How To Print Shorts & Sweatpants With A Heat Press
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Hey fam, Vince here from Transfer Express and in most of our videos we talk about decorating tops like t-shirts, hoodies, polos... but we rarely talk about the bottoms. There is a ton of profit potential in heat printing sweatpants and shorts, but most decorators shy away from these garments because they think it's too difficult to apply.
Well, today I'm here to show you how easy it is to decorate bottoms with your heat press at home. You won't even break a sweat. So are you ready to learn? Don't worry, we'll keep it short!
Now, just like the tops, the first tip to decorating bottoms is to select the right blanks. Try to find fabrics that are 100 percent cotton, 100 percent polyester, or a cotton/poly blend.
When you start getting into the lycras, the spandex's, and other heat sensitive fibers, you'll start running into issues where decorating with a heat press might be damaging to these garments.
When it comes to your designs, you want to make sure you get the proper size. There are two size options for printing sweats: the first is a standard leg print which is about 14 inches long (which just so happens to be the length of our transfer paper) and a size that fits on most heat presses for one application.
This size print can be applied from the thigh area to the knee or from the knee to the ankle. You also can choose to put the print down the side or in the front.
A second option for sweats can be as long as 28 inches and this is called the large leg. This is printed on one transfer sheet and applied in two applications after cutting the paper in half. The application is a little longer but it's really easy to do. Then, the entire leg is printed from thigh to ankle.
Our free Easy View online designer is filled with pre-made layouts that are already scaled for leg prints. You can also find a whole section for leg prints in the front pages of the Idea Book.
So now that we've covered the sweats, let's talk about shorts.
Now the most popular placement for shorts is in the front, just above or at the knee. We generally recommend a small two to three inch design for these placements, however, you can also print bigger prints as well, such as a full-size print along the back.
We see it a lot with cheerleader stuff, dance schools, and such. That is all up to you, so don't be afraid to get creative.
Now, most athletic shorts are a hundred percent polyester, so for those we recommend using our Elasti Print transfers, because not only are they designed for moisture working performance wear, but they also apply at a lower temperature so you reduce the risk of scorching these garments.
If your artwork is full color, you can use the UltraColor Pro or Max as well. They also apply to low temp 100 percent polyester garments, so you're going to be a-okay.
All right... so enough talking. Let's get started printing.
Today, we're going to print with our full size 16x20 platen, but one of the accessories that you can use to make your life a little bit easier for pants and shorts is our Hotronix leg and sleeve platen.
To put this on, it's really simple thanks to the Hotronix patented Quick Change Platen system. All I'm going to do is pull a little lever down here, lift up and in just seconds, I remove my platen. No tools at all. Now we're going to pop in our leg and sleeve. Super Simple.
But because we have a Hotronix Auto Clam, it is not recommended that we use the leg and sleeve platen, only because when you try to thread it on, you can see it gets kind of caught and bunched up on the base of the press. So that's okay, we're going to use our full-size platen. But if you had one of the Fusion models, this would work great and make your life a little bit easier.
Okay, so we have two gang sheets here. We have our UltraColor Pro that we're going to use on our sweatpants and we have our Elasti Prints that we're going to use on our shorts. I'm going to cut out our little eagle here for the lower front of the shorts and our alpha fitness here that we're going to run down the side of the thigh on the pants.
Make sure to remove your registration marks. Sometimes they can bleed through onto the garment. All right, so I have my 100 percent polyester sweatpants here and I want to place it right along the front thigh here, right underneath the pocket.
When I have my Quick Slip Pad Protector on, sometimes placing it can be a little tricky because there's not enough friction. As you can see, it slides off, so I'm going to go ahead and just remove the Quick Slip Pad Protector, just to make it a little bit easier for me to do.
Now that it's removed, I'm going to go ahead and lay our sweatpant right down, trying my best to remove any of the seams that will cause uneven pressure. So now, as you can see, I have a nice smooth flat surface. I have the pocket off of the heat press and I try to eliminate as many obstructions as I can, such as folded up parts of the sweatpant. I want to get this as flat as I possibly can.
So now we're going to pre-press to get the moisture and wrinkles out. I'm going to take my UltraColor Pro transfer that I cut out and I'm going to lay it as close to this seam as I can. It'll look a little crooked when you apply, but that's okay because when it goes down the leg it's going to conform to your leg just a little bit.
So now we have our placement good, we're going to go ahead and press. UltraColor Pro applies at 290 degrees for 15 seconds. UltraColor Pro is a hot peel, so I'm going to peel the carrier immediately and as you can see, it applied pretty good right underneath the pocket. This is going to look really nice at the gym.
Now that we got our sweatpants done, let's go ahead and print our shorts. We already have our Quick Slip off, so this will be nice for when we go to print our shorts because it will keep that friction for us. We're going to print right above the knee, so I'm going to go ahead and lay this down. I'm going to try and keep as many obstructions off, so I'm going to keep the elastic waistband off.
We're going to lay this down just like we did with the sweatpants, trying to make it as flat as possible. We have to pre-press. Now I'm going to take my eagle print that I cut off the Elasti Prints gang sheet. Generally, what I like to do for these placements is to go three fingers from the side seam and then I'm going to go about three fingers up from the bottom seam here.
Shorts are a little more forgiving with your placements because they're down below on the leg, they're not as noticeable if you're a little off like they are with t-shirts. So it's okay if you get it just a little bit shifted one way or the other.
We're ready to press Elasti Prints which also applies at 290 degrees for 15 seconds, but it's a cold peel. So after the press opens, we're going to remove it, wait for it to cool and then check out our results. We're going to go ahead and remove our shorts from the press to allow it to cool completely to the touch.
Okay, now that our transfer is cooled completely to the touch, we're ready to peel. As you can see, we have a nice sweet eagle.
I hope this video helped you feel confident in printing your shorts and sweats. They are truly a great way to offer your customers more variety than just t-shirts and it really doesn't add much print cost at all. You can fit most of these designs in the same gang sheet.
Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for tons of helpful tips and tricks just like this. We're dropping new videos like this every single week. But until next time, I'm Vince. Happy pressing!