We offer heat transfer options for all kinds of people, from scrapbook and hobby enthusiasts to professional garment decorators. For the hobby user, we have a line of T-shirt vinyl suitable for applying with a household iron. We call it EnduraTex Iron On. Due to the popularity of Iron On, we recently expanded it to include some pre-printed patterns such as Pink Camo, Chevron and hounds tooth. But that’s not all the iron on options we have. Chemica QuickFlex can also be applied with an iron. We also offer three printable heat transfer films for hand iron application. These are EnduraTex DarkJET, and EnduraTex RGP inkjet papers, and Sawgrass ChromaBlast media. If you’re interested in creating your own iron on heat transfer appliqués and would like to explore all of the cuttable and printable iron on T-shirt vinyl options, read on.
Iron On T-shirt Vinyl for Vinyl Cutters
Chemica QuickFlex is a very soft, 3 mil Polyurethane (or “PU”) heat transfer film on a clear Polyester release liner. This T-shirt vinyl is made for professional use. It comes in 28 colors and is now available in economical 15″ x 5 yard rolls. Most customers apply it with a heat press, in which case it goes on in only five seconds.
QuickFlex is a cad-cuttable film, so you’ll need some kind of vinyl cutter. Anything from a Pro Series Graphtec down to a Silhouette or iCraft will work. Reverse the image before plotting and use a sharp, 45° blade. Weed the excess. Now you’re ready to iron it on to the garment.
QuickFlex Iron on Instructions: As is the case with all of these films, using a hand iron takes longer. To apply QuickFlex with your household iron, place your transfer on the garment and cover it with parchment paper, Kraft paper, a thin cotton scarf, or a cotton handkerchief. Pre-heat your iron to the cotton setting. Begin with light pressure and increase to firm pressure. Iron the entire area of the transfer for one and a half to two minutes. Peel the clear polyester liner warm or cold. Launder the garment inside-out in cold water.
EnduraTex Style is a pre-printed heat transfer film that comes in 48 varieties including camo, animal prints, chevrons, fabric, and more. It’s a thin, soft, 2.2 mil PU film on a clear Polyester liner. The EnduraTex Iron On Patterns come in 15″ x 5 foot or 15 foot rolls. EnduraTex Style comes in one and five yard rolls. It’s a cuttable heat transfer vinyl, so the basic design, cutting and weeding process is the same as that with Iron On or QuickFlex. Reverse the image, cut and weed it.
The enduraTex Style iron on instructions are also the same. Place your transfer on the garment and cover it with parchment paper, Kraft paper, a thin cotton scarf, or a cotton handkerchief. Pre-heat your iron to the cotton setting. Begin with light pressure to warm up the film’s adhesive, then increase to firm pressure to bind it to the fabric. Iron the entire area of the transfer for one and a half to two minutes. For best results, design a graphic smaller than the total area of the iron. Peel the clear polyester liner warm or cold. Launder the garment inside-out in cold water. (Fig 2?)
Iron On T-shirt Vinyl for Desktop Printers
EnduraTex RGP is a very soft, 3.5mil satin finish inkjet paper on a paper release liner. The liner has a printed red grid on the back. It comes in 8.5″ x 11″ and 11″ x 17″ sheets. EnduraTex RGP is suitable for use in all desktop inkjet printers using OEM water-based or aqueous inks. RGP is not an opaque paper, so it works best on white, pastel, or light gray apparel.
EnduraTEX RGP Process: Design your image and reverse it before printing. For best results, cut around the image with scissors or print it from LXI or FlexiSign software with registration marks. Then contour-cut it using a vinyl cutter equipped with a registration mark scanner. Most modern scrapbook or hobby cutters have this feature. If you don’t have a plotter with this capability, you may want to click here to review our Basic Guide to Choosing a Vinyl Cutter. After contour-cutting, weed away the excess film and place the transfer face down on garment (Fig1).
EnduraTEX RGP Iron on instructions: To apply EnduraTex RGP, leave your ironing board in the closet. Place the garment on a table or other hard surface. Place a layer of cloth between the hard surface and your garment. Pre-heat your iron to the cotton setting with no steam. Iron covering the entire area with firm pressure. If your image is larger than the iron, place the iron over each area for at least 45 – 60 seconds. Ironing a full sized 8.5″ x 11″ transfer will take about five minutes. Peel the liner immediately and stretch the shirt to fuse the ink into the fabric. This will reduce the likelihood of cracking in the future.
Care instructions: Allow the transfer to cure for at least 24 hours before the first wash. Launder inside-out in cold water. Do not use Bleach, fabric softener, or harsh detergents. Remove the garment from the washing machine as soon as possible after washing. Dry on normal temperature. Do not iron the appliqué.
EnduraTex DarkJET is a very soft, 5.5 mil matte white inkjet paper on a paper release liner with blue lines on the back. It comes in 8.5″ x 11″ and 11″ x 17″ sheets. DarkJET is suitable for use in all desktop inkjet printers using OEM water-based or aqueous inks. DarkJET is so named because it’s an opaque paper designed for application on colored and dark garments.
DarkJET Process: Design your image right reading. Send to your inkjet printer using the recommended print settings below. For professional looking decals, cut around the image with scissors or print it from LXI or FlexiSign software with registration marks and contour-cut it using a vinyl cutter equipped with a registration mark scanner. After contour-cutting, weed away the excess film. Mask it with Siser TTD Easy Mask or Unimask ATT500 heat transfer tape. Remove the blue-lined release liner (Fig 2). This is the most frequently forgotten step for first-time users. If you leave the release liner in place, the transfer won’t stick to the shirt. Place the masked transfer print side up on garment.
DarkJET Iron on instructions
1) lay a pillow case on a firm ironing surface.
2) Pre-heat your iron to the cotton setting and pre-iron the undecorated garment to remove moisture and wrinkles.
3) Cover the masked transfer with parchment paper or a Teflon sheet. Using firm, steady pressure, iron each area of the transfer for at least 20 seconds, making sure to lift the iron completely when moving (sliding it from one area to another may cause the transfer to shift on the shirt). Continue this process until you have completely ironed the transfer area. Be sure to cover all edges and corners. When we say ‘firm, steady pressure’ we mean, lots. The manufacturer recommends using two hands and all your upper body weight. If you apply any of these transfers the same way you iron your slacks or blouses, it won’t work.
4) Peel warm or cold. For warm peel, wait five seconds before removing the heat transfer tape. Peel it back along the surface at a 180° angle (not straight up at 90°), in a smooth, even motion. For cold peel, wait at least 2 minutes, then remove transfer tape, as directed above, with a smooth even motion. Removing the heat transfer tape may weaken the fresh bond between the film and fabric. I generally recover it with parchment paper or a Teflon sheet and re-press it for a few seconds to seal the deal.
Care instructions: Allow the transfer to cure for at least 24 hours before the first wash. Launder inside-out in cold water. Do not use Bleach or bleach alternative detergents. Remove the garment from the washing machine as soon as possible after washing (Leaving it in the washer may cause color to bleed from the transfer). Dry on low temperature. Do not iron the appliqué.
ChromaBlast is Sawgrass Technologies’ sublimation alternative for cotton decoration. ChromaBlast ink and paper work together to produce very soft, vivid transfers on cotton. Of the printable iron on options presented here, it’s the softest because only the ink itself is applied to the fabric. It is the most expensive in terms of equipment cost because it can only be used in specific printers for which Sawgrass drivers are available. Those however, start at only $550 for a complete system including printer, ink, paper, and software. So it’s still quite affordable. ChromaBlast paper comes in in packs of 100 8.5″ x 11″ and 11″ x 17″ sheets. ChromaBlast ink & media can only be used on white or pastel cotton apparel. The ChromaBlast chemistry works best on 100% cotton, so blended garments aren’t ideal. But ChromaBlast ink is also compatible with EnduraTex DarkJet paper. So if you need to decorate dark or blended garments, you can load some DarkJET paper into your RICOH or Sawgrass Virtuoso printer and print on DarkJET with ChromaBlast ink. Then contour-cut and apply as directed above.
ChromaBlast Process: For application on white cotton, design your image in Sawgrass Creative Studio or other graphic design software. The ChromaBlast Powerdriver will reverse the image. Print on your ChromaBlast paper. ChromaBlast is a self-weeding transfer paper, so contour-cutting is not required. However, there is a slightly tangible yellowish residue that transfers from un-printed areas of the paper to the garment. Some users opt to trim away un-printed areas of the paper to reduce this residue transfer.
ChromaBlast Iron on Instructions:
1) Pre-heat the iron to Linen or highest temperature setting.
2) Place the garment, face-up, on the protected work surface and smooth out any folds and wrinkles.
3) Use a lint brush or roller to remove any dust from the garment
4) Pre-iron the garment to remove any wrinkles
5) Place the transfer print on the garment, image side down, and cover with a Teflon sheet or clean absorbent paper to protect the garment.
6) Press with the iron to transfer, using firm and heavy pressure. Press small areas at a time for 30-40 seconds using a circular motion. Ensure that all areas of the transfer are pressed (Fig 3). Finish by going over the entire transfer and edges for an additional 10 seconds prior to removal of the transfer.
7) Peel the transfer off quickly and smoothly in one even motion while the garment is still hot (cold peel transfer removal is not recommended). Stretch the garment to soften the transfer and make it more elastic.
Care instructions: Launder inside-out in cold water. Do not use Bleach or bleach alternative detergents.
So now you have a full set of options for creating decorated garments with your plotter, printer and household iron. You can use the array of colors and patterns in EnduraTex Iron On, EnduraTex Style, or Chemica QuickFlex to make unique graphic Tees, or use your graphic design skill to create beautiful, full color transfers with your desktop inkjet printer and some EnduraTex DarkJET or RGP inkjet paper. Or start with a bare bones Sawgrass Virtuoso ChromaBlast package and create some cool cotton shirts. All of these can be applied with your home iron, but that ironing must be done with firm pressure. You may wind up with some pretty well-toned arms. If you want something easier and faster, step up to a starter heat press. An EnduraPRESS SA12 can be yours for under $300.00. In the meantime, get some cuttable or printable Iron On film, warm up that Sunbeam and get creative.