As for my latest tips, well I have some cool news for those who are doing this for a living. If you have been staying away from dark shirts because of the design complications such as impossible places to cut, there is some hope. There is a mechanical cutter made by Roland that can cut very finely. You can see it in action by going to youtube and typing in Roland GX-24. This machine is expensive ($1600), but it does offer hope of complex designs on dark shirts. They also make cheaper versions that arent as automated, but still cuts perfectly. Also there is a new paper out there that does not require trimming at all. It is called the Dura CottonHT. You need to see that stuff to believe it.
As for tips here is a really good one I found on accident. If you have any problems with paper sticking while peeling use a pen that is hulled out. Sometimes I get fine slivers of paper that stick and the shirt seems ruined, but if you use the tip of a pen without the ink head in it you can scrape off the stuck paper gently (while hot now) and leaves no mark or damage to the design.
Epson C88 tips! I have finally mastered this bad boy and know how it thinks. How did I accomplish this? Well a weekend in the woods on a manly camping trip and the constant threat of a sledge hammer at my side proved valuable. Okay if any of you find that the C88 eats paper and jams up take note! You need to make sure you put lots of paper in there. Dont just put 1 or 2 sheets or even 3-5.. You need to have at least 5-30 sheets in there at all times! Why? Well when the paper gets down to about 4 sheets the grapplers have trouble grasping the paper and it will misalign it and cause the paper to be raised just enough so that the left (your left when facing the machine) corner of the paper hits the rollers and you have a paper jam! Now if the paper jam does in fact happen as it can be hard to remember to check for the level of the paper when you are really going, you will start to hear the paper sounding like its ripping or crinkling, immediately stop what you are doing and unplug the machine. This will not harm it. You will have wasted a sheet, maybe, but you will keep the rollers from getting ink on them which in turn will leave tracks on your next 3-4 pages printed. If you catch it early enough you can still use the paper, just not where the printing already occurred which is only about 5% of the paper. This tip should help out everyone who owns this thing and save those Epson folks some money in returned printers. I myself returned 4 before finding this out.
You all should watch the forums for new dark transfer papers on the horizon. A couple are in the works. One in England is about to find its way over here and I hear it like light transfer with the soft hand and no cutting.. Will wait to see about that.. Anyhow hope all is well in the heat press world!
Maybe this posting will remain up at the top.. I will start this off to be a one-stop location for tips and guides to Newbies... So please respond to this with tips and perhaps a thank you if you find any of the information helpful!
1. What do you need to create these cool iron-on shirts?
A. You need a t shirt (any color, but if its anything darker than the palm of your hand you need dark paper, anything lighter such as white, ash, light grey, light pink, baby blue, light green, etc.. you need light transfer paper. You can use 100% cotton or a poly blend.. B. You need an inkjet or color laser printer. .( I personally suggest the Epson Durabrite printers, because the inks are made using pigment inks that are waterproof and wont fade/crack even under 100+ washings. The C88 printer runs about $80, but if you just want to use your printer you have been warned that you wont get the same life expectancy as the durabrite inks) C. You need a household iron! (it has to have the cotton setting and get very hot.. The ideal temperature is 375-400.. If you plan on doing this professionally ie; doing craft shows, flea markets, etc.. buy a heat press which can run from $350 - $1000.. D. You need iron-on paper or heat transfer paper. Everyone on here just about swears on Avery papers and if you only want to do 5-10 shirts it is the best paper both light and dark.. You can find these papers for cheap at Walmart.. (if you dont know what a Walmart is, you probably arent worried about making a t shirt because you have been away a long time!) If you would like to make more than 10-15 shirts I recommend the BEST paper out there and you can get it at bestblanks.com.. I am in no way affiliated with them, but they do have the best product even if their customer service isnt the best..For around $25 you can get 25 sheets and these papers do not peel or crack when used with the Epson Durabrite inks.. I swear on them as I have made over 2,500 shirts using them... E. An image. You need some kind of image on your computer because that is where you will be printing from. You can either use a photo that youhave uploaded from you camera, or downloaded from the web, or one that you create yourself using photoshop, MS Paint, Corel, etc..
2. I have all of this stuff, now what?
A. Everything starts with your image. Your image should be around 300 dpi and should be sized to fit a standard sheet of paper 8.5 x 11.. After yor image is ready you need to follow your papers instructions on how to print. Typically light transfers have to be flipped or mirrored. You can do this in your image editting software or some printers have a mirror setting so try out your printer advanced settings to see if you have this option. Also make sure to PRINT on the BLANK SIDE of your PAPER unless your papers instructions suggest otherwise. B. You do not need to prep your t shirt any except to make sure there arent any creases or wrinkles. You will want to use a hard flat surface when you apply your design. C. Once your image is printed you should cut it out. You will have a off color box around your design if you do not cut it out. This makes all the difference in the world in making your design look professional. Cut within an eighth of an inch of the design. D. Lining the image up on the shirt. What we do is lay the shirt out on the bed. Then you can step back and look at it and position your design on the shirt that way. We use regular clear desk tape to secure the image on the shirt and then we move the t shirt to our heat press, or table where we will be applying the image. The instructions below are for light transfers.. For dark transfers you will need to use a combination of these and your paper instructions... E. (Iron) Now that your image is printed, cut out, and positioned you are ready to apply it to the shirt. If you are using an iron you will need to make sure your iron is preheated and ready to go. With irons you will have to apply two-handed pressure while going over the image. You will need to do overlapping strides on it. Think of how you go back and forth when cutting lawn. It should take you around 20 seconds to go the length of the paper and keep that pressure on! E. (Heat Press)If you are using a heat press you need to preheat your press.. I usually set mine at 375-400.. Once it is preheated just line the shirt up so the image is on the press plate. Make sure you remove the tape and then press your image.. We generally count from 8-12 (one and two and three, etc..) and then pull the press up and peel. If its a hot peel you will have to peel it IMMEDIATELY as stated below.. It will be hot, but if your quick you wont get burned.. (the burns are not severe at all, so dont think this will cause your fingers to damaged!! its more like quickly picking up some hot food and quickly moving it (poptarts anyone)! F. After you iron the transfer you will need to peel it. Some papers are hot peel and some are cold peel.. Of course some are both.. If its hot peel you will have to peel it IMMEDIATELY!! Even though the paper is hot to the touch you have to get if off while its still hot.. This may take some practice. If you dont peel it while its hot the paper will rip and most of it will remain on the shirt.. If this happens you can use a towel or if you have it, a piece of teflon and reiron the design to get it hot again. You cant put the iron directly on a peeled design as it will melt the design and ruin it. - If you used cool peel paper you can peel it at anytime.. For hot/cool peel paper the design will come out glossy if you peel it hot, and matted if you peel it cold... G. You are done. The main thing you need to do is follow your instructions that come with your paper. Some of the instructions vary. Use a combination of your instructions with this tutorial.. Also dont plan on your first design being perfect.. Dont buy just one t shirt and expect it to turn out perfectly.. The hotpeel designs are especially tricky and even though it doesnt seem right to touch the paper while its hot, it must be done this way!
3. Washing Tips..
If you use the bestblanks paper in conjunction with the Epson durabrite inks there are no special washing instructions... Wash them hot, cold, it doesnt matter.. You can dry them as well.. If your using Avery paper or any of the others you will want to wash your t shirt in cold water and NOT machine dry them. You will also probably want to wait at least 3 days before you actually wash them because we hear the inks can run a bit if you do it any sooner.. If you wash them in hot water and dry them expect peeling and cracking.. Again this is just if you use the store bought papers and not if you go with the Epson inks and bestblanks...
4. General Tips:
A. Use two people. This helps alot if your doing quite a few t shirts.. We do it where one person does the positioning while the other is pressing... Two people also help when cutting! B. Dont think that cutting takes too long. We generally cut everyday so we have become cutting experts.. Use titanium blade scissors.. They are a few bucks more, but man are they AWESOME! C. To create some cool school clothes for your kids and save money you can go to blankshirts.com and order youth sizes.. You can get them for about $2-$2.50 and you dont have to be a wholesaler to buy! Buy your kid 20 shirts, and then buy the professional paper from bestblanks for $25. You will have 20 shirts for your child and it cost you around $60!! Thats pretty awesome.. And you can use images of things they like from Google images like Bratz, Legos, Star Wars, etc.. since your not reselling these.. D. Beware of the cheap papers that are not namebrand like the ones sold in hobby stores, or fabric shops.. We have heard alot of complaints from people on this forum about no-name brands.. E. If you choose to buy the Avery blanks you can do so at Walmart.. They are usually in the school supplies section or maybe in the computer photo paper section.. Beware that people sometimes switch the light paper for the dark paper because its cheaper.. Do NOT buy an opened pack... You may not know it until you try to apply it and then you will have messed up your shirt.
I'm sure I missed something, but maybe I was just leaving some of the glory for someone else. I tried to give you the professional side of it as well as the amateur side. You can see what we have done with our designs by going to our websites located in the signature.. Maybe this will help newbies who are either completely lost or have some ideas, but are not sure of some of the finer points. We did try to emphasize that the paper and ink matters because when we buy a t shirt from some place we want it to look its best and last many washings. Why not create some cool t shirts for yourself that do the same? Please reply with your own tips and lets try to keep this post at the top so everyone can find it!
Sorry, but i didnt want to post this with the other topic since it deals with shipping.. If your using padded envelopes to ship items or small clothes boxes or want to, try www.uline.com ... Request a catlog from them (its free) and you will see what i mean about how good they are and their customer service is outstanding!!! I worked in shipping/receiving for years and for supplies they are one of the best.. Order same day by 6:00 p.m. and they will get your order out and they have locations all around the US.. I bought some padded envelopes from them for $20 a case 100 per case!!! these envelopes are around $1 at Walmart and Office Depot!! Just some more info, hope you needed it..
I recently got some paper from Bestblanks for light colored t shirts and I had some problems with them.. I use teflon on top of my tranfsers (between the press and paper) and I followed the directions exactly.. When I went to peel the paper it wouldnt budge.. So I used more time as they suggest.. This gave me a little bit of peeling, but it soon ripped and then i was stuck again.. Finally i tried another transfer without the teflon.. It worked better and most of it peeled, but my designs have some areas where I cut it kind of thin (like around letters) and the paperripped again.. The Damn paper cools too fast and once it cools you cant peel it.. Anyone else have this problem? Im afraid that for my designs I may have to use a cool peel method because if the paper rips just once im screwed!
I printed some white tees with durabrite ink from Epson on Avery paper.. The ink claims to be waterproof so therefore the ink shouldn't smear, bleed, or run in any form.. I printed the shirts and pressed them (ironed) yesterday (9-17-05) and washed them today (9-18-05)... After washing all three of the shirts I made the test results prove that the ink does NOT lie.. None of them ran.. One shirt had blues and reds (american flag), the others had pinks, reds, blues, purples and none of them ran.. So if you were having trouble with inks running after washing then you might want to consider the Epson Durabrites!
I need someones help.. I know this is the silk screening forum, but I was hoping that maybe some professionals out there have dealt with this situation and could maybe shed some light on this.. When doing some iron-ons with the color blue in them I have noticed that when I wash them they smear or run.. Is there a way to prevent this? I was thinking that maybe the shirt can be permanently set or flash dried.. Thanks..