August '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 H O T G R A P H I C S R E P O R T 4 5 possible. Trying to line up letters and other graphic elements directly over the holes in the bottom layer adds more room for error. Having a larger bottom piece will also have the same effect as putting transfer mask on the underside of the fabric; it also helps keep everything in place. SEEING PATTERNS There are so many different HTV patterns on the market today. Instead of trying to do multiple layers to give the appearance of a pattern, check and see if there's a shortcut. When cutting this type of HTV, be aware of the direction of the pattern and the direc- tion of the design. It's second nature to try and fit as many designs into the cutting space as possible with most HTV. With patterns, it will look awkward to have a directional pattern like Christmas trees or hearts going sideways on the final garment instead of fac- ing upward. It's also important to load the material in straight before cutting. It won't look right to have a pattern that's at a 2% diagonal angle instead of straight up and down. MULTIPLE MATERIALS, MULTIPLE INSTRUCTIONS Mixing completely different products with different press times and temperatures can get tricky. If there is no layering, a great way to start is to press the products with the high- est application temperature first. Make sure to also press the materials that cannot be re- pressed last. The carrier from a later-pressed design can put a mark into something that was already pressed. This is especially true with smoother, thinner materials. Trim the carrier as close to the design as possible to keep this from hap- pening. If there is no way to completely avoid this, the lines can sometimes be re-pressed out with a spritz of water and a smooth cover sheet. One important accessory to have while heat pressing is cover sheets. Here are the different types of products used for this purpose: Teflon sheets, silicon release sheets, transfer tissue, parchment paper (the same one used for baking), and butcher paper. The carrier of a heat transfer vinyl, which is typically made of polyester, can help protect it while pressing. However, it's always a good idea to cover the entire shirt when pressing light-colored shirts and when pressing cold peel materials. A material that needs to completely cool down to room temperature before peeling can sometimes start to peel up when the upper platen is raised. When this happens, that corner of the transfer may be ruined. Re-pressing can sometimes help in this situ- ation, but using a cover sheet helps avoid this in the first place. Always use a cover sheet to protect the de- signs that have already been pressed. Heat transfer vinyls that are thinner, more heat sensitive, or contain any amount of PVC can take on the texture of Teflon sheets when re- pressed. These particular materials look bet- ter if re-pressed with a smoother cover sheet. Keep a wide range of cover sheets in the heat press area for any re-pressing situation. Some products when re-pressed without the carrier, especially on top of another layer, can leave a residue imprint on the cover sheet. This can then imprint onto a finished gar- ment. Regularly look over your cover sheets for any debris and clean with acetone or vinyl letter remover chemicals when needed. Beginning new pressing habits or using new products can take a while to get used to, but the pay-off is great. Specialty HTVs add a fun element to any design and can re- invigorate your love for decorating garments as well as your sales numbers. HGR LIZ HOOD is the marketing manager for Specialty Materi- als. She's been working with heat transfer vinyl for over a decade and has helped bring new techniques and technologies to the market. She's a senior tech support specialist and helps test and market new products. Those who add finesse to their final garments with specialty heat transfer vinyl will automatically stand out in this crowded market. HOT GRAPHICS REPORT

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