Heat press machines are doubtlessly one of the man’s BEST inventions. The helpful machine enables you to easily transfer your own designs to nearly everything you can imagine—from garments to mugs, plates, hats, tile, glassware, and promotional items, etc.
As easy and straightforward to use as these machines are, it’s still possible to make mistakes when using them. However, knowing the common mistakes people make when using them and how to avoid them will help you easily avoid them and make successful transfers.
Joins us below as take a closer look at the 7 most common mistakes people make when using heat press machines.
#1. Using the wrong transfer paper
One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when using a heat transfer machine is choosing the wrong type of transfer paper.
When buying a transfer paper, you should ensure that you get the best quality. This will ensure you don’t end up with crooked designs (we’ll discuss this mistake later on) just because you bought a cheap, low-quality paper.
Crooked designs can seriously ruin your business reputations and make customers run away from you like a sinking ship!
While still at it, you should also consider the type of garment material you’re working on and buying the right transfer paper for it. As the experienced heat printers will tell you, there are special transfer papers for certain tees.
#2. Using transfer paper the wrong way
Another costly mistake you’re likely to make when using your heat press revolves around the transfer paper.
You can invest in a good quality paper but you if you don’t use it correctly, you’ll not get your expected results.
Most people forgot to mirror the design when placing on the transfer paper, which will lead to the print appearing backward.
People also tend to use the wrong side of the paper, which is another grave mistakes during heat pressing.
As if that’s not enough, some people tend to make the mistake of cutting the image and leaving some sections of the design unironed.
TIP: If you want to avoid using your transfer paper the wrong way, we advise you to always do a test run with the paper you intend to use. This will show you whether your design will come out perfectly when you finally print it on the t-shirt.
#3. Printing a crooked design
When you end up with a crooked print on your garment, just know you messed up things during the transfer process. This will be quite a frustrating encounter for you as it’ll lead to unexpected, unsightly results.
Luckily, you can easily avoid this error and ensure you end up with well lined up printed designs on your t-shirt by ensuring you load the shirt onto your heat press straight. In other words, line up the tag with the heat press backbone.
Sometimes you might have a hard time trying to load the t-shirt straight. In that case, try folding the tee in half, sleeve to sleeve, and then press center line in the cloth. This line will act as the placement mark that will help you center your designs or position them correctly for left or right chest prints.
Just ensure you load your t-shirt correctly to avoid crooked designs!
#4. Your design disappears!
Even when you’ve used the right transfer paper and placed it correctly and used all the correct machine settings, it’s still possible for the design to disappear on the garment.
Pretty weird, right?
The main reason behind this problem is using the wrong color combinations!
If you don’t want to be frustrated with mysteriously disappearing designs, then be sure to choose your colors wisely. Choose opaque transfer technology when printing on dark garments. Trying to print on a clear paper and pressing it on a dark t-shirt will NOT work.
When buying a transfer paper for dark garments, you might want to ask your local dealer for the best choice to ensure you don’t make this huge mistake.
#5. The material you’re transferring to burning/melting
Perhaps this is the biggest mistake of all...the material you’re decorating or transferring the design to gets scorched, discolored, and even melts!
As you already know, different fabrics come with different temperature thresholds and melting points. If you us 375 degrees for all your substrates, you’ll definitely melt a number of items.
It’s, therefore, recommended that you always understand the type of fabric a garment is made of before you can start working on it. This will help you set the right temperature and transfer period, eliminating incidences of burning or melting of your customer clothes.
NOTE: This issue shouldn’t be confused with discoloration witnessed in burgundy or red t-shirts when pressed. This is usually a temporary case that lasts for around 15-20 minutes before the garment regains its original color.
#6. Design starts peeling off after sometime
What could be more disappointing than a design that perfectly fell into place during the transfer process starting to peel off or wash away?
When a customer hires you to decorate their garments, they expect you to make durable prints that’ll last throughout the life of the garment. They’ll get disappointed if they discover the design is coming just after a few weeks of washing.
So, how do you prevent this unfortunate incident from happening?
First, you should always ensure you pre-heat a garment before printing on it. This will help release any moisture and wrinkles that might interfere with adhesion
Second, ensure you apply a sufficient amount of pressure during transfer. Be on the lookout for any barriers that might interfere with correct pressure applications such as the buttons, collar, zips, etc., and compensate for them by increasing the amount of pressure. Using pillows or pads will also help you build up the press area and eliminate any pressure barriers.
Third, ensure you apply the recommended amount of temperature and your garment is exposed for the recommended duration. Less transfer heat and hastening the process will affect the longevity of the print.
Other ways of ensuring durable transfers involve choosing a transfer that sticks well to the fabric you’re working on and giving care instructions for the type of transfer you use on each garment.
#7. Mistakes Arising From Distractions
Lastly, it’s easy to get distracted when using your heat press, whether it’s a phone call, a customer walking into your shop, or when you’re multitasking.
When you focus on your main job, you’re less likely to make any of the 6 mistakes we’ve discussed above in your heat transfer process. You can try to end or minimize distractions when heat pressing to ensure you don’t make costly errors with your machine.
A good way to reduce these distractions is setting aside time for printing ONLY. During this time, you’ll not be available to meet your customers and you’ll only concentrate on a single job.
You can also consider having someone to help you with things like answering the phone call, attending to your customers, etc.
These are the 7 most common mistakes you’re likely to make when using a heat press machine. All these are costly mistakes that can lead to frustrations and disappointments. Most of them will even cost your business reputation and customers.
Now that you understand these mistakes well and know how to avoid them, we hope you’ll take extra caution the next time you’ll be using your heat press machine.