Other Heat Transfer Applications for T-shirt Vinyl

Blog_HTF_header_300x231The heat transfer films we sell for garment decoration are commonly referred to as “T-Shirt Vinyl”. That term is misleading for two reasons. First, most of it isn’t actually vinyl, but Polyurethane (vinyl is normally made from PVC). More importantly, it’s not just for T-shirts. You can use heat transfer film to decorate a lot of things other than cotton and polyester tops. Why limit yourself or your customers? If you’re decorating shirts, you have the means to decorate lots of other things too. You can outfit your customer from head to toe, from his cap to his Converse tennis shoes. Put a custom koozie in his hand and he’s ready for a day at the ball park. His Significant Other may also want a custom scarf or handbag. Selling new items to customers you’ve already won is the fastest way to build your bottom line. Here are a few ideas to get you beyond “T shirt vinyl” and expand your profitable heat transfer product line.

Caps & Shoes

Fig 1: Converse high tops look great with custom heat transfer graphics.

Fig 1: Converse high tops look great with custom heat transfer graphics.

You can cover your customers from head to toe in custom apparel. Caps of course, are easy to decorate provided you have the right press. You can used a dedicated cap press such as a Geo Knight DK7 or Stahls Maxx Cap press for around $600.00 Or, if you already have a Geo Knight Digital Combo convertible heat press, the cap attachment can be added for only $275.00. Most caps today are decorated with embroidery, which feels more substantial than standard heat transfer film. You can get a similar effect from flock and give your cap a velvety texture that will please your customers. Either EnduraTex HotFlock or Siser StripFlock will do.

Continuing with the head-to-toe theme, let’s talk shoes. Not Florsheims of course. But the Converse Chuck Taylor high tops originally made popular by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are back in style, now in funky colors. They look even cooler with custom heat applied decals -or nerdier if that’s the look you’re after. What film to use? Any good quality PU film will work. EnduraTex Resolve Plus, or HotMark, Siser EasyWeed, or Chemica QuickFlex will look stunning on those sneakers. The challenge here is not the film, but the press. You can’t really put one in the middle of a clam shell press. But the afore-mentioned cap press or cap attachment will work. If you really want the custom app, Stahl’s offers an optional shoe platen that works with the Maxx clam or Fusion heat presses for only $225.00.

Bags & Scarves

Fig 2: "T-shirt Vinyl" also looks great on scarves.

Fig 2: “T-shirt Vinyl” also looks great on scarves.

Ladies’ fashion accessories present equally attractive but less demanding options for heat transfer decoration. Many of these, like tote bags and scarves, are made of familiar textiles like cotton and polyester. Scarves made of delicate fabrics like silk may require a low temperature film like AllMark or Easy Weed Extra.
These films will also be ideal for decorating nylon jackets, umbrellas and tote bags. For lightweight canvas tote bags, your favorite T-shirt transfer film should work. For application on heavily textured canvas products, you may need to switch to EnduraTex SunMark, which is especially made for canvas and awnings. Marketing these to your regular league jersey customers may require a little creativity. You might consider placing a mannequin in your lobby outfitted head to toe with various decorated garments and accessories.

Ad Specialties & Promotional Items

Now that we have a full line of fashion accessories for Mr. and Mrs. Ball Park, we need to equip them with some Super Fan gear to make everyone else green with envy. How about some team logo koozies to keep their beverages cool through the seventh inning stretch? Can this too be done with “T-shirt vinyl”? You bet your beer gut. Chemica product specialist Michael Wade says most koozies can be decorated with standard heat transfer films like QuickFlex and HotMark. Even an ultrametallic film like Bling would work. Wouldn’t that make them the envy of the owner’s box?
But if it’s polypropylene, you should consider a low temperature film like AllMark. Start at 280° with medium pressure and test to find the best settings for your particular item. Whatever film you choose, Wade says be sure to use a Teflon sheet.
In addition to koozies, you can use heat transfer film to customize things you would normally associate with other digital decoration techniques like vinyl and sublimation. Did you know you can put QuickFlex on a license plate blank? Ever thought about putting a glitter heat transfer film on a mouse pad? As they way, the only limitation is your imagination.

All of these cool heat transfer products can be sold to your existing customers, some at prices much higher than a standard team jersey or graphic Tee. Of course, the price will depend in part on the quantities ordered. Scarves and sneakers are more of a custom item, so they should be priced accordingly. These may be easier to sell if you have a few on display in your shop.
Koozies and similar items are more suited for large orders for promotional use by teams or businesses. Since they’re often found at the ball park or sports arena, perhaps you could suggest a set to go with your next team jersey order. “Would you like to super-size that with a side order of custom koozies or tote bags?”