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My husband and I have a small home based business. So far all we have is a vinyl plotter and we do signs and etc. We are wanting to expand our business and get into doing t-shirts. We have called a few places and cannot seem to figure out what would be the best route to go. Does anyone have any suggestions on whether or not heat transfers, vinyl transfers or silk screening is the best way to go. Heat transfers seem to be the most cost efficient but at the same time we do not want a box around our pictures and text from the transfer paper. If anyone has any suggestions please let us know, we are looking to buy soon but just don't want to make a wrong move. Thanks.
 

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Re: Which To Go With

stellargraphics said:
My husband and I have a small home based business. So far all we have is a vinyl plotter and we do signs and etc. We are wanting to expand our business and get into doing t-shirts. We have called a few places and cannot seem to figure out what would be the best route to go. Does anyone have any suggestions on whether or not heat transfers, vinyl transfers or silk screening is the best way to go. Heat transfers seem to be the most cost efficient but at the same time we do not want a box around our pictures and text from the transfer paper. If anyone has any suggestions please let us know, we are looking to buy soon but just don't want to make a wrong move. Thanks.
I guess it really boils down to what size orders you expect from your customer Base...
If your primamry Market is Businesses and organizations, as mine is, Screen Printing is definately the way to go... It is much more suitable to larger orders... Theres no comparison in the the amount of shirts printed per Labor hour... It is normal here for small business to order 40 to 50 shirts at a time...larger businesses order 300 or 400 at a time... Some Local Govt. orders are 1000+ theres no way we could fill these orders timely using a Heat press... However the investment for a Heat Press is minimul and I see no reason you cant cover both Bases...you already have the plotter so for a very minimal investment you can setup for the One offs and small manageable orders using Vinyl... I do the same thing here....This is a screen printing shop however we have transfers and a heat press for walk ins wanting a single shirt or two.... Good Luck with your expansion..... Chuck
 

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Re: Which To Go With

Chuck nailed it......all depends on your volume and what exactly you want to sell t-shirt wise. Thermoflex plus cad-cut materials are great for lettering and simple one and two color graphics. Screen Printing is the way to go for unlimited options...I say unlimited printing options because your space, available cash, learning curve etc will be a part of which direction you head. Heatpress transfers are another option and can be as economical or expensive as you want...all depending on what market you seek, what volume within that market, custom designs or stock images. Read through the forum....there is a wealth of info here and probably a hundred other folks thinking as you are and looking for info. I came from the graphics end myself and moved into custom t-shirts with cad-cut. I am now doing stock and custom plastisol transfers. Eventually I will have some sort of screen press but that will be in due time.
 

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screen printing for sure! you'll make money. I went with heat transfer vinyl and i hate it for making business because of the weeding! Ugh!

Silk Screen for sure...If I had the only, I would definitely get me an automatic silk screen press

heat transfer vinyl is just a fun toy to play with for friends, family, and for urself
 

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You obviously don't know what your talking about. I wouldn't want my kids playing around with a vinyl cutter like its a toy. If you hate vinyl, wait til you get your hands on some emulsion, film outputs, and chemicals for cleaning screens. You'll be begging vinyl for forgiveness.


Blood, Sweat, and Vinyl Cutters! :)
 

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Please know that the last post is just opinion. I do mainly vinyl. I am averaging $300 on a slow week and $1000 or more on good weeks. I have no advertising, no business cards, and no website. I just wear a few shirts with my company name that are catchy and hit any major events, and also walmart, kroger, etc. I only do it part time. I am not yet ready to leave my regular job because i like it so much. What I have found is that I do also need to use heat transfers from time to time depending on what the customers want.

Yes weeding vinyl can be irritating but on avg I am looking at a few minutes on a difficult shirt. At $1 per linear inch, $1 per press, $1 per cut my avg shirt is around $15 and takes me around 10 minutes to complete. Factor in profit off the shirt when I supply the shirt and thats $25 every 10 minutes of work. So is weeding really that bad. not at all.

Even if you decide to do just vinyl keep some heat transfer paper handy. I only keep the dark material transfers and use it for light and dark. Just did 9 uniform shirts for a gas station. $4 profit off each shirt $3 per shirt to make and apply the logo. Not too bad seeing that i was able to print all 9 logos on one transfer sheet.

Silk screen is great if you are getting good size orders but you wont be able to easily do the one off orders or the ones where someone just wants a name on a shirt. I have a 20 shirt order coming up with just "100%" on them. With vinyl ill just cut weed and press using my $1000 worth of equipment or I can buy an automatic press $750 cheapest decent one ive seen, flash dryer unit, exposure unit, screens, chemicals, etc. By the time I make one screen I could have it all done using vinyl.


Just some thoughts
 
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