5 Ways to Heat Print T-Shirts

5 Ways to Print T-Shirts with a Heat Press

Start your T-shirt business the right way ‒ with a heat press. Not only is it easy and inexpensive, but there are many decorating methods to choose from. STAHLS’ offers different ways to decorate T-shirts to serve as a foundation of your decorating inspiration. These range from hidden gems, like heat transferred emblems to industry staples. Here are 5 ways to print t-shirts:

  1. Screen Printed Transfers
  2. CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Vinyl
  3. Digital Transfers
  4. Emblems
  5. Pre-Cut Letters & Numbers


Screen Printed Transfers

You don’t need a screen print setup to get the quality and soft hand of a screen printed design. Using screen printed transfers lets you print shirts on-demand, allowing you flexibility with your inventory. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the mess. No need for emulsion. No need for ink or a squeegee. Just place and heat apply.

Screen printed transfers take the techniques and feel of screen printing and combine the ease and simplicity of heat printing. These transfers are made from screen printing designs onto a release paper, using the same plastisol or water-based inks common in screen printing.

Screen printed transfers have some major advantages. There’s no weeding and multi-color designs apply in the same time as single color designs. If stored in a climate controlled room, screen printed transfers can last for years. They’re great for on-demand printing, but their simplicity can be a real time-saver for bigger jobs as well. This is because the work of screen printing is already done for you. All you need to do is press it.

There are many options for art within screen printed transfers. From traditional one or two-color designs to full color digital screen printed transfers ‒ if you can design it, chances are it can be made into a screen printed transfer.

If you’re just getting started using screen printed transfers, the fastest and easiest transfer to apply is Goof Proof® from Transfer Express. It applies in just 4 seconds and is incredibly difficult to mess up. As you become more comfortable with screen printed transfers, experiment with other types for new decorating applications.

Shop Transfer Express

CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Materials

Heat transfer materials (which includes heat transfer vinyl) are the most versatile way to decorate a T-shirt. Whether you’re personalizing an existing garment on the fly or printing a new design from scratch, heat transfer materials are easy to work with.

The sheer adaptability of CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Materials means you have options when designing and printing. From tri-blends and performance tees to standard cotton tees, there is a heat transfer material to decorate any type of fabric.

The popular CAD-CUT® Fashion-FILM® is the best all-around material for T-shirts. Its lightweight and soft hand make it ideal for comfortable and fashionable tees, and its ease of cutting make it the best choice for fine-detailed designs. CAD-CUT® Fashion-FILM® is available in over 60 colors, and can apply to a variety of fabrics, including spandex.

If you want to add an extra flair to your garment, heat transfer vinyl makes it easy. With reflectives, foils, and glitter, you can highlight your design and make the garment stand out from the rest. Other great effect materials include glow-in-the-dark and the shimmering CAD-CUT® Hologram.

With such a wide array of options, it’s no wonder heat transfer materials are one of the most popular ways to print T-shirts. You can buy the material by the roll and cut out your designs as the demand for them arises, making personalizing and customizing client’s T-shirts simple.


Digital Transfers

Full color digital transfers offer the ability to decorate with detailed and ornate designs. Gradients, shading, and a huge color palette mean the only limitation is your imagination. Transfer Paper Experts makes achieving these elaborate looks simple.

All you need is a printer and you have access to an array of transfer papers. Each type of transfer paper has its own ideal use. For instance, InkTra® Opaque Stretch is a transfer paper for any color garment, with great stretch and rebound, and is to be used with inkjet printers. If you want an opaque transfer paper, but have a laser printer, you want to go with Opaque Print laser transfer paper.

No matter what color or fabric, Transfer Paper Experts offers printable transfer paper to make your full color digital art come to life. Their transfer papers work with any type of T-shirt. Get started printing colorful designs with digital transfer paper from Transfer Paper Experts.

Shop Transfer Paper Experts®


Standout from the crowd with heat-applied emblems from FlexStyle. These premium, highly detailed emblems raise the perceived value of any garment or item they are applied to. Emblems like these add color and dimension to apparel and will help you break into new markets.

Schools, organizations and clubs, corporations, and fashion boutiques – all are great markets for emblems. Coaches and players want to be true to their school with emblems that show off their team. Businesses and organizations can utilize emblems to promote their business or cause. And there’s nothing like an eye-catching emblem, full of color and detail, on a fashionable tee.

Offerings range from the detailed color and texture of FlexStyle Texture to the 3D bubble effect of FlexStyle DomeX. Whichever emblem style you choose, it is sure to elevate your T-shirt and command attention.

Shop FlexStyle by STAHLS’

Pre-Cut Letters & Numbers

Pre-Cut Letter & Number Transfers are durable and easy to apply. They are most frequently used to decorate players jerseys and uniforms, coming in a variety of styles and materials. They look great on T-shirts too, and are the perfect way to add on-demand personalization to Tees.

Say you’re at a basketball tournament, printing and selling shirts on-demand. You can use Pre-Cut Letters & Numbers to customize these shirts, so Mom and Dad can get their daughter’s name and number on their shirts. Charge a small amount to customize each shirt and the profits can really add up.

Another idea is to create a T-shirt with a print stylized like a sticker nametag. It could say “Hello my name is…” and the customer could have their name or nickname printed on the shirt as it’s ordered. Seeing their shirt be customized in front of them adds to the experience and the value of the shirt. Having this experience will link you with their shirt and will make your company memorable.

Pre-Cut Letters & Numbers come in many popular sizes and styles, so you can have a choice of look and feel for any T-shirt.

Shop Pre-Cuts

In an ever-changing industry, it’s important for your business to stay informed, get inspired, and experiment with new techniques. These 5 methods of printing T-shirts form the basis of using Heat Print Technology to grow your business. As a great visual reference, we created this infographic of the 5 Ways to Print T-Shirts. Save it, print it, and put it up in your shop!

Download the 5 Ways to Print T-Shirts Infographic:

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11 thoughts on “5 Ways to Print T-Shirts with a Heat Press”

  1. Hi Cedric,

    To order CAD-PRINTZ® full color digital transfers, select “Order Now” on the digital transfers page, log into your Stahls’ customer account, then select the fabric to which you’ll be applying your transfer, the type of media on which your transfer will be printed, and the size and quantity of transfers you’re ordering.

    At this point you will be prompted to upload your artwork and add the order to your account.

    For more information on the ordering process, visit our CAD-PRINTZ® Custom Digital Ordering page.

  2. Hi.I am interested in starting my T-shirt business in bulk(same colors and 1 design).My question is,what is the best simpler one to start with?Screen printing?Thanks.

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