How to Set Up a Perfect Garment Graphic Heat Transfer

heat press over red t shirt with Essentialware logo

How to get a perfect heat press transfer every single time

A garment graphic heat transfer refers to a method of applying intricate and colorful designs, logos, or artwork onto fabrics, primarily clothing, using heat and pressure. This process involves printing the desired image onto a special transfer paper using specialized inks, and then utilizing a heat press machine to transfer the design from the paper onto the fabric. The heat press machine applies controlled heat and pressure, causing the inks on the transfer paper to sublimate and bond with the fibers of the fabric, creating a durable and visually appealing graphic. This technique is commonly used in the apparel industry to achieve high-quality, vibrant, and detailed designs on various types of garments, ranging from t-shirts and hoodies to sportswear and promotional items.

Materials and Equipment:

  1. PTFE Cover Sheet or Platen Wraps: This is a PTFE-coated sheet (also called transfer film) that acts as a carrier for the graphics. It prevents the graphic material from sticking to the heat press and provides a smooth surface for the transfer process. Platen wraps are materially identical, but wrap around the upper and lower platens of the heat press, making for one less “moving part” in the heat transfer process.
  2. Graphic Material: This can be your design or logo that you want to transfer onto the garment. It’s usually printed on a special heat transfer paper or vinyl.
  3. Heat Press: A heat press machine is used to apply heat and pressure to transfer the graphic from the transfer sheet to the garment.
  4. Garment: The garment should be made of a fabric that can withstand the heat and pressure applied during the transfer process. Common choices include cotton, polyester, and blends.


  1. Prepare the Graphic: Print or cut your graphic design onto the heat transfer material. Make sure to follow any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of the transfer material.
  2. Preheat the Heat Press: Set your heat press to the appropriate temperature and pressure settings for the type of transfer material and garment you’re using. Refer to the instructions that come with the heat transfer material.
  3. Positioning: Place the garment on the heat press with the area where you want to apply the graphic facing up. Pre-press the garment for a few seconds to remove any moisture and wrinkles.
  4. Layering: Place the PTFE transfer sheet on top of the garment, with the PTFE-coated side facing down. Then, place the graphic material on top of the PTFE transfer sheet, ensuring that the design is positioned correctly.
  5. Applying Heat and Pressure: Close the heat press and apply the appropriate amount of pressure and heat for the recommended duration. The PTFE transfer sheet acts as a barrier, preventing the graphic material from sticking to the upper platen of the heat press.
  6. Cooling and Peeling: After the transfer time is complete, open the heat press and allow the transfer to cool down. Once it’s cooled, carefully peel off the PTFE transfer sheet and the backing of the graphic material, leaving the transferred graphic on the garment.
  7. Post-Pressing: Some heat transfer materials require a final post-pressing step to ensure a strong bond between the graphic and the garment. Follow the instructions provided by the transfer material manufacturer.

Essentialware can help

Using PTFE transfer sheet can help prevent issues such as the transfer material sticking to the heat press, which can result in ruined graphics. It also allows for a smoother transfer process due to the nonstick nature of PTFE.

Always refer to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturers of the heat transfer material, PTFE cover sheet, and heat press for the best results.

Setting up a new garment graphics business? Already successful and looking for higher value PTFE suppliers? Contact sales@essentialware.com to learn how we can get you the greatest value on your PTFE needs, or call (888) 975-0405.


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