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Hi! I have started making tshirts using ink jet transfer paper and have a few questions (I'm very new to this so sorry if it's all a bit obvious!).
So far I have just been using a standard iron and have only had one person say that the design flaked off - is there an advantage to getting a heat press in terms of quality, or is it just easier because it's quicker? Obviously if using an iron is really bad quality, I don't want to continue.
Also, I have been just doing designs in square/rectangles etc, then cutting them out - I've noticed other people have designs made with heat transfers that are intricate shapes, with bits cut out etc...how is that done?
Any advice/tips for this very novice tshirt designer would be gratefully recieved!!
 

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If you are doing transfers to sell, get a press. It's all about control and consistant results. The intricate designs are probably cut out using a vinyl cutter. Check ebay to get price ranges for the equipment.
 

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The 'easier' factor exists too, and translates directly into 'consistency'. It is nigh impossible to provide consisent, even pressure with an iron so they ever shirt you make will be the same and be pressed correctly all the way across. A heat press will also work much faster (say, 2 minutes a shirt instead of 5) and without all the physical stress (you need to really press down heavily on an iron to provide the pressure needed to make a good bond). Iron-ons are fine for yourself or friends, but if you're selling them you're going to want a heat press.
 

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The largest advantage of the press is even application of heat and pressure. I'd probably say pressure is the most important thing a press can contribute.

As far as the designs go, if you're printing to white or light shirts, the regular transfer paper will allow you to loosely cut around any intricate design and when pressed, the border will virtually disappear into the fabric. You might even only be able to see it if you know what you're looking for and at the right angle.

For darks and black, you either break your fingers with an exacto knife or decent scissors and live with the inevitable little white border around the designs. Forget about lettering.

If your designs ever mainly consist of lettering or few colors (under 5) it would probably be most beneficial to purchase plastisol transfers through a printer. You won't have to worry about cutting anything out (unless they gang the designs on the sheets) and you'll have no border; it only transfers the actual ink on the paper.
 
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