When we use the term heat press, we are describing a machine that has a platen which gets super hot. This machine has several controls such as temperature, pressure, and time. These controls are needed, because in order to properly apply a material onto a garment you need to make sure they are set correctly. Basically, this machine is like a large iron that gets very hot (400 degrees Fahrenheit) and has a large surface area. A large surface area is needed since it will be needed to print on shirts that range in size from small to six XL. Most often times, the material that is used with a heat press is vinyl. Vinyl is made of a similar material to PVC pipe, but apparel vinyl is very flexible. In addition, apparel vinyl is designed to act as an adhesive at very hot temperatures. This way, when it’s placed on apparel, it literally melts onto it. We happen to use ours for Screen Printing purposes and do not use it to heat press vinyl. Pictured below is a heat press machine that we have here in our shop:
A heat press machine and vinyl are most used when customizing jerseys or doing one off garments. The reason is that there is basically no setup time, so for orders of less then 12 it is most affordable and time efficient to heat press.
While the low set up time is a plus the think plastic that has been stuck to the shirt often is uncomfortable is often removable and has an unpleasant feeling. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that for most orders larger then 24 and in multiple colors, screen printing is definitely cheaper.
Screen printing is a much more difficult task then printing with vinyl. The reason is because there are so many more things that go into screen printing a shirt. For example, you have to prepare screens, burn films, align screens, apply ink onto the screens, and then do a test print. Then, after what could easily take an hour worths of setup time, it’ll be time to print. Yet, despite all the possible headaches, screen printed apparel is a far more desired style of print then heat press. As a matter of fact, it’s the most preferred method of printing in existence.
A major difference between screen printing and heat press is that with screen printing it is possible to print gradients. Furthermore, with screen printing, it’s possible to print things that look realistic. For example, pictures of people, places, and things are a breeze to screen print. Screen printing is more expensive for small orders, but much more affordable for larger orders in excess of 15 (depending on design). The reason is because of the setup costs which are the same regardless if your printing 1 or 3000 shirts. Though we here at Rhodes Printing do not charge Setup Fees it is still much cheaper the more you get.
Now that you know some basic differences between Vinyl and Screen printing, we choose to not sell vinyl. We see as a lower form of printing and no not wish to sell a lower quality product to you, our customers. We’ve even come across screen printable transfers that work like vinyl but have the quality of screen printing so that we can sell you even higher quality jerseys. If you enter our store not only will you not see any sort of vinyl printed garment, you will never see them. We have made our stance against vinyl and choose to never print heat pressed vinyl. When you get shirts from us you can always expect the high quality we have become known for, and will always give you that same quality! If you don’t know that much about us or heard about us from a friend be sure to visit us at our 2 locations, Tahlequah and Coweta, and visit our website crispyprint.com to see what we do and what we are about!