have your own heat transfer press machine! You could outsource the task, but that is going to cost you way more money in the long run.

One thing that I get asked a lot is how hard is it to learn how to use a heat transfer. The answer is simple: it’s incredibly easy, but you need to have patience.

Operating a Heat Press

Operating a heat press is very easy. You plug it in, set the desired temperature, put the shirt and vinyl on the machine, and press down. Simple right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that.

If you’re going to be using heat transfer paper then you’re going to need to learn how to properly cut the paper. I found that this adds a lot of time to the learning curve. Having the dexterity to do a straight cut, multiple times in a row, takes a while to build up.

Finding the Right Temperature

Finding the right temperature can be difficult for some newer heat press users. I always advice people that if they’re going to be using something like a teflon sheet or a flexible application pad that you’re going to need to increase the temperature by 10 or 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because those materials aren’t nearly as conducive for heat as simple paper or vinyl is.

Oh, also, when making the cut, always estimate that you’re going to need about 1/4″ to 1/2″ more than you think you will. Sometimes a heat press machine will temporarily shrink the paper, or constrict it, due to the hot temperature. This can throw your whole print job off. When you’re first starting out, overestimate a bit so that you can get used to how your heat press machine operates.

Lastly, make sure that you have patience. No one can master any art the first few times they do it. Heat pressing is an art. Remember that!