The Best Heat Press Settings for Sublimation

Heat printing is a process through which you can print designs or graphics on certain surfaces by using a heat press machine. Sublimation is one of the most creative and easiest processes, of decorating apparels as well as other items. Basically, sublimation entails printing a sublimation ink through a printer onto a special sublimation transfer paper. The ink can be transferred onto any polyester garment or polymer-coated substrate, by using a heat press machine compatible for sublimation.

For sublimation, different types of substrate require unique settings of temperature, time and pressure, which is a curial part of the process. If the particular set of settings is not applied for certain substrate then this will result in a poor transfer.  I have listed below some of the most used objects for sublimation, along with the recommended settings.

Soft L’ink Garments

Time: 35 to 40 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Pre-heat the garment for 3 to 5 seconds to remove moisture.
  • Tack-spray the transfer and use a blow-out sheet to prevent ghosting.
  • Use a lint-roller brush and roll it over the surface of the T-shirt that will come into contact with the heat press, in order to remove any dust or lint that might have settled on the garment.

Vapor Apparel

Time: 45 to 55 seconds

Temperature: 380 to 390° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • To minimize the visibility of the pressing lines, place a clean Teflon sheet on the heat press pad before positioning the T-shirt. You would also want to bevel the edges of the heat pad to a 45° angle using an art knife.
  • In case you are pressing a player or ringer T-shirt Don’t put the colored sleeve edge or colored collar of the t-shirt in the heat-press. If necessary, place a silicon paper inside the collar or t-shirt and around the collar to protect other parts of the t-shirt and the press.

Polyester or mouse pads

Time: 45 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Look for a high white point and tight knit if you want more brilliant color.
  • Cover transfer with a sheet of plain white paper before heat pressing. Also cover the bottom platen before placing the substrate.
  • Use a heat resistant tape to fasten the item in position, which is facing the printed side of the transfer.
  • To prevent double imaging peel off the transfer as fast as possible after heat pressing.

Unisub Metals

Time: 60 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Use blow-out paper.
  • Always remove plastic coating before pressing.
  • Try pressing the metal from the opposite side with the transfer paper facing towards the rubber pad.
  • If you are pressing an item that can be printed on both sides, let the metal cool down to room temperature after the first press, before pressing on the other side.

Other Colored Metals, including White, Silver, Bronze

Time: 60 seconds

Temperature: 375° to 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Time varies with metal manufacturer, so always consult the manufacturer of the item for correct time and temperature.
  • Place an absorbent sheet on the bottom of heat press. Then, lay the product transfer side down over the absorbent sheet.

Unisub Products

Time: 60 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

 

Tips

  • Don’t forget to remove the plastic coating.
  • Tear transfer paper off immediately after heat pressing.
  • Thicker the material, longer is the time required for printing.
  • In case you are printing on Unisub wood, allow it to cool for 20 seconds before removing the transfers.

FR Plastics

Time: 60 to 75 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Remove plastic coating.
  • Peel transfer paper away as quickly as possible after the pressing is done.
  • When printing on a double-sided substrate it’s necessary to use a Teflon sheet to avoid over print.
  • Before doing the second press, allow the substrate to cool down to room temperature.
  • Make sure that there is no ink residue on the Teflon sheet before printing on either side of the FR plastic. Clean it properly before each pressing.

Ceramics or Mugs

Time: 150 to 210 seconds

Temperature: 350° to 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Time varies with the press.
  • Press into silicon pad, or use a heat press with silicon padding.
  • Mugs must be cooled down after transfer paper is peeled off, either by using a cooling plate or placing it into a bucket of warm water.
  • Placing the mug upside down can make it absorb more heat, which  helps to sublimate  more reliably and effectively.

Ceramic and Glass Tiles

Time: 300 to 720 seconds

Temperature: 400° F

Pressure: Light to medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Time will vary depending on type and size of the tile, so always consult the manufacturer.
  • Press tiles from back by placing the transfer side down.
  • Press into a silicon pad.
  • Remove the transfer paper immediately after heat pressing when the tile is extremely hot.

Sublimatable Film

Time: 30 to -60 seconds

Temperature: 350° to 400° F

Pressure: Medium or 40 psi

Tips

  • Time varies depending on the type of film.
  • Transfer must be slightly bigger than film and laid face down on the substrate, with the adhesive side down.
  • Clear materials can be either adhesive front or adhesive back. Make sure not to mirror your image on a clear film.

Ornaments and Key Chains

Temperature: 400°F

Time: 60 seconds

Pressure: medium

Tips

  • The image must be bigger than the substrate.
  • Remove the transfer immediately after pressing.

Cell Phone Case

Temperature: 375°F

Time: 360 seconds

Pressure: medium

Tips

  • Remove the case from the heat press immediately after pressing and peel the transfer off when it’s still hot.
  • Use cooling mold if necessary.

Rock

Temperature: 300°F to 400°F

Time: 480 Seconds

Pressure: Medium

Tips

  • Set the temperature according to the size of the substrate.
  • The rock will be extremely hot, so use hand gloves while removing it after heat pressing.

Glass Photo Frame

Temperature: 375°F

Time: 180 to 220 seconds

Pressure: Light

Tips

  • Apply very less pressure as glass can break easily.
  • Print non-mirror image onto the transfer Paper.
  • The image should be bigger than the substrate.

Settings for Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl is the mostly used transfer. In addition, I have also noted down the settings for different types of Heat Transfer vinyl.

Easy Weed

Temperature: 305°F

Pressure: Medium

Time: 10 to 15 seconds

Tips

  • It’s applicable on 100% cotton, poly-cotton blends, non-coated polyester, and leather.
  • You can peel it off when the object is hot as well as cold.

Glitter

Temperature: 320 °F

Pressure: Firm

Time: 10 to 15 seconds

Tips

  • Applicable on 100% cotton materials, poly-cotton blends, non-coated polyester, leather, Lycra, Lightly siliconed nylon, and sublimated polyester.
  • Peel it off when the object is hot.
  • Can’t be layered on itself.

Electric

Temperature: 305°F

Pressure: Medium

Time: 15 seconds

Tips

  • Adheres to 100% cotton materials, poly-cotton blends, non-coated polyester, leather, and sublimated polyester.
  • Can be peeled off when the object is hot as well as cold.

Stretch

Temperature: 305°F

Pressure: Medium to firm

Time: 15 seconds

Tips

  • Applicable on 100% cotton materials, poly-cotton blends, non-coated polyester, leather, and Lycra.
  • Can be peeled off when the object is hot as well as cold.

Glow

Temperature: 305°F

Pressure: Medium to firm

Time: 15 seconds

Tips

  • It’s applicable on 100% cotton, poly-cotton blends, and non-coated polyester.
  • Can be peeled off when the object is hot as well as cold.

Strip-flock

Temperature: 320 °F

Pressure: Medium

Time: 15 to 20 seconds

Tips

  • Adheres to 100% cotton materials, poly-cotton blends, non-coated polyester, leather, and sublimated polyester.
  • Can be peeled off only when the substrate has cooled.

Conclusion

The settings may vary depending on the transfer and the type of machine being used for your application so a proficient temperature testing of the heat press machine is highly recommended. When you are using a specific sublimation paper, the settings will be instructed on the paper itself, which you must follow without a second thought.

Edward
 

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