Heat press FAQs for those who are new to the sport! There are a ton of questions that both beginners and those more experienced have about heat pressing. There is so much to learn, and we’re always coming across new and different things. That’s why we wanted a list of the many frequently asked questions about heat press machines and how to use them.
If we haven’t answered your question below, please let us know and we’ll answer it and possibly add it to the list. We want this to be a valuable page for all of those tricky questions that need to be answered, but don’t necessarily deserve an entire post to themselves!
Now, in no particular order, to the questions!
- 1 Can I press on both the back and front of my t-shirt with a heat press?
- 2 How do I stop my heat press beeping?
- 3 What is the best vinyl for coozies?
- 4 Should I buy the unusually cheap heat press on Ebay? Is this a scam?
- 5 Do I need to wash my t-shirts before heat pressing them?
- 6 Where is the best place to buy used and second hand heat press machines?
- 7 How do I identify an unknown font?
- 8 How do I line up a heat transfer on my t-shirt?
- 9 Where do I place my transfer on the t-shirt?
- 10 Do heat press machines use a lot of power?
- 11 Can I press caps with a regular flat heat press?
- 12 How do I remove a piece of unwanted vinyl on a t-shirt?
- 13 What can I do if my vinyl transfer is lifting after being washed?
- 14 How do I get wrinkles out of vinyl on a curved surface?
Can I press on both the back and front of my t-shirt with a heat press?
Yes! This is no problem at all. Do one side and then put a Teflon sheet between the two sides and on top of the new side you are transferring onto.
How do I stop my heat press beeping?
There are many reasons your machine is incessantly beeping, causing you to lose your mind!
- Some machines will beep when they are closed so that you don’t forget the fact. Have you opened the machine?
- A mechanical fault such as a loose bolt or screw somewhere on your press – some machines beep to warn you of this and will cease once this has been remedied.
- A problem with the timer – sometimes setting the timer to 999 seconds will stop the beeping for a time – however you now have to count down any transfers yourself, or using your mobile phone.
- Unplug the machine and turn it back on. The old ‘switch it off and on’ is an age old remedy for any problem!
- Call the manufacturer and hope it’s still under warranty.
What is the best vinyl for coozies?
We have found the best vinyl for drink coolers to be Siser EasyWeed Stretch. This is applied to the coozie at 305° F for 10 – 15 seconds. Be sure to use either a Teflon sheet or parchment paper. You can purchase EasyWeed Stretch on Amazon here, or at any good vinyl retailer.
Should I buy the unusually cheap heat press on Ebay? Is this a scam?
There often seems to be at least one heat press listing on Ebay that is A LOT cheaper than all the rest. For example, you’ll see what is usually a $180 machine for $30.
Is it a scam?
Yes! It is more than likely a scam. Usually if you check back within a day you’ll find the listing has been removed by Ebay. You should particularly avoid new sellers with no reviews.
Do I need to wash my t-shirts before heat pressing them?
No, you don’t need to wash your t-shirts before applying a heat transfer to them – whether that’s HTV or with transfer paper. Doing so can take away the ‘new feeling’ of the t-shirt which is not great if you’re selling it.
Washing t-shirts first is sometimes suggested as a way to get better adhesion of the heat transfer. However, as long as you pre-press your garment, and use adequate pressure, you will achieve the perfect result.
Where is the best place to buy used and second hand heat press machines?
Ebay is a top spot for pre-loved heat press machines. You can find not only quality second hand US machines, but also used Chinese made machines we see all over the place.
How do I identify an unknown font?
Sometimes I spot a font on Facebook or in an online shop that I absolutely adore! Is it the same for you? The question becomes, ‘what on earth is it!?’ There are a few ways to find out:
- Fontsquirrel’s Matcherator – upload a picture and let them try and figure it out! Follow the instructions and it will give you either a perfect match, or a number of fonts very similar.
- My Font’s What The Font! – this tool seems to be less effective than Fontsquirrel, but worth a go if your font is clearly displayed.
- Facebook! – there are a few groups full of fonty people. Try Silhouette CAMEO Project Inspiration or Cricut Design Space. These are large groups which you must join and wait to be accepted.
- Last but not least, T-Shirt Forums is another helpful place to upload a photo and ask ‘what is this font?’ Best to do it in the Graphics and Design section.
How do I line up a heat transfer on my t-shirt?
The bane of every heat transfer user – how do I line up my heat transfer or get them centered accurately?! If you can’t justify spending hundreds on a laser alignment tool (here on Ebay), but you’re sick of just using the eyeballs, here are a few other techniques you can pull out your sleeve:
- Fold the t-shirt in half both ways and you will end up with a centre point to work from – the vertical line can be especially helpful for positioning smaller transfers higher up (if you find your fold lines are not showing well, you can iron them into the garment. The lines will disappear for the most part during the transfer).
- Gently fold or pinch your transfer together (in the middle of the transfer) you can then line this up with the vertical center line perfectly.
- Vinyl alignment tools are available on Amazon – here is an alignment bundle. Better yet, get a Siser HTV bundle with a free alignment tool!
- Quilting rulers are another way to get accurate and consistent positioning of transfers across multiple garments. Just work out where exactly you want the logo or design using a ruler, and duplicate the process for the best results.
- Practice, practice and more practice!
Where do I place my transfer on the t-shirt?
The standard distance below the neckline to position your transfer is 3 inches for sizes S – XL. Larger sized t-shirts should have the transfer placed lower down than this.
Do heat press machines use a lot of power?
For the most part no. For example, an 1800 watt machine that is on for 6 hours a day might use $1 a day extra. You do want to have your machine plugged into its own outlet though so that it is not competing for electricity with other devices. If you find the lights in the room flickering, you probably need to use another outlet.
Can I press caps with a regular flat heat press?
No, not really. You will likely ruin the cap by attempting to use a flat heat press. You really need to use a dedicated hat/cap press, or at least an attachment press. Read our article on multifunction heat press machines if you’re considering a cheap cap press.
How do I remove a piece of unwanted vinyl on a t-shirt?
This often happens, especially with intricate vinyl designs – accidentally leaving a piece of unweeded vinyl. The best way to get pressed vinyl off your garment is to get an iron and heat up the area from the back. You should then be able to pull it off with your tweezers. Best to get to it quickly though!
What can I do if my vinyl transfer is lifting after being washed?
This is such a pain! It’s always disappointing to see vinyl coming off after being put through the wash. You can re-press the t-shirt and that should re-adhere the transfer. Think about getting a heat press if you are only using an iron!
How do I get wrinkles out of vinyl on a curved surface?
This question arises frequently around Christmas time as people decorate Christmas ball ornaments with adhesive vinyl. The key is in keeping your design relatively small so that wrinkles don’t occur. But if you do get the odd one, try blowing it with a hair dryer from a bit of distance. Just so that it warms it up a bit. Then try and smooth it out with your finger.
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