Start Your Own T-Shirt Printing Business Using Heat Press and Transfer Paper

In this video you will learn how to use a heat press machine with transfer paper to create custom t-shirt on a commercial scale. This will enable you to open your very own t-shirt printing business.

Video Transcript

In this video we’re going to talk a little bit about how to take transfer paper and turn it into a business into a money generating scheme at home or in an office using a heat press, and everything else which we’ve been talking about in the other videos, inkjet transfer paper, domestic inkjet printers, simple software to generate images. So we’re taking a transfer paper, an inkjet transfer paper, here’s a printed one, it’s the same as the one that you use when you use a domestic iron, of course you can’t use a domestic iron when you’re running it as a business if you’re using it to make money because you’ll be doing loads of prints in one go and iron takes a lot time, with a heat press we can do it in seconds. Just a very short talk about the heat press, we’ve borrowed one from a client of ours, we’re in his premises and it’s a working bench for printing T-shirts. We’re using a very, very simple quite an old clamp heat press, so it just goes up and down like a crocodile’s mouth. All heat presses have very similar elements to them. We have a hot plate which we set to a 190 degrees, and all heat presses have this soft rubber pad onto which the T-shirt goes and a pressure adjuster.

So a cost of these ranges from a couple of hundred pounds for secondhand one to this is a small one the square platform, you’re probably looking at between 400 and 500 pounds maybe even a little bit less depending on which model you go for, it doesn’t really matter as long as the heat plate can reach the required temperature which is an actual 180 degrees, we set it to a 190 degrees so that we’re guaranteed the temperature that we need.

So you can see it takes a really small place. You don’t need much more than a little table, you can do it on the kitchen table, it’s not particularly heavy, so it can be moved from the kitchen or from your office to storage and then brought out again when you need to use it. The way it works, really simple, we take a T-shirt we’re going to print the front of it, so we position it in the right place on the plate. I take care to make sure that the collar is right off the plate, because that will reduce the actual pressure from the area which you’re printing.

Good practice is to give it a little press to flatten it out. We’ve taken a transfer which we’ve pre-trimmed; we’ve taken away all the excess white areas from around it leaving a three to four millimeter white edge. This is just good practice to make sure that we don’t have unnecessary bits of transfer that we’re transferring onto a shirt. Position it face down, this is a light transfer paper for inkjet printers. Normally if you were doing it with a domestic iron you’ll be working your way for a minute and a half or so with this heat press set at 190 degrees. So 13 seconds, this press actually has a timer, most presses will have a timer, in fact all of them will have a timer, and this one doesn’t work, so I counted to 13. And here’s a final printed t-shirt. Now a lot of people ask us about silicon paper, you will notice when you buy this transfer paper, you will have some silicon paper in the pack. Silicon paper is really essential when you’re using a domestic iron, because once you peel it, you will reposition the silicon paper on the exposed image and repress it with an iron just to make sure in case you’ve made a mistake that any errors are corrected and it gives the image a softer feel.

It’s not essential when using a heat press, but I like to use it anyway, so we take silicon paper, these are reusable, you get quite a few of them in every pack of paper. Position it on the exposed image and just literally a three second repress, peel it away, stretch it a little bit and there’s the final article done. Silicon paper incidentally also and again this is becomes a bit more of a business application, if these are promotional shirts for an exhibition for example and you want to print the back of it. You can protect the exposed image just by sticking the silicon paper down on to it and it can be removed at any time and now if I want to print the back of the shirt, say you got an exhibition your – you want some promotional shirts and I’ve just made a really simple bit of graphic to go on the back again, we’re always trimming the excess white areas. Always good practice, the more you can remove, the better the result, you don’t need to be really pedantic about it. But the more you remove the softer the final result will be.

So really roughly just cut around the image, this is going on the back of the shirt, same process, face down, 13 seconds. Okay and we disengage the press again no huge rush, a little stretch to pick up the transfer and peel it away. Just a reminder because everybody asks here’s the original print and you notice that it’s a mirror image when you’re printing light T-shirts everything has to be mirrored because when you press to put it down, face down on the garment, the mirrored text becomes the right way around.

Remember the silicon paper we put on this side comes off anytime and when you’re using heat press also you get a slightly softer feel and the image will stretch without cracking much, will be very, very long living on the shirt this can be washed time and time again, and becomes a commercial product. So we’ve showed you how to take a relatively low-tech, not very expensive piece of equipment a clamp heat press in this case with a hot plate on top, rubber at the bottom, temperature gauge. You can take your ordinary inkjet printer with inkjet transfer paper, this works both for light and for darker garments, we showed you the light, but we have dark transfer paper as well and the process is near identical.

And overnight you can create a money generating business, you can sell these images on eBay, you can provide a service on eBay or on Amazon or on social media for t-shirt printing services, hen nights, exhibitions, people that need personalise one-off shirts, do it mail order or online, generate money, a t-shirt like that one-off can sell for 10 pounds, your cost is under two quid.

Thanks for watching.

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