What’s the step-by-step process for heat printing dimensional logos to caps?

Innovation in new patch products for headwear include embroidered patches, 3D embroidered patches, leather patches, sublimated twill, silicone molded transfers, and the like. Some of these styles have so many extreme levels of height in the same logo that a cover sheet safeguard is needed.

Traditionally, decorators have used cover sheets like siliconized kraft paper or non-stick surfaces. The new decoration covers for printing headwear are silicone pads. Offered in various thicknesses, a decorator selects a pad that matches the thickness of their logo. When applied, the pad fills in the small valleys of the logo to ensure the pressure is achieved, resulting in a print that will last.

With a whole new workflow and capability of headwear, let’s explore a step-by-step view:

  1. Set heat press to recommended time, temperature, and pressure
  2. Load hat onto the press
    • In this step, ensure the crown of the hat is flush with the platen. Any gap space between the platen and the crown of the hat could result in a damaged print.
  3. Position logo
    • Typically, you are positioning a flat logo onto a curved surface. Try to bend the logo slightly in the middle to get it to hold in place or use special heat resistant tape to hold the logo in place. After preparing the logo, cover it with a print pad. Print pads are critical to the process as they not only help to achieve pressure in the peaks and valleys of dimensional logos but also help to prevent the hat from scorching.
  4. Lock the press down and then remove the hat and logo once completed

With a little practice, anyone can catch on. Heat printing makes it easy to train operators and scale the business. Additionally, the footprint of the machine is small, resulting in on-site printing opportunities for selling occasions such as tournaments, championships, and the like. Beyond the footprint of the press, hats are a low-risk item. By choosing a one size fits all hat, an event printer can keep inventory streamlined and not have to worry about managing sizes.


Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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