What Is A Heat Press?

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What Is A Heat Press?

What is a Heat Press?

If you find yourself seeking the definition of a heat press today, welcome to our blog.

Stahls' UK are the UK Home of Heat Presses, Heat Transfers and all things Heat Printing, so you're in the right place.

Let's get started.

What is a heat press machine?

A Heat Press is a machine that has been specially designed to adhere heat-applied materials onto fabrics like clothing. In its most basic form, it consists of a heating element that clamps down onto a lower plate.


How does a Heat Press work?

A heat press applies a specific temperature of heat to a material of your choice for a specified period with a specified pressure/

With the right heat press, the operation can be very user-friendly.

Step 1: Determine the time, temperature and pressure reading for your application. Adjust the press as necessary.

Step 2: Place your fabric or garment onto the lower plate area.

Step 3: Place your decoration adhesive side down on the garment where you need it.

Step 4: Use the heat press lever or a handle to put the upper heated plate down onto the garment for a specified period.

Step 5: Pull the press up. Peel the carrier away from your heat-applied decoration in line with the instructions. (Either a hot peel or a cold peel).

What heat-applied materials are available?

Custom Heat Transfers

Let's start with this option as it is the most simple method for a new starter to obtain. All you need is a digital file and an internet connection.

Stahls' UK offers two digital heat transfer options. UltraColour Hybrid and UltraColour MAX DTF. They both offer extremely similar results but the circumstances in which you would purchase them are very different.

UltraColour Hybrid is the type you should choose if you are looking to purchase heat transfers in bulk. As the quantity of the order increases, the price per transfer decreases. Minimum order of 10 sheets.

UltraColour DTF, however, is a minimum order of just 1. This option is a great choice for people getting started who don't want to commit to large numbers of designs.

Both of these options require a JPEG or PNG file to be uploaded online. These transfers are digital so the finished product will replicate the image you have upload. If your design has a white box background on it, this will appear printed in the finished product. If you upload a photo of a loved one, your finished transfer will look the same with the same gradients of colour that a detailed photo offers. Don't forget that with Stahls' UK, you can upload multiple designs to one page with no extra charges. This means all you have to do is cut round the gaps between the designs when they arrive and you've received multiple transfers for the price of one sheet.

There is also a Screen Printed heat transfer option that replicates a traditional screen-printed finish, but you will need to upload a vector file for this so today we will focus on the easiest options for a beginner.


Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat Transfer Vinyl comes in many colours and finishes but the basic premise is that it's a length of block-coloured heat-applied vinyl that needs to be cut into a design.

To create a successful design with this, you would need to purchase a metre or a roll of your desired colour and finish of HTV. Then you would need to source your design with all the background removed from it. You'd then upload it into a cutting software such as Silhouette Studio or Graphtec Studio (Each cutter will come with a recommended software to use). You'd load your HTV into your cutter and after inputting the correct blades, and the correct cut settings, you cutter will cut the design out of the Vinyl. Once this process is complete, you then need to remove the excess vinyl from the cut design to reveal your design.

Designs are often block colours when using this method. Some HTV's can be used together to create a 2/3 layer design but this method does not replicate any kind of digital detail.

While using HTV feels like a lengthier process, some people choose this as after they've purchased the cutter, it can be a cheaper method for decorating garments as a metre of vinyl can cost £5-7 and they can get multiple designs out of this.


What can you use a Heat Press for?

With the right heat press, the possibilities are endless.

Hotronix heat presses offer an Interchangeable platen system.

What is an Interchangeable platen?

A lower platen is the bottom plate of the heat press where you lay your garment before pressing it.

With a Hotronix heat press, you can flip a small lever and remove your large platen for a smaller platen to help you print different items. Choose from 15 Hotronix platens including a Cap Bill Platen and a Shoe Platen meaning your heat press transforms into a hat press or a shoe press. 

Heat Presses can be used to apply sublimation prints, screen printed transfers, full colour or DTF heat transfers, heat transfer vinyl and other heat-applied items like badges or patches.

Which Heat Press is the best?

While there are a lot of heat presses on the market, they are not all made equally. Many heat presses are unreliable and cheaply made. Their heating elements are poorly created, often leaving cold spots or the temperature readout says it's one temperature but when tested, the temperature is much lower. This results in a poorly adhered decoration and a poor quality garment and experience for your customer.

A quality heat press is a machine where you can control your time, temperature and pressure.

Ideally, you want a dual timer, one to control your pre-press and one to control your main press.

The temperature reading should be accurate to within the degree.

And you should look for a pressure readout system as every heat-applied decoration comes with a specific recipe for application.

Hotronix are the World's Leading Heat Press Manufacturer and the only choice for reliable heat presses.

If you'd like to compare and contrast some of the beginner & budget Hotronix heat presses, check out this blog here.

20 days ago