Baptism by Fire (or at Least by Heat)

This summer, Stahls’ ID Direct™ has implemented its first internship program, with 10 college students gaining real-world experience in the heat printing industry. This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts by our interns, discussing their experiences.

by Kaitlyn S., Marketing Intern

Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! It’s off to heat press we go!

Have you ever heat applied over 1,300 shirts in 9 hours? Well, recently, 10 lucky interns (myself included) got to do just that. And guess what? We finished them all. This is a remarkable feat only because none of the interns (myself excluded) had any prior experience with heat presses. You learn pretty quickly when you have so many shirts to do. I won’t lie; it was chaotic, but sometimes that is the best environment in which to learn. Here are just a few things we learned from the experience:

1. Don’t wear a sweater when working with a clamshell heat press. Or a shirt that will show sweat stains easily. I think we all learned this one the hard way.
2. The need for even pressure isn’t a myth, especially with screen printed transfers. You need it if you don’t want the transfer to peel off, and, yes, that means you have to make sure the collar is off of the platen. Thankfully it only took one ruined shirt to realize what we were doing wrong.

1, 2, 3, 29, 68… Shoot! 1, 2, 3….

3. Organization is helpful. If you have to press and count so many shirts, find a system that works for you. We had six people heat-pressing (three doing fronts, three doing backs) while the other four counted shirts and packed them up. If you don’t have some sort of organization, you’ll find yourself asking “Wait, did I put 63 mediums in that box?”

4. Double-check everything. Somehow, you always count 10 the first time and 11 the next time. If you have an efficient system running, everything is typically checked more than once.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes you have to heat press the design on the wrong side once, just to make sure that you’re extra careful for the rest of the shirts.


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