What equipment and supplies are needed for heat-applied decorating?

Tools of the trade include:

  1. A high-quality heat press; either a swing-away or clamshell with digital time, temperature, and pressure gauges. Purchasing the highest quality heat press as possible is key since the heat press dictates the end result;
  2. An inkjet printer, a laser printer, or a sublimation printer based on type of transfers that will be created. It’s important to thoroughly investigate printers to ensure that they will work with the heat-transfer/sublimation-transfer papers the operator has chosen to use; 
  3. Heat-transfer papers. Both laser and inkjet papers have advantages, and both offer transfer papers that will work on soft substrates as well as hard surfaces;
  4. Sublimation paper and ink (if going this route). This system offers another avenue for the customer when, for example, a 100% polyester-coated youth team shirt needs to be printed, or when the customer has specific requirements that demand a polyester-coated substrate.

When transferring images to soft substrates like T-shirts, hoodies, bags, and leather, either a swing-away or clamshell heat press is required. For hard substrates like plates and cups, a solidly constructed, commercial-duty mug press and plate press are essential. A system that has the ability to work with 11- and 15-ounce mugs and water bottles is also a consideration, and 12- and 17-ounce taper mugs offer a great range for the operator. One that can handle high-volume production affording even pressure will ensure excellent results. 


Gregory Markus

Gregory Markus is the president of Rhinotech. 

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