Best practise for custom heat transfer application

Andy Rogers, Target Transfers’ marketing manager, outlines the dos and don’ts when applying heat transfers to garments so you can create great looking products.

When applying heat transfers to garments there are some key dos and don’ts to ensure your products is of the highest quality possible.

1) Pre-press your garments

This is one of the most important steps to complete when applying a heat transfer. When you pre-press a garment with a heat press before applying the transfer it removes any creases, folds, and excess moisture from the garment.

This is vital in ensuring the transfer adhesive bonds to the fabric properly and will help the longevity. Five seconds is usually long enough of a pre-press however on thicker materials and during certain times of the year garments may hold onto slightly more moisture. You want to pre-press your garment until there is no steam coming from it, that’s when it’s ready for the transfer to be applied.

2) Time, temperature and pressure

These are the key elements to ensuring a perfect fuse. Each material/ transfer may be slightly different so adjust your heat press settings accordingly. Fusing your heat transfers at the correct time, temperature, and will ensure the longevity and quality of your finished product.

Some heat presses, such as Hotronix, will have digital readout which allows you to change the settings accordantly and fuse each transfer confidently. Another key feature is over the centre pressure. Having the over the centre adjustment allows the pressure to be distributed evenly throughout the platen during the fuse, giving you the most consistent press available.

Ensure a flat surface. When you fuse a heat transfer, any raised elements to the garment that are on the heat press platen can interfere with the pressure of the fuse and affect the outcome of the transfer. When you place the garment onto the heat press ensure that all seams, zips, and pockets are off the platen surface and it is completely flat. From here you can apply your transfer and fuse without any concern that the pressure won’t be accurate.

If you are fusing onto a small or particularly difficult area of the garment, additional lower platens are a great option as you can fully isolate the area you wish to fuse onto. Heat press pillows are also a good option if your heat press does not have the option to change the lower platen.

3) Always remove the carrier once the heat transfer is cool

Once you have fused your custom heat transfer, gently remove the garment from the heat press and place it onto a flat, cool surface. Once the transfer and the garment have completely cooled, peel the carrier off the transfer, starting from the thickest corner of the design.

If you try to remove the carrier before the transfer has completely cooled down you will interfere with the adhesive bonding to the material, the corners may lift as you peel and there will be damage to the transfer.

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