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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
History
About a month ago we decided to start pressing shirts to help fundraise for our band/school this year. We have helped merchandise at events and such for the past couple of years and just sell things on consignment and have a few custom shirt orders each year. Problem is we weren't making that much profit and we constantly didn't have enough or at least the correct stock when we needed it. I began the search for a better way. Decided Plastisol transfers might be the answer then we can just stock a bunch of blank shirts and press what we need as we need it and hopefully add some custom options.

I found the forums and have been reading everything I can find since. We proposed our plan to the school and got shot down because the upfront costs were too much for them even when I scaled gear down. So, knowing that I our plan was too good to pass up, we upgraded our plan to just start our own business and sell to the school as needed and pray that lots of side orders will happen over time. We hope to pay for our equipment cost this year and still be able to sell to the school below their normal costs. Then if all goes well we'll be in a great postion to really help the school slash thier cost and increase fundraising.

Preparation
Thought I'd make a topic and get you guys to walk through the process with me and maybe that will not only be helpful for me, but for other newbies. Please let me know what I'm missing so I can get my act together or list what I have forgotten to add.

Heat Press
Well, since SeasonEnds won my press, I had to actually buy my own. So, I called Josh at Imprintables and ordered the Phoenix Phire 16x20. Got a Telfon sheet with it. Should have got a bottom Teflon wrap with it to protect my press like Josh recommended, but kinda tight on cash with all of this ordering at once. Will get one later, hopefully after I make some of these cost up on orders or when I win a nice fat prize in Alpha's give away:D.

Tools
Ordered TEE SQUARE IT & LOGO IT! from Costal Business Supplies with my discount from the forums so I'll have some chance of placing my transfers in the correct position. I have what I think will be good enough for most of the other things needed around the house(scissors, etc). I ordered USCutter Laserpoint with some extra 45 & 60 degree blades. I hope to be able to do some custom add ons to the shirts (names & such) on an individual basis. Also, we will do window decals at the very least with the cutter. Many tell me I underestimate how many things I'll do with the cutter after I get going.

Shirts & Supplies
I setup accounts with Alpha, Broder Bros, Virginia T's, TSC, and S&S Active wear. Hoping by having many accounts I can get stock of what I want, when I need it. I asked for catalogs, color cards, & swatches when I setup the accounts and I have recieved a ton of stuff to help customers pick the colors & styles they want. I ordered samples of heat press vinyl, laser transfer paper, & catalogs from too many places to list, but some of them were Stahls, Coastal Business Supplies, Imprintables, Fellers. I also contacted too many to list of the transfer companies, but pretty much went down this list.
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/heat-press-heat-transfers/t4095.html

First Order
OK, got my first order for cub scout pack shirts. This friend has always kept a stock of shirts to sell, but they always had to order way too many shirts to get a fair price. I told her I was getting in the business and why don't we take care of her immediate stock needs for now and then order extra transfers so she won't have to store so many shirts and be out the cost of them while they sit unused for years at a time. She told me the shirts where hunter green and she was a little uncertain about what sizes to order and how many because she was sold out of many sizes and they weren't sure how the shirts would fit the boys as they have had problems with sizes being off when they ordered in the past. Now that we are talking about ordering only what is needed it might be a problem. I took care of that problem quick and went ahead and ordered 1 Gildan 2000 shirt of each size in forest green from TSC along with a couple of Anvil in a few sizes to compare with. I got the shirts and gave them to her to use on the boys to get her order ready. She was very happy that she had the shirts to actually try on the boys and has already gotten back with me on the order. She wants 35 in various sizes, but isn't sure about the shirt color as its slightly different from her current stock. So, I'm going to go meet with her and take the swatches so we can pick a color.

Well, I got a hold of one of the adult shirts that they have had made in the past and the graphic is 12" wide and 10.5" tall. Problem is I haven't been able to find out if the kids sizes have the graphic that big on them or not. That is pretty big on a youth small or med. Youth size graphics were 11"wide by 9.5" tall. Don't know if I'll do two sizes again or not.

Design

http://www.renegadethreads.com/images/boy%20scout%20shirt%20logo.jpg

Here is the design she sent me in a .jpg.

I'll meet with her this afternoon and try to get the shirt order tied down, but I'd like to move ahead on the transfers so they don't hold us up. I have chosen a few companies to try my first order with to see who I like best. I'm going to weed the group down to 2 or 3 with the samples that I liked best.

Can I do a gang sheet or something to reduce my costs?
Probably not on this order because my graphic is 12"wide x 10.5"tall. At least on adult shirts.

How do I decide on the size and should it be two different sizes (youth & adult)?
Can I do 12"x10.5" on a youth small without it looking too goofy? Youth graphic is 11"x9.5". Should I just go with 11x9.5 for adult and youth sizes? Going with 11"wide by 9.5" tall for all transfers.

How do I convert the jpg to a vector file so I can remove the white or make it transparent and the black is all that shows for printing.

What is the best way to prepare the art for my transfer company?
If just import the graphic into Corel Draw and save it as an .eps will that be the best way to go?

Need to convert the graphic to vector form and save it as a .eps file. Transfer Express had some helpful videos here:

http://www.transferexpress.com/site/videos_artwork.asp

Got some help in the Graphics & Design forum on converting. Hopefully I can do this myself if I update Corel.
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/graphics-design-help/t58060.html

Shirt Blanks Order

I compared all of the accounts that I had setup. I'm waiting on accounts from Staton & Sanmar. They have been a little harder to get setup than most of the others that I just did online or through email. The S&S site was the easiest for me to place the order with and they had stock of everything. Their shipping was also very cheap compared to some of the others. I probably would have ordered a little extra or something else if I ordered from Alpha/Broder/NEC because shipping is free at $150, but they didn't have stock of everything I needed from the same location and were a bit more expensive. I went ahead and listed Alpha/Broder/NEC seperately because they had slight differences and different levels of inventory. Was lots of fun to figure out one location would have stock of all the adult sizes, but not the youth. I finally went to Gildan and just used http://www.gildanfinder.com/ to figure out who had stock of what I needed. Gildan finder was really handy for quickly seeing who was out of stock in a product.

Anyway, I ordered from S&S in the end and had a smooth order so far.


Sorry, but my findings were removed by the admin to protect the innocent homeless shirts of the world.

Questions:

Now I'm trying to verify that I'm going to choose the correct color for the plastisol. I'll upload a picture of the shirt, but the shirt is Forrest Green with either White or Cream color graphic on it. The problem is there are little green flecks that show through the graphic. I'm guessing this is from poor shirt prep.



 

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What is the best way to prepare the art for my transfer company?
If you are handy with software, you could take that JPG into coreldraw or illustrator and make it into a vector image. Then you email/upload that vector image to the plastisol transfer company to get a quote.

If you aren't handy with software, you would email that image to a place like artworksource.com or vectordoctor.com and pay them like $15 to turn the JPG into a vector file for you :)

Can I do a gang sheet or something to reduce my costs?
If they need it as a full front image, there might not be room to gang many of them on a sheet. Check with the plastisol transfer company you select to see if you can put more on a sheet to save costs.

If it's just going to be a front left chest logo, you could probably fit several on a sheet.

How do I decide on the size and should it be two different sizes (youth & adult)?
If it's going to be a front center graphic, I personally would decide on one size that would fit the most amount of garments. Changing the design size for different size garments will increase your costs (and decrease your profits). If you are going to do that, be sure to charge it to the customer.

If it's a front center graphic, I probably would go about 10" wide and it would look OK on Small Kids through XL (or even XXL large) adult tees.
 

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Rodney got it faster and better than I did.Ask the printer how they want the artwork formated and or color separations if more than one color. If you can't get a lot of those ganged up on a single sheet from your printer, I would find another printer.Do you have a printer of any kind ( ink laser mono chrome color? ) Get or use a program like corel draw or inkscape is free I think, and print a few on plain paper in slightly different sizes, cut them out and just lay them on different size shirts to see how they look.
 

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I know this is probably too late as you have probably already met with them. But you say the color of the shirts are slighty different, check out one of their shirts and see what brand it is and if it is 100% cotton or 50/50 that will vary the color slightly.

BTW, great job on getting your order and even a better job on getting your business set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The youth shirts I got were Gildan 5.5 instead of the 6.1, but the color wasn't different after all (just in her memory). I showed her the difference and we are going to go with all Gildan 6.1 from now on.

Going to go shop the shirts and report back on where I ordered from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The youth graphics are 11"wide by 9.5" tall. Seems like a small difference. Do you think I really need to do the larger one for adults or can I get away with the same size on both?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm moving forward with preparing my graphic to send to the transfer companies, but I've struck a problem.

I'm having problem converting my jpg to a vector. I've tried a couple of things, but the result is an image where I have a solid black layer that has white pieces on top of it where holes should be in the black layer. Basically on the graphic above, I want to print the black and only the black. The white needs to be transparent.
 

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I'm having problem converting my jpg to a vector. I've tried a couple of things, but the result is an image where I have a solid black layer that has white pieces on top of it where holes should be in the black layer. Basically on the graphic above, I want to print the black and only the black. The white needs to be transparent.
Have you thought about just sending the graphic to artworksource.com and having them do it?

If you list your exact steps that you're going through, then others can see where you might have gone wrong and suggest alternatives.

You can also just search the forums for vectorizing or coreldraw tracing and you'll find several threads that explain how to do it.

The youth graphics are 11"wide by 9.5" tall. Seems like a small difference. Do you think I really need to do the larger one for adults or can I get away with the same size on both
11" wide sounds fine for adult sizes to me.
 

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I played around with it for a while( I need the practice/knowledge myself) and is this what you want or do you need the background removed from inside the picture too?
 

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I played around with it for a while( I need the practice/knowledge myself) and is this what you want or do you need the background removed from inside the picture too?I messed with it some more and I think the background is deleted fron inside the picture too Try it and see if its what you want
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for giving it a shot. It looks pretty smooth, but it lost some of the detail in the "Limits". There was a white line in that area.

Anyone please chime in if I'm doing something stupid, but I understood that I'm trying to provide a vector graphic of only the part I want to have printed on the shirt. So, I'm thinking I'm trying to make a single color graphic of the black with not white or transparent where the white is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Have you thought about just sending the graphic to artworksource.com and having them do it?
I've got till the 27th to get this done. So, unless I get short on time to figure it out, I'm going to try to go through each step and learn what steps I will need to go through when I get artwork sent to me like this.

The steps I went through were to try and use my old version 12 of Corel Draw to trace the image. It looked good I ungrouped it I deleted out the background just fine. Then when I started to try to remove the white sections, I found that they were just stuck on top of a solid black piece that was the full size of the graphic. It was kinda like if I wanted to make a mask for a contour cut.

So, then I decided I must be an idiot and went to vector magic to see what they could do. Played with it a bunch, but pretty much got the same result.
 
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