So, you’ve decided to go into business for yourself by doing heat transfer products. Good for you! There certainly is a big market for these products, and if you create your own original heat transfers, all the better. However, custom heat transfers for beginners require a bit of a learning curve, in which case you might burn or lose more product than you sell.
To cut back on your beginner losses, you should know a few things about sublimation heat press settings. Newbies tend to make the mistake that all heat transfer materials require the same heat and time setting. That’s simply not the case, as it will ruin a lot of products. Since every printed and pressed item is a little different, you need to first learn how to use your heat press and then follow some of the following heat press settings for optimal production.
Printing on Dark Colored Materials
Printing on dark colored materials like black t-shirts or black sweatpants requires that you set your heat press at 360 degrees and press the transfer onto the object for a minimum of 25 minutes. Failing to do so leaves you with a faded transfer or a transfer that doesn’t fully stick. Unless it is your intention to make something look faded, worn and missing parts of the transfer, stick to 360 degrees for 25 minutes.
These transfers pop up off the product with elevated puffiness or features that are meant to be raised and draw attention. For this you will need to set your heat press for 305 degrees for only 5 minutes. Any longer and you could melt and burn the semi-3D effects of these types of transfers into the fabric layer or burn the fabric itself..
Different Settings for Different Textiles
If you have never used an iron before, you would not know that different fabrics require different heat settings in order to successfully press out wrinkles. The same holds true for different fabrics on which you intend to apply a heat transfer. Polyester is 270 degrees for 10 minutes, while Cotton settings are around 380 degrees for 15 minutes. Other blends of fabrics and textiles often fall somewhere in between these two.
Difficult materials that refuse to accept or adhere to a transfer will require that you play around with the material and settings to find what works. However, most heat presses will recommend that these difficult materials have a setting of 330 degrees for 15 minutes. Again, this will depend on the composition of the fabric and/or the transfer type you are attempting to use.
Transfer Materials Versus Fabric
This is a sticky situation that comes up a lot in the heat transfer and press world. If you have a heat transfer material that requires you to press at a lower temperature but a fabric that requires a higher temperature, it’s smart to start on the lower end to see how the transfer responds to the material. You can increase the heat and the minutes by ten degrees and three to five minutes respectively until you get the desired results. Be sure to write down the temperature and time you used in case you need to make a similar product in the future.