A heat press is an amazing addition to any screen printing shop. Having a heat press on hand can make your job a lot easier in a variety of different printing situations. This type of press is great for when you are doing onsite event printing. With a heat press, you only have to take a press and the transfer papers with the preprinted designs on them. It saves you from having to bring all of the other equipment with you that comes with other types of screen printing. It is also great for when you have customers who want a lot of shirts over an extended period of time. The designs can be printed onto the transfer paper in bulk, and then transferred onto the shirts at a later time. You won’t have to recreate the screens for when the customer comes back wanting the same shirts. Do you have specialty orders? Heat presses are great for that too! It is a great go-to for hats, jerseys, and more. You can save a lot of time and money by using a transfer paper that has multiple of the same design on it. Heat presses are also the perfect way to apply gold foil transfers to your garments.
Your Options for Heat Presses:
There are many amazing options when it comes to heat presses. One great Heat Press option is the Hotronix® Dual Air Fusion® Heat Press. This press is perfect for direct to garment printing. It runs in full-auto, semi-auto, and manual modes. The laser alignment system helps with both accurate placement and alignment. Another great option for heat presses is the Stahls Hotronix Clam Heat Transfer Press – 16x20in. It has a wide opening to help you layout any job that might come your way. The space-saving clamshell design is an added bonus. If you are looking for something a little more fancy, automatic, and revolutionary, check out the ROQ Press Foil Automatic Heat Press Station and Foil Application. This press needs no human intervention, has a fully automatic foil application, and can produce 450 pieces per hour.
If you are going to be doing heat transfers with a heat press, you are going to also need transfer paper. The transfer paper is what you originally print your design on before it is transferred to the garment. Ryonet offers Transal Premium Hot Peel Transfer Paper in both a twenty-five pack and a one-hundred pack. The sheets come in 15X15 inches. Our transfer paper is not only formulated for an easy release, but to also be environmentally friendly. The transfer paper works well with both plastisol and puff inks.
Printing Your Design on Transfer Paper:
The first step to printing your design on transfer paper is to make your screen. Take your normal steps to make your screen, but also apply slightly more emulsion to build a thicker stencil than you would for printing on garments. When you are exposing your screen, make sure to reverse your image so it is transferred in the right orientation on the garment as it is inverted when transferred.
After your screen is properly made, you can prepare to print your design on the transfer paper. Set your press up so it has 1/16”off contact. Then prepare your pallet with adhesive to hold the transfer paper down. Use a 70 durometer squeegee to transfer the ink from your screen onto your transfer paper. A thicker opaque ink works better for this transfer process. After the ink is placed onto the paper, you will want to sprinkle the ink with Transfer Adhesion Powder. Don’t use too much because a little goes a long way. Make sure to tap off the excess powder.
Curing Your Design:
Curing your design on transfer paper is a little bit different than curing your design on a shirt. In this case, you want the ink to gel so you can later transfer it onto the garment. To do this, heat the ink for around 6-10 seconds. The ink needs to reach between 140-280 degrees. Your ink is properly gelled if you can easily pull it away from the paper. You need to make sure to store your completed transfer paper in a dry area. Properly stored transfer paper can last for up to a year.
Transferring From the Paper to the Garment:
Your heat press comes into play when you are ready to transfer the design from the paper to the garment. Set your press to 330-350 degrees. Place the transfer paper face down on the garment and use the heat press for 10-12 seconds while using a medium pressure. Peel the paper back and your design will be transferred to the garment!
Check out Get Your Prints Lit With Gold Foil Transfers to learn how to amp up your prints with a heat press.