Here’s the deal … There’s a lot of information to process as it relates to getting started in the t-shirt biz … I’ve posted some of the commonly asked questions we receive on a daily basis. Hopefully, many of these will address your questions.
But first, let me suggest you sign-up for our free mini-course that consists of FREE tutorial videos that explain this entire process. Everything from heat transfers, heat press machines, designing shirts, etc…
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Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a heat press machine and how does it work?
A heat press is a machine that operates pretty much like an iron. They can heat up to as much as 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s purpose is to apply heat and pressure onto a special type of release paper that has artwork on it. With a combination of heat and pressure, the ink on the release paper is transferred onto various types of printable items like t-shirts, canvas tote backs, hoodies, sweatshirts, etc… To learn more about the various types of heat presses available, click here.
- Can I use an iron to put the transfers onto t-shirts?
No you can’t. An iron doesn’t provide enough heat and pressure to get the job done. With a heat press, you’re exterting an extreme amount of even pressure to the garment, along with an extremely high heat temperature.
- What type of transfers are you using in your videos?
I’m using plastisol transfers — also known as ‘screen printed transfers’. The inks that are being transferred to the t-shirts are the actual inks that screen printers put onto t-shirts — but with this process, instead of screen printing the designs onto a shirt, they screen printed the designs onto a special release paper. With a combination of heat and pressure, the inks are the only thing that is removed from the release paper. That is why you’ll never see an outline or square box around these designs — and that’s because the only thing that is released are the inks themselves, nothing more. This process essentially allows you to press screen print quality t-shirts for your customers. The inks don’t peel, fade, crack, smear, nor smudge. They’ll last many, many years…
- What companies offer custom screen printed transfers?
There are many. TransferExpress.com is the most popular one. The only complaint I hear from most people getting started is that their fees/costs are too high. I’ll admit they’re on the high-end, but they offer a very fast turnaround time and you pay for that. I use them all the time and I’m happy with the quality of work/service they provide. I do sell a vendors list where you can get access to screen printers who’ll do this process MUCH cheaper than TransferExpress. And I do mean MUCH, MUCH cheaper. If you cringe at the prices quoted b y TransferExpress, make sure you come back and get my vendors list. I’ll also mail you a sample t-shirt package that includes an actual t-shirt that has been heat pressed with an actual plastisol transfer. Once you get it, you can put it in the washing machine a few dozen times to see how well it holds up for you. I also include an actual screen printed transfer in the package too — if you have a heat press at home, you can press this transfer onto the back of the t-shirt I send you. Get the transfer vendors list by clicking here!
- Can I print plastisol transfers from my own printer at home?
No you can’t. This type of release paper will not work with your printers. These release papers are meant only for screen printers to put the ‘plastisol inks’ onto. Any other type of ink placed on these release papers won’t work and serve no purpose. If you already have a full screen printing operation setup, then you can do this process yourself.
- Where can I buy this release paper from?
I have no idea. I do not sell it and don’t know where you can buy it from. It’s of no value to you unless you are a screen printer.
- Is there another process where I can print my own transfers from my home printer?
Yes there is… The heat transfers found at local supply stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart or JoAnn’s don’t work well at all. I highly advise against using those.There are more professional quality heat transfers on the market but if you’re using the ink from your home printer, you’ll be unsatisfied with the results. Let me explain…
The inks in your home printer are meant for printing onto paper — not fabrics. If you use your printer to make heat transfer designs, your shirts will fade, smear, smudge, crack and peel immediately after the first few washes. Your customers will be unhappy and won’t likely buy from you again. That’s why I recommend using custom screen printed transfers — the only thing better than this is screen printing itself.
But if you insist on doing it yourself, I’d recommend you buy an inkjet printer that will allow you to put high heat pigment inks into the machine. This will give you a much better quality shirt versus the regular inks that come out of a standard printer.
Don’t use the cheap transfer paper from the local hobby stores — buy a more professional grade paper. If you’re just getting started and funds are tight, then start here… As you grow and start to make money, then upgrade to the next process.
- Can I put multi-colored designs onto the plastisol transfer?
Yes you can. Keep in mind, just like screen printing, the more colors you have, the more the transfers will cost you.
- Can I use the plastisol transfer process on dark colored t-shirts?
Yes you can.
- Can I press designs onto the front and back of t-shirts?
Yes you can. It’s easy — you simply press a design onto the front. Flip the shirt over and press a design onto the back. That’s it!
- What software do people use to make their own designs?
The software used by professional graphic designers are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. It’s a very complicated piece of software to learn. If you’re not familiar with it, I’d suggest you hire a graphic designer to create what you’re wanting. Attending a weekend Photoshop class won’t be of any use to you if you’re not familiar with this software. If you’re going to get into this business, you should be spending the bulk of your time marketing and advertising in an effort to get your brand/t-shirts out to the public — not trying to learn graphic arts software. If you’re already a graphic designer, then that’s a different story — do your own work if you choose too.
If you have additional questions, feel free to post them below!