posted by Ahijoy on November 11, 2022
What Do I Need To Print T-Shirts At Home?
Are you bored with all your old T-shirts but lack the budget for a new one or you find nothing worth buying in the market, or are you planning to start a small home-based business of your own? If you wish to do the former then chances are you would have a basic t-shirt lying somewhere in your wardrobe, take that out and glam it up by printing a cool vinyl design on it. And if you wish to be an entrepreneur, it’s time to get the paraphernalia needed for the task. What would that be? Let’s find out.
Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing
Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) printing is one of the most cost-effective and straightforward methods of producing custom-printed items. Most company owners who want to create printed t-shirts or other items will begin with this technique. This approach is less expensive to start with and requires less technical knowledge than other printing methods.
HTV printing makes use of vinyl polymer, which is available in a roll or in flat sheets. It is typically available in one color with an adhesive backing that is activated with heat. A heat press machine or a dry home iron can be used to apply heat to it. HTV is cut, weeded and heat pressed onto the substrate.
Tools Needed For HTV Printing
For any project to succeed, proper tools are required to carry it out. The same goes for HTV printing. If you want the whole operation to run smoothly, you will need the following:
Vinyl For Heat Transfer
The first and the foremost requirement is to get a premium quality heat transfer vinyl from a reliable seller. You may select from a variety of textures, colors, finishes, and other options to ensure that your finished product is as near to your original idea as possible.
At Ahijoy, we have the best quality vinyl available in a wide variety at reasonable prices. You can choose from standard, glitter, metallic, holographic, puff, electric and patterned vinyl. Each film has its own unique characteristics that will make your designs extremely captivating.
Fabric Which Requires Printing
The fabric on which you will put your vinyl is another important component for HTV crafts. Many individuals use vinyl to decorate t-shirts. It's critical to choose a material that is compatible with the sort of vinyl you're using. HTV works well with cotton, polyester, poly/cotton blends and the like fabrics.
If you are a novice dabbling in crafting for the first time, revamp your old, monotone shirt first to get the hang of the process. With the passage of time, you can widen the products you design based on the materials you utilize and your own ingenuity.
HTV Cutting Machine
Cutting your HTV items by hand to get the required design is fully achievable however, if your design is intricate and difficult, using scissors can be pretty tiring and tough. Plus you will not get the same professional result and neatness. Cutting by hand runs the danger of a minor error destroying your whole work.
Using an HTV cutting machine automates the procedure and removes the risk. Investing in a cutting gadget will allow you to increase your output while decreasing your stress level. There are quite a few options available in the market such as Cricut, Silhouette, Brother ScanNCut, Graphtec and more.
A cutting mat is highly essential to protect your workspace from the cutter’s blade. It prevents the blade from getting dull. It also comes with a grid to help you cut your design of the right size. It is sticky and comes in different tack levels so that your decal stays in place while it's being cut.
After you've cut the vinyl, you'll need to remove the negative pieces to bring out your design before pressing it onto a t-shirt or pillowcase. You'll need an instrument such as a weeding pen which will help remove the extra vinyl from around and inside the design. A weeding tool eliminates unneeded vinyl so you can apply your pattern while emphasizing every detail.
Source Of Heat
Of course, heat is required to adhere the vinyl to your substrate. You have two options: an ordinary dry iron or an HTV-specific heat press machine. A dry, home iron is a risky alternative since it cannot always cover the full surface of your vinyl design at once but it is usable.
A heat press, on the other hand, uniformly warms the whole vinyl design to a predetermined temperature while applying the correct amount of pressure. There are quite a few kinds of heat press machines: clam shell, swing-away, draw type, sublimation type and more. You can use the one that best suits your needs.
Since high temperature is involved in the HTV printing process, it is imperative to protect the fabric from its adverse effects. A protective sheet is kept on top of the design placed on the fabric before heat is applied to it. This can be a double-sided, non-stick Teflon sheet or a parchment paper. You can also use butcher paper.
Sublimation is the use of heat to transfer design to a substrate so that the ink completely permeates becoming a part of it. Images and designs are printed on special paper and placed on the garment before being heated to allow the ink to become part of the fabric. The garment will become beautiful, more breathable and pleasant to the touch as a result.
The best thing is that the numerals, characters, and pictures will not peel, wear off, or wash away for a very long period of time!
Tools Needed For Sublimation Printing
Sublimation printing is different from HTV transfer hence you might need some more and different tools. Here’s a list:
For sublimation you require a special printer which can work with sublimation ink that is different and essential for the process. Your normal inkjet printer will not do the job. The Sawgrass SG500 and SG1000 sublimation printers are the most user-friendly and intuitive printers for beginners. These are powerful, versatile and economical that let you personalize a wide range of objects like mugs, coasters, plaques, T-shirts, mouse pads, and much more.
A heat press is the second most important piece of equipment to purchase. You can use an iron but for sublimation printing, we suggest you invest in a heat press machine for high quality, bright, and consistent prints. The details are mentioned above.
A sublimation blank is a plain, blank surface on which sublimation printing can be carried out - your medium, you can say. You've received your printer package, your heat press and now you're ready to start personalizing. If you are sublimating on a T-shirt it should be noted that only items made of polyester or with a particular polyester coating can be sublimated.
Ink and Paper
Sublimation ink is special as it directly turns into gas when heat is applied without first liquefying. It permeates the substrate leaving a long-lasting print. You will receive a complete set of ink cartridges with the printer package, but it is always helpful to keep an additional set of ink to avoid unpleasant events (such as running out of ink in the midst of an order!)
Sublimation paper is also needed which is a special printing paper used in the process. It absorbs ink and retains it until it is transferred onto a substrate.
Design Software For Both The Processes
Last but not the least, you need a simple computer and a design software. Your computer does not have to be fancy but it must have plenty of storage space to save images. It must also support the graphic software of your choice.
You can use any design software for both the processes but with HTV, your cutting machine will also provide its own software such as Cricut has Design Space and Silhouette has Silhouette Studio.