Internet Explorer is no longer supported. We recommend upgrading to Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge browser.
This website uses cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept our use of cookies as explained in our Privacy Policy.

How to Become a Heat Printer

Step 1: Learn What Heat Printing Is

Heat printing, also known as heat transfer printing, is the process of applying heat transfer materials to various items (i.e., substrates) with a heat press. Heat-applied materials contain a heat-sensitive adhesive on one side; when heat is applied by a heat press to the material, the material adheres to the substrate, resulting in a decorated garment.

Step 2: Choose What to Make with Your Heat Press

Decorating with a heat press is an easy, cost-effective way to enter the garment decoration industry. It provides the opportunity to personalize a wide variety of items.

  • T-shirts – this wardrobe staple has endless placement opportunities–from full fronts and backs to sleeves, left chest, and more
  • Team uniforms – use a variety of materials and placement options to help teams stand out from the competition
  • Bags – add personalization to backpacks, cinch bags, and sports bags with a variety of heat transfer materials
  • Fan wear – help fans cheer on their favorite teams or players by adding a personalized touch to apparel and more
  • Corporate – heat applying traditional left chest logos is an easy way to add a professional touch to apparel
  • Small businesses – help build brand recognition by adding a custom tag or logo to your decorated apparel
  • Clubs – reach out to local clubs and organizations to create gear for their upcoming events
  • Schools – decorate lunch boxes, backpacks, pencil cases, and apparel in school colors, mascots, and more
  • Fashion – create apparel with trendy sayings and designs in a variety of colors and finishes

Step 3: Focus on the Top 3 Heat Printing Factors

Three key components to consider when decorating with a heat press are: time, temperature, and pressure. Every heat transfer material has its own heat printing instructions.

  • Time: The amount of time, in seconds, that heat must be applied to the design/garment.
  • Temperature: The optimal degree at which the design will adhere to the garment.
  • Pressure: The amount of downward force needed when heat applying.

Step 4: Choose the Right Heat Press

How do you know which type of heat press is right for your business? There are several key factors to consider:

  • Space: How much space do you have in your work area?
  • Production: How much will you use the heat press?
  • Size: What type of garments are you decorating?
  • Experience: How much experience do you have working with heat presses?
  • Cost: How much do you want to invest in your heat press equipment?
  • Manufacturer: Do you know where your heat press is from? Is the company quick to resolve issues and has reliable customer service and tech support?
Download this Heat Press Buying Guide to help you get started.

Hotronix Auto Clam
A Auto Open Clam
Hotronix®Auto Open Clam
B Swinger/Draw
Air Swinger/Draw
C Air Swinger/Draw
Hotronix®Air Fusion™

What Is a Clam Style Heat Press?

  1. The auto open clam design is equipped with an auto release feature allowing you to multi-task without running the risk of burning garments.
    • Best for beginners
    • Takes up the least amount of space
    • Most portable option
    • Available in 3 sizes to fit any budget

    What Is a Draw or Swinger Heat Press?

  2. The swinger/draw press gives you the ability to quickly thread garments onto the lower platen while providing a heat-free workspace.
    • Best for experienced heat printers
    • Produces a higher volume of work
    • Choose from preloaded material instructions or enter your own
    • Takes up more space than the auto open clam
    • Cloud-based technology provides insight into job and operator performance

    What Is an Air Heat Press?

  3. The air swinger/draw design reduces operator fatigue by using compressed air.
    • Ideal for high-volume businesses
    • Provides a heat-free workspace
    • Most expensive option
    • Wireless technology allows you to manage your business from anywhere

Step 5: Order Heat Printing Supplies

  • CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl – If you own a vinyl cutter, we have an extensive line of roll goods for every job, fabric, garment, and textile.
  • Custom Logo Services – When you’re at capacity let us do the work for you. Upload your art and we’ll deliver a premium design in the material of your choice.
  • Patches & Emblems – Turn your custom logo into a genuine leather patch or highly-detailed emblem in a variety of colors and finishes.
  • Wholesale Blank Apparel – We offer the perfect canvas for all your heat printing needs—from T-shirts and polos, to outerwear and accessories.
  • Additional Equipment – Expand your product offerings by adding heat print accessories, vinyl cutters, print/cut machines, and more to your shop.

Videos for Materials, Services & Equipment View All Videos >


See the latest innovations in CAD-CUT® heat transfer materials and learn tips, tricks, and instructions on creating the best designs possible.

Go To Materials Videos >

Sports DecoratingSERVICES

Learn how to use Stahls' products to start your own T-shirt business. Watch videos on services, accessories and more.

Go To Services Videos >

Heat Printing & SignEQUIPMENT

Find the right heat printing equipment for your business and learn how to keep it running at full capacity.

Go To Equipment Videos >