There are two basic ways to make more money in business: Sell more of your wares to existing customers, or sell your existing wares to new customers. If you are a sign business doing most of your work with a plotter and adhesive backed vinyl, there’s an easy way to do both of these at once.
You can sell more of your wares to your existing sign customers and sell vector graphics to much larger market just by adding a heat press and some thermal transfer film. An investment of only $300 or more can turn your sign shop into a custom t-shirt shop. Hello, new customers! For those who are ready to take on extra business, try this basic thermal transfer primer.
Construction & Design Process
SignWarehouse offers over a dozen CAD cut thermal transfer films including EnduraTex HotMark 70, AllMark 2, Fashion, Galaxy, HotFlock, Siser Easy Weed and more. The featured film this week is AllMark 2. AllMark 2 is a soft matte finish polyurethane film especially designed for use on heat sensitive fabrics like nylon mesh and leather. It makes t-shirt graphics with a very soft hand. AllMark 2 is “marked” by a diamond pattern on the back of the release liner. When you load the media on your plotter, this diamond pattern should be facing downward. As with all CAD thermal graphics, when you cut the film, you are cutting the liner and not the face stock. Because of this, you’ll have to flip your design creating a mirror image of the intended graphic before you send it to the plotter.
Recommended Plotter Settings
Thermal transfer film is very thin so you don’t need a special blade or a lot of force. Like our best-selling HotMark 70, AllMark 2 is only 50 microns thick, which equates roughly to 2mil. Use a standard 45″ blade and set your plotter for about 75 grams of force or whatever setting you normally use for plotting cast vinyl.
Weed it, Flip It, Press it, Peel It
Once you’ve cut your graphic, weed it just as you would normal vinyl. Once it’s weeded, you’ll have the clear liner with the diamond pattern showing the graphic on the bottom. Place the weeded graphic on the garment on your heat press so that it is now “right reading”. If you’re still looking at a mirror version of the image, it’s upside down and will stick to the heat press instead of the shirt. Press AllMark 2 @ 270-300°F for 10-15 seconds and let it cool to room temperature before removing the liner.
What if your customer wants a multi-colored graphic requiring three colors? AllMark 2 can be layered as easily as vinyl. Just remember not to mix films when layering. Apply only AllMark 2 to AllMark 2. Mixing it with a different brand or type of film may result in layers delaminating when they’re laundered. To create a layered graphic, cut the bottom element and apply it to the garment as usual. Allow it to cool, then peel the liner and add the next layer as you did the first.
Click here for a downloadable step by step illustrated tutorial on how to use EnduraTex AllMark 2.