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Topic: Beginner's guide to Inkjet Iron-On Transfers  (Read 25918 times)
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lhhgbh
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« on: May 08, 2006 12:42:17 PM »

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!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011 01:24:07 PM by jungrrl - Reason: made title more descriptive » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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nani
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006 09:01:26 PM »

Oh boy, this is my very first post/reply. I'm probably doing it wrong, because I haven't read the Help section, but in any case I just wanted to say thank you for all the detailed information. I am going to keep it and refer to it later because I hope to  be transferring some images soon.
Thanks again.  Smiley
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lhhgbh
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2006 01:42:12 PM »

any problems just come here and post it.. thanks!
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Kuky
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2006 12:48:16 PM »

Hi! I'm new here to Craftster. Thank you lhhgbh for all the information!

I want to open my open business. I haven't decided yet on whether or not to go the silk screen route or iron on. I'm just in the research phase right now.  You mentioned bestblanks.com. If I do want to get a heat press would you say they are the best place to get it from?
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2006 11:41:41 PM »

Your welcome Kuky.. I wrote that because so many people come in asking the same repeated questions and since the answers are spread all over I wanted to put it all in one place and yet share what I have found so far..

Bestblanks was good for me because I live in Florida and they are in Miami.. Their price was about the same as most. They might be a little be cheaper.. My only gripe with them is they love Fed Ex and I have had some problems with Fed Ex, but as far as their paper goes, it is TOP NOTCH! I was like you and wondering which road to take.. Of course heat pressing is the cheapest route and honestly when I got my press I had only read about doing it.. I had not actually pressed a shirt.. I had some designs on my pc and sort of just gave it a shot.. I bought the Hobby-Lite for like $375 last july.. when it came in I will admit that me and my wife were like WTF?? it seemed kind of cheap and small.. Well it has since made over 3,000 shirts without one problem.. I tried Dharma Tradings paper and wasnt happy with it.. I have tried store bought and its a joke.. No washing life whatsoever and you have to remember NOT to dry it and all that.. With the Bestblanks paper and Epsons durabrite inks you CANT go wrong.. You dont have to wash it in a certain water temp, or line dry it.. This is really important if you want your customers to be happy.. the life span of my shirts is close to that of silk screened.. I bought the C88 epson printer which goes for like $80.. We literally started this thing on a tiny budget and we now have major plans to expand quite a bit.. We have a couple of designs that we would like to silk screen.. We will get into it, but to start off cheaply to get a feel for it, the heat press has been awesome.. Now when I create a design I make an effort to design it a specific way so I can put them on light color shirts as well so we do have some kind of options as far as color which I know is a BIG strike against pressing.. Im not trying to tell you what to do, but if you have any questions about the life and quality of the shirts, dont worry about it.. I know it seems to good to be true that a cheap printer and a cheap press could do all of what I said, but ITS 100% truth.. It took some getting used to, but once you do a few, its a snap..
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Kuky
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2006 11:52:31 AM »

Thank you again lhhgbh! You're awesome!!

I can't wrap my head around the durability. I want to make baby onesies and with the baby poop and etc I'm worried.

How about cutting? My design isn't square. It's graphic and text. Will I need to cut an eighth of an inch around the top or bottom of each letter? That's sounds tedious! If I don't will the cut line show?

I read on another thread to use jersey knit. 1x1 rib will not work. Is that true? Someone posted that in a thread several days ago as well. They mentioned blankshirts.com doesn't have a jersey knit for women. That's true for the onesies as well. I did find rabbit skins onesies at t-shirtwholesaler.com in a jersey knit and a ringspun cotton jersey. But they're more expensive. But would that work better for iron ons?
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2006 12:30:40 AM »

i would check around for the rabbit skins because they are sold on more than one site... You might find them a little cheaper in some places.. As for the 1x1 ribbing i have heard the same thing and so i have steered clear of that venture.. It sucks though because I have found some nice womens shirts and they are all 1x1 ribbing..

as for the cutting, it does SEEM tedious indeed, but once you actually do it, its not that bad.. I recommend the cutting and it doesnt have to be too close or perfect.. I usually stay within an eighth or sometimes even a quarter.. The main thing you want to get rid of is most of the excess.. If your doing white then perfection is not important when cutting.. If you are trying some light colors like baby blue or light pink then you will need to be a little more closer.. We have a Princess design that goes on light colors and whites and on the light pink even if we dont cut into every curve or get really close you cant tell unless your examining it with a fine-tooth comb.. The cutting doesnt take long at all.. During christmas we sold around 1,500 shirts and we cut every single one of them... You get good at cutting and it doesnt take that long.. It just seems like alot of work, but it really isnt bad.. Get a friend to help you cut and it gets done in no time.. If you are selling much more than that you should really consider silk screening anyway..
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lhhgbh
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2006 12:10:56 AM »

hi nicole, pleased to hear from you... welcome!
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2006 12:21:00 AM »

Oau!

This method looks much easier that regular screenprinting. I went so crazy with the screenprinting way. I was It also give more options.
I will try the iron thing. Thanks for sharing.
Best,
Beln
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2006 04:50:43 PM »

Screenprinting is the BEST for businesses.. With iron ons you can also have a business, but more smaller.. Its a good way to start-up.. You have many more options with screen printing, but iron ons arent as bad as they have been out to be.. It steams me when you see sellers describe their items as "Silk Screened, NOT Cheap Iron-Ons"!!!
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Help end wars and hunger, sport a funny T-Shirt!
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Over 180 Different Countries To Show Off Your Pride!!
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