Welcome to the quick and easy tutorial on how to use either the clamshell or swinger/draw heat press machine to print a t-shirt design. The method used is heat transfer. Most designs and artwork looks great using this method. Before we get started, let’s go over some things you will need:
- The design/artwork on a transfer paper readily available
- Your heat press machine
- Sufficient lighting
- T-shirts or the garment you are printing
Step 1: Warm up machine.
Set your heat press machine to the correct temperature. Settings vary depending on your machine. Depending on the thickness of the garment, most heat transfers usually require about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating up the heat press machine usually takes around 10 minutes or so.
Also make sure to clean any dirt or dust on the upper and lower heat platen before you warm it up to avoid dust sticking on your garment. Adjust your pressure knob(if using clamshell) to ensure that your machine can apply enough pressure on the design.
Step 2: Garment Preparation
All Images Via Rhinestone World
Once it is on the correct temperature, put your garment on the bottom heat platen. I suggest you press the garment once(about 10 seconds) to get the garment warm for easier peeling later on. Make sure you align it to make sure its straight.
If you are new to this, I suggest you use the top edge of the platen as a baseline on aligning the garment as shown above.
Step 3: Peel Your Design
Next, you want to peel of the design off the special transfer paper. Keep in mind that you only want to peel it off before printing to prevent dust getting onto the design.
Step 4: Place Your Design On The Garment
Align the design on where you want it to be. Most of the time, it is in the middle. Occasionally, you will have to print garments that require designs on the side. For those, it will require more precision when you are doing that.
If you are afraid of messing it up, use a long ruler to help you align it.
Step 5: Press the Design
Once you are done placing the design, go ahead and press the design with the heat press. Clamp it for 10 to 15 seconds and you can pull it up. If you own an automatic heat press, then the machine will rise by itself after the time is up.
Step 6: Peel the Design Plastic Off
This is the final step. Make sure you peel slowly so it won’t smear or not stick on the garment. And that’s it! Take the garment off and put it in a place for it to cool off. Do not touch the design to avoid any potential damage to the design.