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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have my shirts, designs, website, ect all set-up. Now I just need to get my designs on the shirts. I was originally planning on using a vinyl cutter to cut a "stencil" and stick the vinyl directly onto the shirt or a screen and then screen-print through it.

However, I have recently heard of "thermal vinyls". Are these vinyls that can be heat transferd directly onto the shirt? All of my designs are single colour and vinyl-cutter friendly.

How do these vinyls look compared to plastic screen-printing inks? Will I get a good result? I do not want to print on transfers, I want single colour, quality vinyl. Does this stuff exsist or have I read/heard wrong?

How many people use these vinyls? How much is it costing you per shirt? Is it an easy process? Does it work well? Where should I purchase these vinyls from? What colour range is there?

I was looking at purchasing a Creation 24" vinyl cutter ($1000AU). I will need a heat press also? how much should I look at spending on this? None of my designs will exceed 15 X 15 (11 X 15 would probably be ok also).

Some steps on how this process is done (any disposables or other costs?), pros and cons, and information on its final quality would be great!

I will be using high quality (dark and light) 100% cotton shirts.

Is using this method a good idea?

Thanks for any help! I'm very new to this, so please excuse any of my stupidity :)

- Jasper (QLD, AUS)


Any relivant links to sites explaining the process and what not to do would be great also, Cheers
 

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Well after a HD failure I dont have many photos of my recent work to show but I think you will be more than happy with the results. I work with thermal vinyls on all my shirts and love the result. The handing is smooth and soft but can be a little stiff depending on the manufacture of vinyl. If you find yourself creating designs requiring mutli colors, Plastisol is screen printing to a release backing. SO without all the setup on your end you can indeed make and sell screen printed shirts with your heatpress. If you really want to go the way of heatpressing, Id suggest you look into the two major manufactures. Spectra-cut is sold through Imprintables.com and Hotmark through Signsupplystore.com. Ive spent money in both places and have to say the customer service was stellar. I will say the Imprintables has a wider range of applicants, i.e. Spectra-cut II, Spectra-cut plus, Duracut, Flock and more.
While writing this I remembered I had a Photobucket account with a couple examples, Click the link. Those are all applied one color at a time.
 

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JS said:
However, I have recently heard of "thermal vinyls". Are these vinyls that can be heat transferd directly onto the shirt? All of my designs are single colour and vinyl-cutter friendly.
There are a variety of vinyls available, and this does include t-shirt vinyl. Just make sure you get t-shirt vinyl and not sign vinyl when you're buying it =)

JS said:
How do these vinyls look compared to plastic screen-printing inks? Will I get a good result? I do not want to print on transfers, I want single colour, quality vinyl. Does this stuff exsist or have I read/heard wrong?
The quality is good. Some people prefer it to screen printing even.

JS said:
How many people use these vinyls? Is it an easy process? Does it work well?
Several people use vinyl/flock. How easy it is mostly depends on the complexity of the design - the more complex the design, the more excess material you will have to 'weed' off.

It works well for low numbers of colors with fairly simplistic designs.

JS said:
I will need a heat press also? how much should I look at spending on this? None of my designs will exceed 15 X 15 (11 X 15 would probably be ok also).
You will need a press. A new 15x15 one will probably range around $500-800 or so (I haven't checked in a while); a used one about half or one-third of this price.


I haven't personally used vinyl yet so I can't answer all the questions. One of its main advantages is that you can do small orders on dark shirts. We're planning on getting a cutter when we have a chance to.
 

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Working with vinyl is fairly easy if you have a cutter and only want one or two colors. You have to mirror image designs and most of the vinyl is easy to weed[remove the excess from design]. I just finished an order for team sports and it was pricey to use vinyl for large numbers and names. Cost is usually figured by square inch based on cost of the roll. Flock is very attractive on fleece since it has a raised fuzzy feel and comes in several colors. Thermaflex has a very soft feel to it and almost becomes part of the shirt, ie. no raised edge or stiffness and can be layered for shadow look. It is easy to heat press but takes a little longer to finish a shirt since you press, cool and then I press again to make for a good bond. Check out some of the suppliers on the forum and read a lot of the posts and then buy a basic color and try it. Some suppliers will sell it in 1 yard lengths and you can sample several colors for not a whole lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Which brand vinyl would you reccomend? What is the finish and durabillity like with the different spectra-cut's (and/or brands)? What is your favourite vinyl to use? With postage in mind, where would you reccomend I order from?

Do the vinyls "crack" or detiriate very fast (once pressed onto the shirt)? I would like the best, lasting quality possible.

Where would you reccomend I purchase a heat press from (I'm in Australia).

Thanks for all your help so far! It is very much appreciated!

I'd love to hear some more information, tips and advice from people that are using (or have used) this method!

btw, nice work hammered. I have one question though, how do you line up all your layers (or even the first layer to the shirt)? Do you just do it by sight? or do you measure? Cheers everyone - Jasper
 

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this sounds realy interesting. i think i will enjoy using vynil, expecialy since i recently bought a cutter to make stickers and am now looking into getting a heat press. also im realy into simple vector art so it will be fun to put these onto t shirts :)
if i buy t shirt vynil does it come with the transfer tape for transferring by heat press or is this something you buy seperately?
 

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JS, Im just eyeing it. Even with old tired welders eyes its pretty easy. I see all kind of mis- alinments in my work and youll see them in yours, but most others wont. The nice thing about garment vinyls is, youre not just working with X amount of vinyl colors. I have a few designs that are single color that are pretty damn dynamic. You just have to remember the shirts color is as important to your design as the material. I try to stay in the less than 3 to 4 color designs to keep it simple. Ive also played with mixing material types, Flock with Spectra-cut or Spectra with the Reflectives.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Would you reccomend the Spectra Cut or Spectra Cut II for casual "street wear" t-shirts? Which lasts longer and which looks better? The site says the Spectra Cut has a similar matte finish as screen printing does. It doesn't really describe the Spectra Cut II's finish. I'm guessing that the Spectra Cut II has more of a plastic, thick, glossy finish compared to the Spectra Cut. More suited for jersey type clothing? Am I right? Have you tried both vinyls? What do you think? Cheers
 

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I can't find any pantone colour charts for the different brands of heat vinyls. The only one I've come across is the spectra one, (http://www.spectracut.com/color_chart.htm).

Many of their colours seem rather dull. I only have a very old colour book, so this could also account for some discolouration. But the only red they stock (187C) seems to be very dark, even in their example picture. Then below the very same pantone colour (187C) is given for a completely different red. Why is this? Is the finish of the spectra colours very strong/bright?

Does anybody know any places that will ship out free colour samples to australia? or any places actually within australia to order from?
 

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The finish depends on what you do to it. Craft paper will give a slightly shinier look while using a teflon sheet will make it more of a matte finish. With the sports jerseys and even the Tees I do, Its hard to find an actual edge to the material. The Spectra-cut I use is soft but still stiffer than the shirts and jerseys I work with. Mind you I dont mean the material is cardborad stiff. Its very flexible and if you require something with a lot of stretch, Spectra has lines to fit that.
 

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Hi

I have been trying to do some research on vinyl transfers and having a small setup. I just want to know what are the max number of colors you can have on a vinyl transfer. Are full color images capable of being transfered on vinyl sheets?

Thanks.
 

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talos72 said:
Hi

I have been trying to do some research on vynil transfers and having a small setup. I just want to know what are the max number of colors you can have on a vinyl transfer. Are full color images capable of being transfered on vinyl sheets?

Thanks.
I would only overlay about three colors but it you do traps more could probably be used. Vinyl works great for line art, fonts etc. Big areas of undetailed color I try and stay away from. Vinyl works real well for thin line fonts. Something to remember about vinyl and a cutter is that very fine detail in designs has to be weeded after cutting which can be time consuming. I love the product and use it for all my custom work.
 

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Thanks for reply. Also, is it possible to use vinyl cutters to cur around regular inkjet transfer sheet images? Say, I print a full color illustration on a transfer sheet through an epson printer, can I use vinyl cutters to get clean tight cuts around the artwork on the sheet? Or are the cutter specific to vinyl sheets only?

Thanks
 

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Its my understanding that with a machine with optics and the right software, its possible. How well it works I cant say as all I do is plastisol and cad vinyl. From the way i hear it ( well read it) here, it seems more people than not, hand trim. Im waiting to hear more on the Dura-cotton transfers for laser machines. Apparently thats no timming. The transfer only prints where the sheet was printed. Hope that helps.
 

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Very interesting stuff and almost all my were questions answered!
So to use vynil I must buy a cutter?
For sublimation only an inkjet printer, inkjet paper and a heat press?
Thanks!
 
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