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Custom Screen Printed Transfers & More

Oversized T-Shirt Prints With A Heat Press

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Hey Friends! Dave here with Transfer Express, and today we’re going to tackle some tricky heat press scenarios: oversized and run-off prints.

With huge t-shirt and apparel prints making a comeback for more than just streetwear and clothing brands, you may find yourself in a situation when you have an idea for some oversized prints or you have a customer requesting it. Well, there’s no reason to fear, it’s pretty easy to achieve awesome results regardless of what heat press you have at home or in your shop. Let’s get right into it!

We’ll start here first with an oversize print and then the popular billboard print across the back shoulders and onto the sleeves. They seem to be making a comeback from their initial popularity a few years ago. We have a Hotronix® Auto Open clamshell press here which is equipped with the full size 16x20 platen. Having a large area on your heat press definitely helps with these larger graphics, but with the technique, I’ll show you here today, you can make it work on any heat press.

We’re going to be using our UltraColor® Max direct to film transfers here on our first example because you have up to 22 x 22” of printing area to use, which, for this example, we used almost every square inch of that space. So let’s cut these graphics up, and get them on the t-shirt! For reference, the huge full front graphic is 13.5” x 20", and the text for our billboard print is 21" x 4”.

A tip I learned as an apparel decorator over the past decade for these large prints is try to limit solid ink areas. Regardless of what inks or method you’re using, be it screen printing, heat transfers or direct to garment - these huge full front graphics can feel very heavy and stiff if they’re all a huge solid area. So just breaking up elements with some show-through areas not only help with the feel of the print, but also make great use of the color of the garment as a color in the image - just like these trees here that are just outlines to have the garment color as the leaves.

Next up, let’s try a runoff print. This one will have the graphic extending past the edge of the shirt - a real unique effect that’s easy to reproduce. So say, we want the bottom of this TIKI guy to be about a half inch off of the garment, we can just align our graphic to the side seam and have our transfer overhang on the garment. Now of course, crossing any seams just like this bottom shirt hem can lead to imperfections in the print, so it’s always a great idea to test or show your customer what the results will look like to manage their expectations.

This is easy to print, just increase the pressure a little bit on your heat press to squish this seam down as flat as we can go and we’ll just a use one of our paper cover sheets to cover our lower platen on the press- Of course, one of these Quick Slip Pad Protectors already help us keep the press clean, but this piece of paper will ensure we don’t leave any inks on the press.

I hope you learned something today and feel confident to try some out-of-the-box printing locations and sizes. Of course, if you have tips of your own for these types of prints, let us know!

As always, make sure to subscribe to stay up to date on all of the heat printing and apparel business tips, tricks, education and inspiration that we’re dropping every week! Until next time, I'm Dave, happy pressing!

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