People often choose heat press designs for T-shirts because they are quite cost-effective. They also tend to look good and last for relatively long periods of time. Yet, few people are familiar with what is actually involved when it comes to T-shirts and heat press designs. Let’s take a look at the process and give a little insight into what happens when you place your T-shirt order.
For starters, the end design depends on what type of heat press method is used, but if you just order a standard, one color T-shirt, for say a Little League team including a number and team logo or sponsor on the back, then the process is pretty straightforward.
Once your order is placed, the design team gets to work sizing and prepping the logo for printing. They will typically print them out on some sort of transfer paper, and more often than not, the transfers are then hand applied. This is simply due to the fact that with different team jerseys, the players have different numbers, as a result, they need to be hand applied in order to ensure they are sized properly, and centered correctly on the uniform.
Other things such as logo and sponsor placement can be placed automatically depending on the type of machine, however, sometimes it is easier to just hand apply the logo and sponsor information if the order is lower in number such as 20 or 30 shirts.
Once the transfers have been printed, they are placed on the shirt which is then placed on a machine that looks similar to an ironing board sometimes. This is not always the case as there are different forms of heat press machines, but more often than not, the shirt will be placed on the bottom part of the heat transfer or heat press machine, while the top plate will be applied to sandwich the transfer between the heat press and the fabric.
Typically, the transfer process occurs at about 350°, and the top plate is applied for about 10 to 15 seconds per transfer. Once the press is removed, the ink is permanently attached to the fabric and you have your T-shirt design.
Other forms of heat press techniques use different types of material to achieve textured looks. Different types of paper may be applied to the existing heat transfer and peeled off after the heat press is applied to achieve a distressed look. You can also use different types of ink to create different color tones at certain discharge points in the heat transfer process. These types of shirts will look quite vintage and are really neat. However, for Little League and other team uniforms, this is usually not necessary.
In the end, you can even add other sorts of things to heat press designs such as flocking, and other sorts of textured inks to increase the thickness and overall feel of the shirt. Due to their versatility, and efficiency, heat press machines have become a mainstay in the industry and a necessity in the marketplace. They are a great tool and quite useful during sports season. Thankfully, because of sports, it looks like they are here to stay.