Heat Printing Defined

You can heat print just about any item. It is the fastest growing segment in the apparel decoration industry thanks to the development of innovative new adhesives and super thin materials.

Didn’t think it was something that needed to be addressed, but I guess there are readers out there that aren’t quite sure what I  mean when I say “heat printing.”  Heat printing has been around for ages, but thanks to new technologies it has gained increased respect as an affordable, profitable, alternative solution for short to medium personalization runs, one-offs, team personalization and much more. You all know what is means when you hear the words “screen printing” or “embroidery.” Except for the folks that insist on calling it “silkscreening,” almost everyone knows what those apparel decorating technologies are all about. I will admit, heat printing is not used universally. Some people call it heat sealing, heat pressing, hot sealing, hot pressing,  thermal printing, hot ironing, hot pressing, the list goes on. When my grandfather AC Stahl developed a thermal adhesive to stick felt letters on baseball jerseys, they didn’t have a special machine to do the pressing. When you got those transfers in your cereal box when you were a kid back in the 60’s you put them on with an iron. Today all professional heat printing applications are done with heat presses. You need a heat press in order to offer the service of heat printing. But once you have a heat press, you have all the advantages that heat printing offers at your fingertips–the ability to print any quantity, the ability to print on any item, the ability to create hundreds of special effects and the ability to do it quickly and at a profit. 

Still not sure what heat printing means? Basically it’s the only way to meet the needs of your customers for on-demand personalization. Here are the top 10 most popular forms of heat printing:

1)     Adding individual names or numbers to a shirt or sports jersey with pre cuts. The fastest, easiest way to personalize any garment is with pre or die cut letters and numbers. Here’s how:

  • Letters or numbers come in packs or kits. Order what you need
  • Arrange the letters or numbers on your garment
  • Cover with a cover sheet
  • Close and press!
  • And there you have it—a t-shirt turned into a custom team uniform.


2)     Do it even faster with custom cut Player Names and Numbers!

  • Want to see an even faster way to turn an ordinary shirt into a personalized garment?
  • Order Pre-spaced names and numbers from Stahls’ ID Direct
  • The names and numbers you need are sent to you on clear mylar sheets
  • Just lay the entire sheet on the shirt
  • Press
  • And there you have it—no worries about positioning lettering or numbers. It’s so easy!

3)     Add a custom logo to a shirt

  • If you want the look of screen printing, try custom transfers. EasyPrints from Transfer Express are the fastest way ever to put your custom logo on a shirt.
  • Don’t have any artwork? No problem. Just select from hundreds of professionally designed templates. We can customize any look for you.
  • Your transfers arrive in about 2 days or sooner
  • Just position on the press
  • Heat seal
  • And you’re done! This print looks great, feels great and is perfect for any quantity.

4) Add a metallic or reflective name to a nylon jacket or backpack

  • You can easily add lettering with special looks, like metallic or reflective to anything that will fit under a heat press, thanks to our extensive line of CAD-CUT® materials.
  • Just order the name or saying you need. We’ll cut it for you or you can cut it yourself if you own a cutter.
  • Position on the item
  • Heat press and you’ve got a high quality, personalized item that would be practically impossible to do with any other decorating method!

5)     Personalize a cap

  • Caps are hard to screen print and expensive to embroider, but you can personalize any kind of cap in seconds with the right heat press.
  • You’ll need a specialized cap press with rounded platens, like the Hotronix cap press.
  • Just put your cap on the press
  • Position your lettering or transfer
  • Press
  • And there you have it…a one-of a kind cap that looks great and is highly profitable.

6)     Personalize work clothes

  • Businesses of all kinds need aprons, polo shirts, jackets and more. Watch how easy it is to transform this apron into a personalized item. We’ll combine two types of heat transfers for this job.
  • First, apply an Easy Print transfer
  • Then, use Player Names to add the individual name of the employee.
  • How’s that for custom? How’s that for easy?

7)     Get the latest fashion looks

  • CAD-PRINTZ digital transfers are opening up a whole new world of heat printing–full color transfers that can be ordered in any quantity for application on anything!
  • Stahls’ ID Direct has cuttable and printable materials that can go on any type of fabric, from Lycra and nylon to neoprene and even leather.
  • Just position on the garment
  • Cover and press

8)     Create a custom jacket

  • You can even use your heat press to print on fabrics that many screen printers won’t touch, like Cordura Nylon.
  • Stahls’ ID Direct has materials with special adhesives designed specifically for heat application on nylon.
  • Just position the logo
  • Press
  • And there you have it, a custom nylon jacket that says value and quality.

9)     Make a family reunion or photo shirt

  • Looking for a creative way to commemorate a special occasion? HEat printing is the answer.
  • Order custom transfers from Transfer Express—they can even turn your family photos into durable, ready to apply transfers.
  • Once you get the transfer, just position on the shirt and heat apply


10) Marketing for special events

  • If you ever thought about creating a t-shirt to market at special events, like a 5K race, fundraiser, school event, sports tournament, political rally or any event where t-shirts are needed, transfers are the way to go!
  • Order your design from Transfer Express
  • Order as many as you think you’ll need—if you aren’t sure, it’s always cheaper to order transfers than it is to order direct printed shirts.
  • You can apply the transfers at the event or prepare them in advance
  • Transfers are the safest way to make sure you’re not left with hundreds of unsold printed shirts at the end of an event!

There are many more ways to heat print and many more heat printing ideas that I want to share with you before the year is out. Heat printing, heat printing, heat printing! That’s my cheer for 2011!

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