Application Tips – Why Pre-Press Fabric?
With every transfer order, there is a set of instructions that accompany the order with the time, temperature and pressure settings needed to properly heat apply your screen printed or digital transfers. Following these instructions are essential to make sure you are applying the transfers correctly to provide your customer with the best quality custom apparel possible.
Along with the time, temperature and pressure settings, every set of application instructions include a pre-press step. This step is to not be ignored or dismissed. Every garment you apply a transfer to should be pre-pressed, not just the first. Some may skip this step in the process to save time or they may think they do not need to pre-press, however it may lead to cracking, bubbling, and even peeling off after washing. Sometimes the effects of not pre-pressing may not be seen right away and even after you sent your order to your customer.
Here are some tips to get an effective pre-press. The purpose of pre-pressing is to remove moisture from the garment to allow the ink and adhesives to lock onto the fibers.
1) Pre-heat the bottom platen without a garment on the press for 1 minute. This will help the heat flow freely through the garment and the bottom platen. This only needs to be done once at the beginning of your run or if you take long breaks in between pressing.
2) With the garment placed on the platen, pre-heat 3-5 seconds. Steam will release from the sides and front of the machine as the garment is being pressed. This is the moisture coming out of the garment. If there is still steam, there is still moisture.
3) When the press opens run your hand over the garment. If the shirt and your hand feel moist after doing this there is still moisture in the garment. Pre-press a few more seconds and adjust the pre-press time as needed.
The amount of pre-pressing time depends on the thickness of the garment as well as the color. 100% cotton naturally holds more moisture than a 50/50 blend does, so pre-press longer if using 100% cotton. Climate in your area can also play a role in how much moisture gets trapped in the fibers. Don’t be alarmed if you notice the garment color changing though. This happens when moisture is release and will return when moisture is naturally put back in or when it is washed.