How To Use A Heat Press Machine (EASY-Follow Guide)

Whether you’re starting your own fashion label and need to have the ability to print your own designs on T-shirts, or you’re planning to start a T-shirt printing business for custom designs, one of the easiest ways to get started is to purchase a heat press machine.

Heat press machines are popular for beginners because they’re much less expensive and cumbersome than a silk-screening machine, but how do you use one?

Here’s our step-by-step guide where we show you how to use a heat press machine In just a few steps

How to Use a Heat Press Machine In 6 Steps

Printing designs on a heat press machine is simple and can be done at your home or at the office.

Step 1: Select and purchase a Heat Press  

Choosing an appropriate heat press will depend on what you’re planning to use it for.

If you’re starting a T-shirt printing business, you’ll need a heat printing machine that has a pressing table of at least 16” x 20”. Your designs will be limited by any smaller size.

There are multifunctional heat presses that’ll help you print designs on a wider range of products. While they are more costly, a professional product will make a huge difference for new businesses that want to offer high-quality products.

Step 2: Select the Material you Plan to Press

If you’re pressing designs onto T-shirts, choose a fabric blend that isn’t overly sensitive to high temperatures.

Pure synthetic fabrics and thin materials can be vulnerable to heat damage. You might prefer cotton or blends that include nylon, spandex, and polyester.

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How do you prepare the fabric to heat press?

You may want to for the best results prewash the fabric Before heating press it. This could lead to wrinkles. Ironing the area you’ll be pressing is a good next step after prewashing, as this will prevent wrinkles from ruining the quality of the press.

Step 3: Create your design and print it

Naturally, you’ll need a design to press.

Vector images work best because you can stretch them to the dimensions you want without worrying about distortion or looking too pixelated.

REMEMBER: Print a mirror image of the design. It will be reversed when it is pressed.

Consider test printing your design on regular paper, so you’re sure it’s the right size and that it meets your expectations without wasting a sheet of transfer paper.

What types of transfers can you use with a Heat press?

Heat pressing is an essential part of the process. printing your design onto heat transfer paper. The design will be printed on the heat transfer paper sheet. The heat press will transfer it to your garment.

The following are the most commonly used heat press transfers:

  • Inkjet Transfers – Basic inkjet printers are capable of creating heat transfers but the quality is usually poor. Just make sure you purchase the right type of paper and remember that inkjet printers cannot print white, so use a white fabric if you’re planning to incorporate white into your design.
  • Laser Printer Transfers – Low-quality laser printers can also be used for basic designs, such as plain text. However, they can print quickly and produce acceptable results. Again, make sure you’re buying the correct type of transfer paper.
  • Sublimation Transfers – Sublimation paper Specific ink is required. It’s expensive, but the results can be impressive. However, it only works when you’re printing on polyester fabrics.
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    Step 4: Prepare your Heat Press

    Once you have your design printed on transfer paper, it is time to prepare your heat press.

    It can be set to the desired temperature, and left open. Once the temperature guide or light indicates that the press is at the correct temperature, it’s ready to use.

    The specific transfer paper you’re using will list the temperature you should set your heat press to. In most cases, the temperature of the heating plate will range between 350°F and 400°F, so you should use caution and avoid touching the heating plates.

    You also need to set it to your desired pressure if you’re not using a manual press. Thicker fabrics Thin fabrics need less pressure while thick fabrics require more.

    Step 5: Position your fabric and transfer papers

    Make sure the material you’re working with is positioned properly in the press.

    REMEMBER: Avoid wrinkles, as they can affect the final result. Many prefer to preheat the garment before pressing their design. Simply hold the press down for several seconds without using transfer paper.

    It may sound obvious, but make sure the side of the garment you’re heat press printing on is facing upward. Once the shirt has been pre-heated and you have positioned it correctly without wrinkles and creases, then you can position your transfer papers.

    Place the heat transfer material on the fabric face down. For extra protection, you can place a piece fabric on top of your heat transfer material. However, most modern heat presses have a protective pad built in to the press.

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    Step 6: Click on the Design

    Finally, you’re ready to press your design. Once everything is in place and the press has been properly pre-heated you can start to pull the press down. It should be held for 10 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the type of transfer paper you’re using and the fabric you’re pressing.

    The transfer paper will list the timing and temperature settingThe instruction manual for your heat presses will also be helpful. Once the time is up, you can open it and take off the garment.

    Be careful peel the transfer paper off while it’s still warm to the touch. Transfer the new design to fabric

    Final Steps

    After heat pressing your designs you should leave your shirt or garment aside for at most 12 hours to allow the design time to fully adhere to your shirt.

    Once your design has been attached to the garment, you can turn off the heat press. However, if you’re planning to print more garments, you can leave it on and repeat the process.

    The garment should be left to dry for at least 12 hours after printing. Don’t fold the shirt in the places where the design has been pressed. To prevent creasing, hang it up with a standard clothing hanger.

    You should wash the garment from the inside out and avoid using harsh detergents. This will help you. avoid premature fading. It will also prevent the pressed design chipping or cracking. You should now know how to use a heat presses machine for the best results.

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