11 Advantages of Transfers for Screen Printers

Are you a traditional screen printer or thinking about starting a screen printing business? Including heat applied transfers and a t-shirt heat press as part of your printing methods may be a way to complement your screen printing business. There are times that a heat press and transfers can help reduce your costs and production time over screen printing, which in turn will increase your profits. Here are a few reasons (11 actually!) when you may want to have a heat press on hand.

Benefits of Adding a Heat Press for Printing Custom Apparel

1. Names/Numbers
Have you ever had an order from a team sport? Team jerseys/shirts usually include at least a number on the back, if not a name as well. Some even include a smaller number on the front, too, such as All-Star or basketball jerseys.

If you were to try to screen print all of these, you would need to burn a screen for every player, and 2 screens if they have a number on the front. That is a lot of work, time, and materials to print 1 jersey at a time! It would be very hard to make any money on that order. You may even opt to not do it and turn down the order.

With a heat press, you don’t have to turn down business, or worry about making a profit. We have stock numbers that you can buy in various colors and fonts. Individual names are not a problem, either. Order every player’s name and they come ready to apply. Names and numbers apply in 1 step and 4 seconds total – even multi-color. They are cut apart so that they easily align by the paper edges. Just match them up and close your press for 4 seconds. Done.

2. Multi-Color
Do you print many orders as a multi-color print? Say your design has 4 colors. You have to burn 4 screens for that design and then print 4 different times for each shirt. That’s a lot of printing. For an order of 25 shirts, you have to run that squeegee at least 100 times.

Using a heat press and screen printed transfers, for that same 4 color design, you get your finished design with all 4 colors printed on one transfer sheet, ready to apply. Apply it with one “hit” of the heat press in just 4 seconds. Done.

3. No Mess
When you screen print, you need a bucket of ink for every color you make available to your customers. Inks are messy to use. Not only the inks, there are many chemicals involved in screen printing. The process of coating screens in emulsions can be very messy. Once you are done with your screen, you need a solution to remove the emulsion from it. Messy, messy, messy.

Screen printed transfers use the same process, but by the time it gets to you in the process, it’s just “ink on paper”. The mess is over with. There are no inks, chemicals, clean up, or gloves needed. All you have to do is put the transfer sheet on your heat press and 4 seconds later, throw the piece of paper away. Done.

4. Less Time
Screen printing is a very time consuming process. Once you have your art finalized for screen printing, it takes many, many steps to get that image from your computer to your printed shirt. You have to coat screens, which in and of itself is several steps. Then you have to expose your image on the screen using a light source. Clean your screen to get your image clear. Let the screen dry. Cover up extra spaces not covered with the emulsion that isn’t a part of your desired image. Now you are just getting to the printing part. Set your shirt and screen up. Spread your ink on. Run your squeegee (which could be several times depending on your setup). Remove the shirt. Place the shirt in an oven. Clean your screens. Wow, I feel tired just thinking about all those steps!

With screen printed transfers, the time needed is drastically reduced. Saving time means more orders, which means more money! Your transfers come ready to apply. Simply lay your shirt on your heat press, place the transfer on and press. That’s it. Done.

5. Artwork
Artwork needed for screen printing can be a whole job in itself. Depending on your skills, you may need to hire an artist or contract with one. Do you have the software needed? What do you do if someone brings you an art file that they want printed?

Our Easy Prints® artwork collection contains over 5,000 layouts and an additional 7,000 clip art that continues to grow literally every week. These layouts are completely customizable using our online designer, Easy View®. Easy View takes little learning to use compared to other art programs such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. Easy View is also free for all of our customers. Customize your design and order it in seconds! Done.

In the case that your customers bring you art that they want printed, we have designers on staff to handle any artwork that your customers give you. Just pass it on to us and we will take care of it for you. Done… again.

online T-shirt transfer designer

Easy View is a free online designer for all Transfer Express customers.

6. Hard-to-Print Items
Screen printing items such as bags, caps, shoes, and performance wear can be difficult. Changing the set-up of your presses can be time consuming and expensive. The awkward shape of some apparel just makes it miserable and you cringe when someone orders one of those items, if you choose to offer it at all.

The use of our quick change, interchangeable heat press platens and Print Perfect Pads make heat printing most jobs a breeze. Change your lower heat press platen in seconds to accommodate tough-to-print items, such as apparel with pockets, zippers, seams, buttons, and other obstructions. It may be as simple as slipping a mouse pad underneath the apparel to raise the print area. Done.

print shoes, caps, bags and more

A heat press can make hard-to-print items easy.

7. Cost
The cost of running a screen printing business can be pricey. Presses and other equipment can range in the thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your business. You are really investing in your business with equipment. Not to mention, there are lots of chemicals and other tools and materials needed on a regular basis, along with your inks.

A heat press is much less of an investment. A good heat press starts at about $700 and can range up to a couple thousand dollars if you want a workhorse heat press with all the features perfect for a bigger shop. This also makes expanding your business much less of a cost. After the low investment of your heat press, the cost of your transfers is easy to mark-up and profit from. Done.

8. Ease of Use
Screen printing takes a lot of practice and skill. It can be more complicated than it seems. For example, making sure you expose your image correctly to your screen can be tricky by itself. The whole process takes a lot of training, which can make hiring more difficult. Because of the skill needed, you also will probably want to hire someone with experience (which then usually comes at more of a cost as well).

Heat printing is easy and takes no skill. Learning to operate a heat press only takes a few minutes and anyone can do it. If you can line up a piece of paper, you can heat apply screen printed transfers. It really is that easy. Done.

9. Space
Screen printing can take up a whole shop area. Running a screen printing business can take lots of experience to get your set up just right. The amount of space needed means more building, which means higher overhead expenses.

A heat press has a much smaller footprint. People are able to heat print out of a room of their house, which means your overhead costs are much lower. A heat press takes up as little as about 3 feet of space on a table or counter. Done.

10. Small Runs
Because of all the production time and materials needed to screen print, printing a small run of t-shirts can be expensive. These types of jobs usually don’t return a great deal of profit and you are potentially tying up your equipment from other jobs which may produce a higher margin and profit.

A heat press is perfect for smaller runs. Don’t tie up your equipment that can be used for larger jobs. Our minimum is 6 sheets with a whole lot less of work. With a job like this, you can be done in 5 or 10 minutes. Done.

11. Maintenance
It takes a lot of different pieces of equipment to screen print. That’s also a lot of pieces of equipment that will need maintained. When there’s that many “pieces to the puzzle”, there’s that many more chances for something to go wrong. Do you have the knowledge, capability, or support to fix equipment when it goes down? I don’t have to tell you that the time that your machinery is down is time not in production.

Printing with screen printed transfers only takes a heat press. It is not a complex piece of equipment and it is only one piece of equipment to maintain. Heat presses from Hotronix® come with the 24/7/365 Blue Ribbon Support. Call the technical support staff at any time and you will get a live technician from a team with over 100 years of combined experience. Done.

12. Add Bling
Bling is a big craze in the apparel decorating industry right now that doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. With a heat press, you can create custom apparel with rhinestones. Rhinestones are big in the cheer and dance communities. These are easy to create by heat applying a fully-ready rhinestone transfer in just 1 step. You can even make it a mixed media design by adding it with a screen printed transfer for just a 2 step application. Done.

custom rhinestone cheer design

Add rhinestones with screen printing to add some bling!