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How to Print on T-shirts using Heat Press


There are a lot of ways and options on how you can print designs on t-shirts. Here at Talk@tee, we will discuss how we print on our t-shirts using a Heat Press Machine.

Let’s start with the materials that you will need:

  • Computer
  • Graphic Software Program (such as Adobe Photoshop or the free editing tool GIMP)
  • Ready-to-print T-shirt Designs
  • Inkjet Printer with CISS
  • Pigment or Sublimation dye ink
  • Heat Press Machine
  • Heat Transfer Papers (there are two types: the Opaque  - for dark colored shirts, and Clear Transfer Papers for white shirts and light-colored shirts)
  • Tracing wheel or Scissors or Cutter
  • Teflon sheet
  • T-shirt
There are two ways to print on shirts depending on the transfer paper you use:

Using Clear Transfer Papers For White T-shirts and Light-Colored T-Shirts 

  1. Open your Ready-to-print T-shirt Design or the Talk@tee T-shirt design file using your preferred Graphic Software Program. Before printing on white or light-colored shirts, you have to invert or flip the design first. This is done because you need to put the transfer paper face down on the shirt for the transfer. You can also add bleed on the T-shirt design to create a dieline for more efficient pressing.

  1. Use an Inkjet printer with CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System) that is suitable for t-shirt printing. You can either ask the printer technician to replace the regular dye ink to pigment ink or sublimation dye ink. Or buy a separate printer specifically used for this. It is important that we use these types of inks because these are the ones suitable for heat press printing.

  1. Prepare the transfer papers that are needed. For white and light colored shirts, use the Clear transfer or Light transfer papers. Place the transfer paper on the paper tray of the printer. Make sure that you print on the coated side (Do not print on the side with line/lines in it). Hit the print button and wait for your T-shirt design to be printed.
  1. After printing, let it dry then cut off the entire edge or cut around the dieline of the design. Note that the blank spaces and white parts of the transfer paper will fade into the background after pressing. So if you’re using a design with white colored elements, we advise that you print them on an Opaque transfer paper if you’ll press on a light colored t-shirt (except white).

  1. Prepare the heat press. Set the temperature to 200°C or 392°F, as this temperature is what worked for our heatpress machine. You might need to check your heat press manual first for the instructions and the suitable temperature for pressing on white and light colored shirts.

  1. Put your shirt on the machine and pre-heat the garment for 5 seconds to remove creases and moisture.

  1. Place the transfer over the shirt (face down), and then press down the cover of the machine.
  1. Set the timer for 30 seconds. When the timer stops, remove the shirt out of the machine, let it cool for about 10 seconds, then slowly peel off the backing of the transfer.

Using Opaque Transfer Papers For Black and Dark-Colored T-Shirts (you can use this on light shirts too)

  1. Open your Ready-to-print T-shirt Design or the Talk@tee T-shirt design file using your preferred Graphic Software Program. Before printing on white or light-colored shirts, you have to invert or flip the design first. This is done because you need to put the transfer paper face down on the shirt for the transfer. You can also add bleed on the T-shirt design to create a dieline for more efficient pressing.
  1. Use an Inkjet printer with CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System) that is suitable for t-shirt printing. You can either ask the printer technician to replace the regular dye ink to pigment ink or sublimation dye ink. Or buy a separate printer specifically used for this. It is important that we use these types of inks because these are the ones suitable for heat press printing.

  1. Prepare the transfer papers that are needed. Use the Opaque transfer or Dark transfer paper in printing your designs. Place the transfer paper on the paper tray of the printer. Make sure that you print on the coated side (Do not print on the side with line/lines in it). Hit the print button and wait for your T-shirt design to be printed.
  1. After printing, let dry, then cut the entire edge and the blank spaces of the design. Any blank or white spaces on the design will appear as it is if you don’t remove them. After that, carefully peel off the backing of the transfer paper.

  1. Set the temperature of the heat press machine at about 165°C or 329°F. Put the shirt on the heat press machine and pre-heat it for about 5 seconds to remove creases and moisture.
  1. Place your design in position, cover it with a Teflon sheet, then press down the cover of the machine.
  1. Set the timer for 20 seconds. When it’s done, remove your shirt on the machine, let cool for a couple of seconds, then remove the Teflon sheet.

So that’s how we print our shirts here at Talk@tee.  Most if not all, heat press machine vendors would also do a demo and train you when you buy. And of course, there are other ways to print on t-shirts that you might like to know as well.

Are you looking for original, fun, creative and eye-catching T-shirt designs for your T-shirt business?

We got them all down for you with Talk@tee’s T-shirt Design Packages now available for licensing.

Click here to learn more!

 


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