A few weeks ago we published a post on how to upscale your creative business through insourcing from our friend Rebecca Saylor of Oodle BaDoodle and SFEtsy. Rebecca shared how investing in equipment (a heat press that she used with Siser heat transfer vinyl to create designs for her one of a kind pillows) to streamline her production helped her keep control of how her products were made and saved her time and money.
Today, we’re excited to share our experience using a heat press and Siser‘s heat transfer vinyl for the first time. Every year, in preparation for our annual and business and makers conference, Craftcation we screen print 500 gift bags for our attendees. This year our sponsor Darice provided the blank canvas tote bags. Darice is our go-to place for wholesale craft supplies and they supply almost all of the supplies for the Craftcation craft workshops. In this post on pricing your handmade products we share about our experience with Darice. I’ve been a screen printing enthusiast since I started my first handmade business over 15 years ago. And, while I LOVE screen printing, this year we opted to heat press our bags with heat transfer vinyl from our Craftcation sponsor Siser.
One of the things I was most excited about when we decided to heat press the bags instead of screen print them was how many more options for texture, color, finish and design we had with heat transfer vinyl. I had used some specialty screen printing inks before to get glitter, fluorescent and gold foil effects but using heat transfer vinyl was SO much easier, more cost-effective, quicker, less messy and the end result was perfect every time. Screen printing is more complex than heat transfers and with complexity comes a greater chance for error. The other awesome thing is that you can use a Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine to get your design on the vinyl. That means you can go from idea to product in just a few hours.
While I’ll never loose my love of screen printing, now I have a new technique in my tool belt! I have to say, I think these are my favorite Craftcation gift bags! I can’t wait to hand them out to attendees at the conference and see them marvel at the vibrant fluorescent, sparkly glitter and shiny metallic designs on the bags. If you’re joining us at Craftcation 2017 you’ll have the opportunity to create your own vinyl heat transfers with Siser in their workshops or in their marketplace booth.
We wrote out some pretty detailed instructions below for how we heat pressed our designs on the Craftcation gift bags this year BUT I almost feel like we could have just written: heat the press, weed your vinyl, place your vinyl on top of the bag, pull down the press handle and you’re done! That’s seriously how easy it was.
What to get:
–Siser EasyWeed heat transfer vinyl sheet with your design on it (You can use a cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette to get your design on the vinyl)
-Heat press (We used the Siser digital clam heat press but you can actually use an iron if you don’t have a heat press!)
–Heat transfer cover sheet
What to do:
1. Get your heat press ready: Turn on the heat press and adjust the temperature. Press the Mode Select Button on Control Panel. When the TEMP light illuminates, press (+) to increase the temperature (-) to decrease. For our project, we set the temperature at 305 degrees. Adjust the Timer. Once you have completed adjusting the temperature, press Mode Select Button again. (SET) and (TIME) will illuminate indicating you are in ADJUST TIME MODE. Adjust time like temperature, (+) and (-). *This is one advantage over screen printing. With screen printing, you constantly monitor the garment under the heater when you’re curing the ink, counting in your mind, hoping you don’t burn the item you’re drying the ink on.
2. Weed your vinyl: While you’re waiting for your heat press to get hot, start the “weeding process.” Weeding is when you remove the outside excess material from the design and the cavities on your vinyl. You start by using your Siser Weeder (looks like a tiny hook a dentist would use to clean your teeth) and pierce the corner of your cut piece while continuing to pull away the excess.
3. Prepare the bag: Now we are ready to start the application portion, yeah! Preheat your garment for 2-3 seconds, to remove any moisture or wrinkles. To do this, lay your garment flat on the platen surface and “punch down” the press for 2-3 seconds. Now your garment is prepped for your vinyl transfer.
4. Heat press the vinyl on the bag: Place your vinyl transfer on your garment, eyeing the perfect placement. * You can also use a ruler to ensure perfect placement. Lay your cover sheet over your design. “Punch down” the press for 15 seconds (the timer will automatically start as soon as you punch down.) Peel off the plastic sheet from your garment.