How to Heat Press a Cap

Heat press machines are quite popular these days. The heat press device is used for printing images, designs, letters, etc on a number of articles including garments, mugs, plates, caps etc. A lot of people love to wear customized caps, be it printed with the logo of their favorite sports team or personalized prints. In fact, customized cap business is now growing widely.

Usually, most individuals prefer buying a combo heat press machine that also includes a cap press. However, cap presses are also sold separately.  You can purchase the device if you are interested only in cap printing.

Heat pressing a cap is completely different from printing flat surfaces as they need specially designed presses that are constructed curved, only for cap or hat printing. Heat pressing a cap is more complicated than others so this can be quite tough for starters. To make it easier for you I have created this absolute guide to heat pressing a cap. Given below are the step-by-step guidelines that you can follow if you want to learn the right way to heat press a cap.

Step 1

Get Your Accessories Ready

For heat pressing a cap, you’ll need some tools and accessories. Before starting any process, it’s important that you have all the necessary items ready so that you can do your work smoothly, without any confusion. Here is a list of all the important tools and accessories that are needed.

  • Hat or cap is the basic item. You can use a cotton hat. Trucker-style hats will work well. Just be careful not to melt the cap while heat pressing it. You can get one from any local store or online store.
  • Glitter or Flocked Heat Transfer Vinyl will just do great for cap printing. You can also use regular heat transfer vinyl, but the seams on the cap will be shown through and the end result won’t look as polished. As flocked or glitter HTV are thicker than the regular ones, they can cover the seams more precisely.
  • Heat Tape to keep the transfer steady during the process.
  • Thick fabric that is about a ¼ yard or you can use oven mitts instead of the fabric, to hold the hat while working.
  • Vinyl cutter for plotting and cutting the HTV.
  • Hat Heat Press machine that is good and powerful. The heat platen of the machine must have Teflon sheet attached to it.
  • Large rubber band for securing the brim.

Step 2: Work on the Design

Choose and Cut the Design

Now that you have assembled all the necessary items, you must proceed to the next step, which is choosing a design or logo that you wish to print on your cap.

You can put together a couple of distinctive designs. If you want you can choose one for the front, one for the back of the cap, and another for the bill. Use an image editing software to size and reverse the image. And then cut the heat transfer vinyl using the vinyl cutter.

Attach the Design

After cutting and weeding your designs, now start working on the front design. If you want it centered on the cap, fold the HTV design in half towards the non-sticky side and make a slight crease and then line it up along the center seam of the cap. One trick that you can use with HTV is to lay down a small sized Teflon sheet over the big gridded rotary cutting mat. you’ll be able to see the grid right through the sheet, and also the sticky HTV carrier won’t stick to the Teflon. With this method, folding the HTV becomes much easier.

Unlike the flat heat press, it’s not possible to work with the transfer and cap lay out on the platen itself because hat heat presses are curved. Also, as the cap is not flat, so the transfer vinyl may be displaced while heat pressing. Before putting the cap on your machine, you must fist attach the HTV to the cap. Use a heat tape to secure the transfer.  Heat Tape is best as you can use it to hold the things you are pressing, and it will leave no residue behind.

Step 3

Lay Out the Cap

Now that your cap is ready with the HTV, It’s time for you to place the cap in the heat press. Before that, adjust and set all the necessary functions such as temperature, timer and pressure settings of your heat press machine.

Place the cap on the heat press in such a way that the design is placed under the heat source. However, if you are using a flat press for printing your cap, grab the thick cloth or oven mitt and fold it over 3 to 4 times so the cloth becomes small enough to fit into your cap. The cloth will prevent your fingers from getting burnt through the cap while you press it against the heat platen. As you can’t close the heat press onto your cap, you’ll have to push your design manually using your hand as hard as you can against the heat platen of your machine.

Step 4

Heat Press the cap

Hold the cap against the hot plate for 5-7 seconds. If your design is big, press 5-7 seconds in each area of the transfer to make sure everything sticks. You can first start at the center of the design and work your way towards the edges. If you do this your design will adhere in the true center of the cap and won’t shift while heat pressing.

Step 5: Final Finishing

Peel off

Flocked heat transfer vinyl is a cold-peel material, so wait for it to cool down before you remove the clear transfer sheet. If you try to remove while it’s still hot, you’ll end up damaging the design. Peel it off slowly and gently. in case you notice anything that isn’t quite adhered, lay the clear transfer sheet back down and press it again.

Harden the Brim

Many people like to have their cap’s brim curved. Exposing it to the high temperature of the heat press will flatten it out no matter how hard you try. If you want a curved brim, just wrap a large rubber band around the brim as soon as you have finished pressing your cap. Does this while your cap and its brim is still warm. Leave the rubber band on until the brim has completely cooled.


If you are going to press multiple designs on a single cap, repeat the same process for the remaining designs. Heat pressing a cap may be more complicated than flat pressing garments, but if you follow the about guidelines, you’ll be able to do it perfectly.


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