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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I went about this in reverse I think. I have a small business providing marketing materials for political campaigns. Recently, we decided to start offering clothing, tshirts to be exact. I bought around 200 blank shirts of mostly White or Black cotton and poly. I bought a middle of the road heat press. I spent 90 days in immersive training in both Illustrator and Photoshop. I have a fully finished website with almost 100 designs ready to turn up, and now....I am teetering on sending out to a transfer vendor or doing it all myself depending on the difficulty. My issue is that I have a lot of designs and its not cost effective to send out for small orders to a vendor.

So assuming I go with DIY, I am just unsure of what type of transfers to go with and how much supplies to start with. I should also note that I am not destitute. If I am missing something big I can run out and fund it.
Any help is appreciated
 

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Good, I'm glad you have funding. You cannot do normal heat transfers on a black shirt or dark material unless you get the paper specially made for darks. I have never used it before but from what I've heard about it, it leaves a thick layer on the fabric. What you can use is vinyl, but you'll need a cutter/plotter to cut the vinyl and then that can be pressed onto a dark shirt. You could also get screen printed transfers made up for those dark shirts, but the cost is going to be up there. Or you can buy some screen printing equipment and make your own.

Or you can do DTG (direct to garment) printing. You don't say if your designs are just words or simple graphics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mine are usually all text. Usually 1-2 colors only. I should state that I really only want to buy what I am really going to use. While a cutter might ultimately be necessary I am only looking to make around 10 or so shirts every couple of days.
 

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If that's all you're going to be doing then you can either buy plastisol transfers in bulk (these have to be screen printed) and have them on hand for when you need them, or get a cutter and do vinyl transfers which can be done one at a time. For the white shirts all you need is heat transfers that you can make yourself. But the dark fabrics will require an opaque image otherwise you won't see them.
 

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Most vendors do have minimum. I hate minimums. Most of my customers so far have just wanted one offs which is fine with me because I have a cutter/plotter that cuts out the vinyl for me. There is a gentleman in Canada that I cut vinyl for. He sends me his designs and I cut & weed the vinyl.

He was asking me about plastisol transfers so I bought the supplies and equipment to make them.. and he changed his mind. I still haven't tried making a plastisol transfer, but they can't be that hard to do. The worst part is making the screen and reclaiming it when I don't need it anymore. That's where the expense of screen printing comes into play. Each color requires its own screen.
 

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Depending on what type of life your trying to get out of these shirts, you could go with a laser printer and use jet opaque transfers for darks and no weed transfers for dark. You could even cut and design them on something as simple as a cameo. But if you have a couple hundred to do then your best bet is to sub it out.
 
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