Heat Press and Curing Inks/Shirts

customerAugust 08, 2018

Printing inks require heat treatment after printing. The most common method is using a heat press because of size, cost and efficiency.

To fix the ink onto the garment with heat treatment, place the garment on a heat press with the printed side up. Spread it flat on the heat press, minding not to touch the wet ink or allow the garment to fold over on itself (touching the wet ink). Cover it with a sheet of heat press paper being careful not to drag the paper or smudge the wet ink.  There are three types of heat press paper:

  • Treated parchment paper for a matte finish
  • Coated craft paper for matte finish
  • Teflon paper for a shiny finish

If you reduce the heat press temperature, you must increase the time. If you are using a textile oven or conveyor dryer, you can set the temperature lower but you will have to increase the time.  Settings and results vary depending on the manufacturer and brand of your conveyor dryer, see manufacturer recommendations.. Heat treatment below 300ºF is not recommended.  

Curing the Printed Product:

Dark colored shirts (white ink underlay):

1.      Make sure the heat press is set at the following settings:

a.      330°F - 340°F

b.      90 seconds

c.      Light pressure (10 - 12 psi or the number 3 displayed on the new automatic heat presses)

2.      Hover the heat press over the shirt for 10 seconds; this will help cure the inks before applying pressure (this is similar to the flash technique used in screen printing).

3.      Carefully cover the ink with parchment or kraft paper and close the press.

White or light colored shirts (no white ink):

1.      Make sure the heat press is set at the following settings:

a.      360°F to 370°F (use a temperature in this range that does not scorch the garment)

b.      25 seconds

c.      Medium pressure (40psi) the number 4 or 5 displayed on the new automatic heat presses)

2.      You do not need to hover since this is only 1 layer of ink (CMYK)

3.      Carefully cover the ink with unbleached paper and close the press.

Note: Teflon sheets will cause the final product to have a shiny look; the recommended paper above will give the image a matte look.

Specific instructions on the wash method:

  • Turn the shirt inside out
  • Use cold water
  • Dry on delicate cycle

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