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Customize T-Shirts At Home With These Heat Press Machines Customize T-Shirts At Home With These Heat Press Machines

Craft Storage

Customize T-Shirts At Home With These Heat Press Machines

Written by: Gabbie Clemente

Press, dress, and impress with these heat press machines! Easily customize t-shirts and more with a heat press in your arts and crafts station.

Do you have a band and need an impromptu shirt for your fans slash family members? Or have you seen something on TV that would look cool on a t-shirt? Well, save your time wondering and press it yourself! Equip your arts and crafts station with a heat press machine because you never know when you’ll need a customized shirt. A heat press machine doesn’t only let you customize prints for your shirts but your mugs, bags, and mousepads too! Now you can finally complete the Nicolas Cage-themed office space you’ve always wanted.

 

 

If you’re looking for a new DIY project, try your hand at heat pressing! In this article, we’ll explore the heat press machine and how you can make more personalized crafts with your family and friends.

 

What is a Heat Press Machine?

 

A heat press machine is pretty straightforward. It’s a machine that uses a combination of pressure and heat, so you have a clean and clear print every time. This machine allows you to transfer a graphic design onto a substrate or any material such as fabric, wood, ceramics, paper, and even metal.

 

 

Heat press machines come with two plates called platens that usually have a clamshell mechanism. They have since evolved into compact and digital devices wherein you can easily modify the amount of heat, time, and pressure you want to work with. Gone are the days when t-shirt printing is a tedious and expensive process. With a heat press machine, you can make thousands of personalized shirts in no time and cost, and in your own home too! 

 

Types of Heat Press Machines

 

There are four different heat press machines available in the market now. Their main differences are seen in how they open and close or how the platens separate to make way for the garment. Despite their differences, all apply the same function of pressing and heating. They just vary in how you can handle your substrates.

 

Clamshell Heat Press Machine

 

The clamshell is the most commonly used type of heat press machine. It’s called a clamshell because its hinges are between the upper and lower platens, making it open like — you guessed right — a clam! The clamshell heat press machine is the most popular because it’s compact. Rest assured that it won’t take up much space among your craft storage furniture.

 

 

This heat press machine comes in both manual and automatic mechanisms. The automatic clamshell keeps your hands free because you don’t have to manually open and close the platens or time the pressing yourself. You can use this machine to print your artwork on sweatshirts, mugs, boxes, and more.

 

Swing-Away Heat Press Machine

 

The swing-away heat press machine or swinger takes the danger of injuring yourself out of heat pressing. The upper plate, where the heat is applied, swings away when the printing is finished. It swings itself, so you can manipulate the substrate you’re working on safely from the other side.

 

 

The swinger is famous for its five-in-one models that let you print on almost anything. You don’t need additional accessories for different substrates because the swing-away heat press machine can handle various thicknesses. This machine is perfect for those with a lot of experience in heat pressing and wants a more seamless printing process.

 

Draw Type Heat Press Machine

 

The draw type is similar to the swing-away heat press machine as both plates move away from each other. However, in this case, it’s the lower plate that moves away from the heated plate. So, you’ll still have a safe place to arrange and fix your substrate by pulling out the lower plate towards you. The draw type heat press machine gives you a full view of your layout before printing, but you need to be extra careful because it can shift out of place.

 

Sublimation Heat Press Machine

 

If you want to transfer a high-quality digital image onto your t-shirt, the best way to do that is with a sublimation heat press. This machine allows you to print that high-definition artwork you always wanted with all the colors and intricate details. What makes the sublimation heat press machine unique is its ability to transfer any design without the ink from the paper bleeding into your garment. You also get a big space to work with your substrate, enabling you to print on large items like signs and even chap pants.

 

7 Best Heat Press Machine for Customizing T-Shirts at Home

 

Are you ready to make customized matching t-shirts for your family reunion? Add heat pressing to your hobbies and up your DIY game! Here are the best heat press machines you can use at home.

 

Heat press machines are considered heavy machinery. Though alongside a forklift, they might not seem that significant. However, in your home, it can take up more space than all your craft storage drawers combined. If you want to get into heat pressing but don’t have the room, the Cricut EasyPress 2 is the perfect machine for you.

It’s so compact and lightweight that it can fit into a tote bag! This machine is ideal for traveling because you never know when you need to make customized couple shirts for your honeymoon trip. The Circuit EasyPress 2 lets you print any design onto any garment in 60 seconds or less! You don’t have to worry about setting the time and temperature because you can easily do it with its digital controls and online reference guide.

Key Features

  • Insulated safety base
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Digital controls

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 9 inches x 9 inches
  • Ceramic-coated heated surface
  • Temperature range: up to 400℉ (205°C)

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to use
  • Heats up quickly
  • Transfers clear and vivid designs

Cons

  • You need to apply a lot of pressure for anything to stick
  • Only prints small designs

If you have a small business running on the side, the Seeutek Heat Press can help expedite orders. Fly through heat pressing t-shirt after t-shirt with this machine without any help. It features a 360-degree swing-away mechanism, which lets you work on your substrate any way you want and a dual LCD control panel with an intelligent memory. You don’t have to keep setting the temperature and time when you’re working on the same project!

Key Features

  • LCD smart memory digital controller
  • Sublimation heat pressing
  • 360-degree swing-away mechanism

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 12 inches x 10 inches
  • Teflon-coated heated surface
  • Temperature range: up to 482℉ (0-250℃)
  • Time range: up to 999 seconds

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy to operate
  • Delivered assembled
  • Maintains a steady temperature
  • Heats up fast
  • Transfers print effectively

Cons

  • A bit smaller in person
  • Instructions included can be confusing

In a printing business, you must offer a variety of products. So, expand your t-shirt business by offering mugs, caps, and even plates! The SURPCOS Heat Press Machine is one of the best 5-in1 heat pressing machines available now that can cater to all your printing needs. This machine features easy-to-use attachments for mug, cap, and plate heat pressing. It’s a sublimation heat-press, so you can ensure a high-quality print every time.

Key Features

  • 5-in-1 multifunction sublimation heat press machine
  • 360-degree swing-away function
  • LED digital control panel
  • Anti-skid silicone pad

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 12 inches x 15 inches
  • Cap press size: 6 inches x 3 inches
  • Mug press size: 3 inches x 3.5 inches
  • Plate press size: 5 inches (D) and 6 inches (D)
  • Teflon-coated heated platen
  • Temperature range: up to 200-450°F (95-232°C)
  • Time range: 0-999 seconds

Pros

  • Includes cap, mug, and plate press attachments
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Transfers high-quality print effectively
  • Easy assembly
  • Sturdy and durable

Cons

  • Timer and temperature can be confusing to set
  • Timer does not countdown
  • Takes time to heat up

The Angoo Upgraded 5-in-1 Heat Press is an all-encompassing machine that will take your craft skills to the next level. You can customize bags, your brother’s mousepad, family mugs, t-shirts, and more. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to stop customizing your favorite designs onto everything you own. It’s not only easy to use but also safe! You don’t have to worry about accidental burns because this heat press machine features a swing-away design that will keep you from the heated platen at all times.

Key Features

  • Digital LCD controls
  • 5-in-1 heat press machine
  • 360-degree swing-away design

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 12 inches x 15 inches
  • Temperature range: 200 – 450℉ (0-203℃)
  • Time range: 0-999 seconds

Pros

  • Comes pre-assembled
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Solid construction
  • Produces quality prints
  • Includes a mug, hat, and plate press attachments

Cons

  • Takes a lot of time to heat up
  • Instructions included are difficult to follow

If you’re planning on taking on big projects, you’re going to need a heavy-duty machine like the Bettersub DIY Digital Heat Press Machine. You can print large artworks on equally large items easily. This machine features an LCD control board where you can modify the time and temperature with a simple push of a button. You can also change the pressure you want to apply on your substrates with its adjustable pressure knob. With this machine, you get more control over the process without hassle.

Key Features

  • LCD control board
  • Adjustable pressure knob
  • Clamshell mechanism
  • Sublimation heat press machine

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 15 inches x 15 inches
  • Teflon-coated heated surface
  • Temperature range: 0-440℉ 
  • Time range: 0-499 seconds

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Large space for placing substrates
  • Transfers high-def designs
  • Heats up quickly
  • Has excellent temperature control

Cons

  • Can be too heavy
  • Occupies a lot of space
  • Confusing temperature adjustments
  • May emit a strange odor

One of the most annoying things about heat press machines is the time you have to wait for them to heat up. Well, that won’t be a problem with the PlanetFlame Professional Clamshell Heat Press Machine! It features a thickened aluminum heating plate, which raises the temperature faster, so you can get started with your project asap. This machine also allows you to work on large materials with its 15-inch platens. It’s a sublimation press, so no matter how big or small your artwork is, it will always produce quality designs.

Key Features

  • Digital display and control panel
  • Full-range adjustable pressure knob
  • Sublimation heat press
  • Easy clamshell open and close

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 15 inches x 15 inches
  • Teflon-coated heated platen
  • Time range: 0-499 seconds
  • Temperature range: up to 440℉ (230℃)

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Excellent temperature control
  • Produces high-quality prints
  • Solid and sturdy machine
  • Heats up fast

Cons

  • Quite heavy to work with

The RoyalPress Transfer Machine is one of the best-selling heat press machines you shouldn’t miss out on. If you’re looking to boost your DIY shirt quota, this machine can help you reach your goal. It heats up quickly and seamlessly prints your designs. The RoyalPress Heat Transfer Machine has stood the test of time with its industry-grade materials, so you can be sure it’s not only durable but also safe to use anytime.

Key Features

  • Sublimation heat press
  • Clamshell design
  • Color LED digital controls
  • Smart memory temperature
  • Adjustable pressure knob

Specifications

  • Heat press dimensions: 15 inches x 15 inches
  • Teflon-coated heated platen
  • Temperature range: 0-480℉
  • Time range: 0-999 seconds

Pros

  • Heats up quickly
  • Can print large designs
  • Highly adjustable
  • Easy to use
  • Industrial quality
  • Produces vivid and clear artworks

Cons

  • Prone to overheating
  • Temperature runs hotter than what is indicated
  • Instructions provided can be difficult to follow

How to Use a Heat Press Machine

 

A heat press machine can be intimidating when you’re used to creating popsicle stick crafts in your arts and crafts room. But it’s actually pretty easy! The machine usually does all the work for you. All you need to do is ensure you have the right time, temperature, and pressure. Now, those settings still depend on the type of heat press machine you’re using.

 

 

Thankfully, we have prepared a simple step-by-step guide on how to use a heat press machine. For this example, we will assume that you’re using a heat press machine to print on a t-shirt, but you can follow these steps for any other substrates as well.

 

1. Prepare the design

 

Once you’ve chosen the perfect design for your t-shirt, make sure you edit it to the size you want on your shirt. Print a mirrored image of your artwork onto heat transfer paper. You can buy high-quality heat transfer papers with a clean and opaque film on one side. Clear films are best for white and light gray garments, while opaque films are best for colored materials.

 

2. Power on the heat press machine

 

Make sure that the machine is on a sturdy flat surface away from children’s reach. As much as possible, plug it into a power outlet rather than an extension cord. Once you’ve made sure that you have a safe place to operate your heat press machine, turn it on.

 

3. Set the temperature

 

When you set the temperature you want, the heating light will turn on. Wait for the light to turn off before anything else to know if the machine has reached the temperature you set.

 

4. Open the heat press machine and lay your artwork and t-shirt

 

Safety gloves are a must during this step because you will open your machine to expose the heated plate. Place your t-shirt on the lower plate and ensure it’s stretched without any folds. Lay your artwork facing down on your garment. Mind the alignment of the transfer paper on your shirt to have it exactly where you want it.

 

5. Set the timer and wait

 

Once everything is laid out, set the time and wait for the heat press to work its magic. You can open the machine once the timer is finished, or if you have an automatic one, it will open by itself.

 

6. Peel the transfer paper and wait for 24 hours

 

After the heat press machine releases your garment, you can now peel off the transfer paper and see your design on the shirt. However, the process does not end there. You need to wait 24 hours before wearing or washing the t-shirt to ensure the print is dry and set.

 

Press, Dress, Impress

 

DIY-ing is the best way to make stuff truly your own. There’s something about taking a blank canvas, such as a plain shirt, and making it more than just a piece of clothing. You can make it into a family memento, a souvenir to remember a significant event, or simply a work of art. Choose from our best of the best and add a heat press machine to your arts and crafts corner. It’s not enough to just dress, so be extra and press to impress!

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