Heat press t-shirt

How Different Fabrics Affect The Quality of Your Heat Press T-Shirts

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What is Heat Press T-Shirt Printing?

Heat press t-shirt printing includes all the heat transfer techniques used to put images on fabrics at higher temperatures. There are many ways you can use it for successful heat press printing. The process includes designing and printing your desired image/logo on a heat transfer medium before heat pressing the image onto your fabric using a machine.

This article will help you understand the best materials for heat press t-shirt printing. Including how different materials affect the quality of your printout.

How Has The Heat Transfer Printing Trend Come To Be?

The apparel production market is flooded with numerous fashion products made for sports, business, and leisure. There are so many fabrics and garments on the market and not all of them will satisfy you when heated. Your images may not possess the desired quality or properties needed to create a lasting product.

Before printing anything on any fabric, you should remember that the garment and the print you desire to put on it should enhance the overall appearance and increase the value of your product.


The fashion apparel market is increasingly embedding performance materials in more commercial garments. You see this with more MA.Strum designer gear.


Any personal prints or branding imagery put on the fabric should also mimic the properties of the fabric. The print should stretch and move with the fabric. Otherwise, your product will not come out as you imagined. You may waste resources, including damaging the fabric.

How Do You Put The Right Print On The Right Fabric?

The market is flooded with many different fabric printing machines, built for different capacities and materials such as small quantity production and multi-color commercial production.

For instance,

When you want to use heat press printing on a stretchable performance garment, you should first test the image on the fabric and ensure that it can handle the elasticity without breaking or losing its intended shape.

If your heat press method leaves deformations in the final product then you should avoid using it for that particular fabric. Try a different fabric or printing method.

When you want to heat-press performance garments, you should always consider these two factors:

  • What is the recommended heat press temperature?  The materials used in performance fabrics are vulnerable to hot temperatures. The heat should be high enough to make the print stick but remain low enough to not damage the fabric.
  • Is durability right? Ensure that the heat press print will maintain its quality and overall integrity after multiple washing cycles. If you are trying out the fabric for the first time, you can print and wash the shirt to test the durability and  see how it holds.

Heat press printing is effective across different industries and materials. You can brand assorted fabrics including sportswear, casual apparel, and equipment for different business purposes. It also provides a cost and labor-effective method of branding fabrics.

Heat press printing allows you to produce products on demand.

The Simple Three-Step Process

Heat press printing your garments involves the following process:

One: Get your heat press machine and ensure it’s set to the recommended temperature, time, and pressure. Get the garment and prepare it for pressing by aligning the transfer.

Two: Lower the press and engage the transfer and the fabric for the recommended amount of time for the garment.

Three: Extract the heat transfer carrier after the print has been applied to your fabric. Your garment is ready to be worn.

Heat press printing is a simple technique that is effective when designing prints and putting them on multiple materials without piling costly materials. You can keep blank fabrics and print on demand.

Understanding Different Materials For Heat Press T-Shirt Printing

Different fabrics come with different properties. Therefore not all printing techniques are suitable for all fabrics. You will have to examine your brand fabrics and ensure they are compatible with your print design and method.

You must focus on the garment structure and your idea’s overall finish. Choose a heat press method that aligns with the nuances of your garment such as stitching, zippers, thickness, buttons, pockets, and any other uneven surfaces that may cause problems when printing.

Take time to evaluate how each fabric will blend with your heat press printout to make a valuable product.

For instance,

Natural fabrics comprise materials from plants or animals such as bamboo, cotton, leather, hemp, silk, wool, and linen. These natural materials are usually mixed with other components to enhance their quality, softness, and durability.

The process involves extracting the fibers from their natural housing and manufacturing them into woven textiles. Many sportswear producers use cotton in the making of performance and leisure clothing. Cotton has ruled the clothing industry for decades.

Especially for T-shirt and sweatshirt manufacturing.

The thicker materials such as the ones required for jerseys and fleeces typically require you to apply more pressure when heat-pressing garments. This enables the best adhesion transfer for your heat press t-shirt printing.


The irregularities in the fabric surface can sip through the ink in your heat press. Therefore, you must be careful and pay close attention to your printout as you press. Align the machine to suit the fabric and requirements and produce the best quality product.

On the other hand,

Some popular synthetic fabrics like spandex, nylon, acrylic, polyester, lycra, and rayon are made to imitate and, in some cases, outperform natural garments.

Synthetic garments have become a significant part of the fashion apparel industry, including getting used to making performance garments and sportswear. These products typically have amazing breathable characteristics, which include softness, stretching, and lightweight characteristics. They are very comfortable and good for rigorous activities as they don’t get uncomfortable over the long-run.

With all these developments going on in the apparel and fabric industry, heat press printing is a predominant method of mass production and cost-efficiency.

What Types of Printing Can You Use a Heat Press For?

Heat press printing provides many different use cases with a highly adaptable machine that allows businesses to open up product channels and increase operational functionality for printing businesses.

Typically, the heat press uses high temperatures to transfer images onto fabrics by pressing. This alone makes it a crucial piece of equipment in the apparel production and customization industry.

You can use heat press printing for:

Sublimation: This type of printing includes using specialized inks printed on onto a paper via transfer method. The image is printed onto the garment by heat-pressing onto a poly-coated or polyester fabric. You can find more on sublimation and sublimation printing here.

Vinyl: This includes heat press printing of names and numbers onto sports garments such as football jerseys.

Decorated Patches: You can also use heat press printing to transfer decorative patches or imagery by heat sealing them onto your garment of choice. Sublimated patches are ideal solutions for multi-colored designs. For instance, screen printing and embroidery may not work out as imagined. You can use sublimated patches, heat-sealed in a press.

Direct-to-film (DTF) printing is a method commonly employed for heat press applications. It involves transferring designs directly onto a special film, which is then applied to the desired surface using heat and pressure. The Prestige L2 DTF printer is often recommended as a suitable choice for beginners, offering reliable performance and user-friendly features to initiate the process smoothly.

Screen Printed-Transfer: This technique has also risen in popularity, regardless of higher set-up fees and prerequisite skills needed to do the job right. Fortunately, you can use plastisol transfers to screen-print items without doing the printing yourself. You can use a transfer and embellish your garment with a simple heat press.

Rhinestones: You can use heat press printing to transfer rhinestones onto garments without placing them on the garments yourself.

Using a heat press increases your efficiency and effectiveness when producing custom apparel. It allows you to print on demand and at speed. Heat press printing is a relatively simple process that offers immense flexibility regarding products and materials you can use such as bags, hats, t-shirts, sports vests, and aprons.

Combed/Spun Cotton: The most prominent printable material in the fabric industry. Cotton is a highly resilient material that can withstand time and temperature better than other materials. Also, cotton is typically spun into tight weaves that provide a smooth surface that holds printed images well.

Heather CVCs: Some fabrics may contain multiple materials such as cotton and polyester to enhance their properties. You want to keep the temperature low for any product that has synthetic material. You don’t want to burn the fabric. You need to comprehend all high-temp transfers.

Triblends: T-shirts that provide extra comfort with a soft touch. Triblends typically have polyester, for durability, airlume combed/spun cotton, for better comfort, and rayon for enhanced softness.

The combination of properties makes tri-blends risky to print on because rayon is as sensitive as silk to heat. It can scorch easily. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the heat press temperature to avoid damaging the material. You can also use a heated lower press plate to balance temperatures on the underside of your garment and cure your fabric simultaneously.

This will help you apply the recommended pressure and maintain heat to avoid burning the fabric on the finished side.