Whether you’re new to creating heat pressed t-shirts or you’re just starting out, prepare to have plenty of extra shirts on-hand. While heat pressed designs are attractive and durable, creating them comes with a slight learning curve.
Below are some of the most commons mistakes made when creating a heat pressed t-shirt as well as what you can do to avoid them.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, don’t feel bad! We’ve all made them at some point down the line. However, knowing what causes them can help prevent repeat mistakes.
1. Using a Poor or Ill-Maintained Heat Press
The quality of your heat press has a direct impact on the quality of your t-shirts. If you use a cheap press, you’ll have more trouble producing consistent, quality heat transfers.
Always perform a check-up on your heat transfer machine at least once every six months. A heat press test kit can help you identify cold spots that can hinder your heat transfer.
2. Not Following Instructions Fully
While this one seems obvious, it happens all too often. The temperature, heat press time, pressure, and peel can all vary depending on the type of transfer you’re using. Always read the directions carefully and follow them exactly.
3. Using the Wrong Accessories
Certain accessories are limited to certain transfer types and techniques. For example, you won’t want to use a pillow for screen printed transfers because it causes an uneven pressure, which can impact the evenness of the heat transfer.
Cover sheets can also reduce the temperature used in the heat transfer if they are too thick.
4. Certain Parts of Your Apparel Impact Your Pressure
Sometimes small elements like zippers and buttons can impede on your printing area and prevent even pressure from being applied to your garment. A mousepad or pad of similar material can raise your printing area to help prevent this problem.
5. Not Pre-Pressing Your Apparel
Certain materials like cotton tend to hold moisture. When you prepress apparel, you create a smooth, dry canvas that is less likely to crack your design after a few washes.
Simply pre-press your fabric for 3 to 5 seconds, or until the steam dissipates.
6. Surpassing a Fabric’s Melting Point
It’s one of the messiest, most damaging mistakes in heat pressing clothing: melting or burning the fabric.
Pay attention to the type of fabric you’re using, as well as its limitations. Match your transfer type to the fabric you’re using so the temperature is effective for the transfer paper and tolerable for the garment.
7. Misplacement of the Transfer
Misplacing your transfer when applying the heat press is a simple but highly common mistake. It leads to upside-down, crooked, or misaligned designs that you end up having to scrap.
To avoid this, find your center point. This can be the shirt tag, a seam, or any distinct focal point that can help you measure your alignment. Keep in mind any extra paper around your design when measuring placement.
If you go by the paper alone, you may align the transfer paper, but not the design itself. Know where your design is in relation to the paper.
Ready to Design Your Heat Pressed T-Shirts?
Ready to start creating a new batch of heat pressed t-shirts? You can put in an order online for hot peel or elasti-soft heat transfers featuring your design.