Think Outside The “Tee” with Custom Transfers

Pressing… smashing… applying… no matter which word you use, there are a lot of ways to decorate a t-shirt with a heat press. Today, there are hundreds of different transfer options ranging from glittery film to stretch vinyl prints and everything you could imagine in between.

People are even pressing transfers in alternative positions on their t-shirts – on the side and hip, the back of the neck, around from side to front, and more. Yes, t-shirt decoration has certainly come a long way in the last 10 years alone! And that’s great. But… what about all those other items out there.

The heat press is not the soul dominion of the t-shirt anymore. Across the country we find other items sneaking their way on to heat presses. After all, if it lays flat and isn’t too heat sensitive, you can probably put a transfer on it!

First, let’s talk bags. They’re a fantastic item to offer to your school and sports related customers. Churches and fundraisers also tend to favor tote bags as well. They’re cost effective in terms of the amount of profit you can make, and they’re something that everyone can use somewhere or another. For example, cinch sacks. Some people may refer to them as drawstring backpacks. Regardless of which name you use, they’re a pretty nifty addition to any order related to sports or kids from middle school age all the way to college. You can fill a cinch sack with a lot of stuff and throw it on your shoulders like a backpack.

There are two things to think about when decorating a cinch sack: “What is it made of?” and “Can I get the drawstrings out of the way?” You can find cinch sacks in polyester, nylon, cotton canvas, and even jute. The bags that come in polyester, cotton, and jute can be decorated with any of our transfer types without issue.

Make sure you have a way of getting a totally flat application surface. You can use an interchangeable platen if your heat press supports them. A smaller platen will allow you to put ONLY the imprint area on the press while hanging all the seams and drawstrings off the edge. You can also use a firm, flat item inside the bag to raise the surface area above the drawstrings and seams. A Print Perfect Pad would be perfect for this.

Remember, if you’ve never pressed on it before, it doesn’t hurt to get an extra and do some experimenting. Speaking of experimenting, don’t hesitate to branch out. Tote bags and backpacks are popular too after all. And you can use those same two questions when considering decoration: “What is it made of?” and “How do I get a flat surface?”

transfers on cinch sack

Basketball cinch sack using part of a gang sheet of QGS-1

And as far as pricing is concerned, you can use your usual formula – garment cost + transfer cost x 2 = what you charge. When we search “drawstring backpacks” on the internet we can see that our price is right on par with the rest of the world!

With bags out of the way, we can move on to general accessories. This would include the miscellaneous things that aren’t really bags… and they aren’t really clothes… but you can still stick them under a heat press and decorate them. This includes things like koozies, towels, and laptop cases. All of which are much easier to decorate than you think!

Can koozies, for example, are very popular right now for giveaways, family reunions, company picnics, employee incentive programs, and even weddings! And a collapsible, blank koozie can cost you as little as $0.69 a piece when buying in bulk. And pressing them is easy as pie. As long as your koozie is the collapsible type (ie: it folds down flat instead of holding its can shape). And the best part is that since they’re smaller you can usually fit 9 koozies  on a 16″ x 20″ Hotronix platen. Our screen printed transfers will apply to the fabric surface with no trouble at all! It’s really that simple.

Towels are equally easy. The catch here is to use a towel with a low pile (pile being the size of the fabric loops on the towels surface). A transfer is going to have mat down that pile, and a higher pile means more for the transfer to hold down. So a low to no pile towel is ideal. And the good news is that there are supplies out there who carry all sorts of towels, even rally towels. They’re also great for golf outings, bowling teams, family beach vacations, and summer giveaways. As far as application is concerned, all normal instructions should be followed.

How about lap top cases? They’re lap top shaped bags that are made of neoprene  – a foamy, almost rubbery material that both insulates well and absorbs shock. You’d think that a high tech fabric requires a high tech transfer, right? Nope! Neoprene material will accept a Goof Proof® screen printed transfer. Lap top cases are a great item for employee appreciation, college students, and business advertisement.

football towel

Football rally towel using QFB-25 with Goof Proof custom transfers

In the end the idea is to think outside the norm. If it lies flat and it doesn’t melt or scorch, you can decorate it. Socks? No problem – just get a stretchy transfer. Shoes? No problem – Hotronix makes a shoe platen that allows you to easily press shoes. Pillow cases? No problem – figure out if it’s cotton or linen (which is heat sensitive) and choose the transfer accordingly. And that’s just clothing.

There are even more options to consider… folding camping chairs for example. Remove the fabric panel, and check the fabric type and apply accordingly. Need more ideas? Take a step back and look at your community. What do you have that’s unique? What’s currently popular? And if you need some guidance in your quest to decorate the most unique materials out there, you’re always welcome to check our social media and blog for inspiration and ideas.

After all, we’re here to make you successful! So next time you’re presenting your company to a potential client, make sure to consider all the possibilities out there, outside the Tee!

custom decorated shoes

Shoe decorated with rhinestones and custom transfers



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