August '21

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4 2 H O T G R A P H I C S R E P O R T 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M H ave you become an expert at pressing garments with one or two different kinds of heat transfer vinyl? Do you avoid anything that looks like it might be hard to work with? Does the thought of trying to cut and press multiple products or lay- ers sound scary? Here's a collection of tips and tricks for achieving success with any type of specialty heat transfers. There are so many compa- nies now offering print-on-demand in solid colors. Those who add finesse to their final garments with specialty heat transfer vinyl (HTV) will automatically stand out in this crowded market. WHAT IS CONSIDERED SPECIALTY HEAT TRANSFER VINYL? This could be anything outside the normal solid-color HTV. There are many options out there: glitter, dimensional ultra-thick, re- flective, metallic, patterned, perforated, and embossed. There are even special-effect heat transfers that change color when heated or exposed to UV light, glow in the dark, and even chalkboard HTV that you can write on with chalk and chalk markers. With so many specialty heat transfers on the market, it can seem overwhelming. Specialty HTVs are typically more expen- sive than plain solid colors. Make sure you get the most out of the material by always testing out the cut quality before starting a job. Some materials such as flocks and dimensional ultra-thick usually require a higher degree-angled blade. Use the correct angle of blade for the material, and make sure the blade is sticking out far enough to get through. Stiffer materials, such as mirror-finish me- tallics, need a lot more downforce or pressure when cutting. To keep the cut strip in good condition, slowly increase the downforce and test each time instead of starting high. Gouging out the cut strip in the test cut area degrades any future cutting results. Cutting glitters and reflectives can have a sandpaper effect on blades. Even if a test cut is done, only run 3' – 4' at a time, and check on the quality of the last lines that were cut before starting the next run. Working with rougher materials like this isn't a set it and forget it situation. There is nothing worse than having to recut part of a job because the blade went completely dull partway through cutting. CARRIER CODE HTVs typically come on a polyester car- rier, which acts as a stabilizer while moving through the plotter cutter. The blade cuts through the adhesive side of the HTV and is supposed to lightly score the carrier. Some carriers are produced with a slight tack to aid with weeding. It's a light enough tack to fully release the design to the fabric during pressing, but if a piece raises up, it's easy to stick back down and stay. Some reflectives and glitter products are made with a non-sticky carrier. When the carrier is static-bound to the HTV and SUCCESS WITH SPECIALTY HEAT TRANSFER VINYLS BY LIZ HOOD It can be challenging to have the final design line up perfectly. Use the transfer mask tip out- lined in this article to avoid this issue. (All im- ages courtesy Liz Hood)

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