Using Custom Transfers to Print Hats (Part 1)

If your T-shirt business is offering custom shirts, a profitable next step is to add cap printing. Our digital, rhinestone and screen printed transfers can be applied to caps. All you need to add is a cap press and you are ready to go.

When printing caps, there is some new terminology to learn. In today’s and next Thursday’s blog, we will help clarify these terms and the effect they will have on your printing.

crown size on a cap

The crown size can be measured from the bill to the crown of the hat.

The first thing to note is the crown size. The crown size is the measurement from the top of the bill to the “crown” of the hat as noted by the white arrow. This measurement will limit your print height.

Most manufacturers will specify the crown height in their product description. We recommend ordering your print .5” smaller than the specified crown height to make application easy. So for a 3.5” crown, your print should have a maximum height of 3”.


crown height in product description

Many times, the cap manufacturer will note the crown size in the product description where you purchase.

For the width of the hat, we recommend a max size of 4.5”. This will easily fit on your cap press, and again, just make application easier.

Now that you have your print size determined, let’s look at the art. On most hats you will have a rectangular shaped print area, the crown setting your height of about 1.5” – 3.5”, depending on the type of cap, and the width at 4.5”. So when choosing art you will want to keep the art simpler due to the small print area, and rectangular for a maximum print. We have a cap category in our Easy Prints layouts to make this choice easier, or just keep this in mind when choosing any art.


custom cap designs

Keep the design in mind when choosing art to decorate caps.

Both designs are 3” tall but notice the impact of the image by choosing rectangular art rather than a circle.

Finally, you will see the terms structured or unstructured. Structured hats have a stiff supportive fabric sewn inside to hold their shape. This is the traditional style that is worn by professional baseball players. Unstructured hats are made without this stiffness, making them softer and more comfortable for the wearer. Custom transfers can be used on both styles, but because unstructured naturally fit more tightly on the cap platen they are easier to print given the choice. Structured hats may need some manual adjustments and/or even a different interchangeable platen to heat print.

Next week we will look at a few more terms that will help you make the best cap choice!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments

I’ve read your blog. Honestly, I’ve never read this type of blog before. Appreciate your work and will love to read your incoming articles too.

Owen Lewis

Very helpful information

I have never printed caps before


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