Time, temperature, and pressure are keys to successful heat printing. While these factors are important, there is one more thing to consider, whether or not to use a cover sheet. There are three reasons to use a cover sheet:
- It protects the garment.
- It protects heat press platens.
- It affects the finish of the heat transfer vinyl.
When considering a cover sheet, you will typically find two main types: non-stick and kraft paper. This brings about another question: is there a difference? And the answer is: yes.
Kraft Paper Cover Sheets are for short-term use. They help reduce the build-up of static electricity and leave a matte finish on the heat transfer vinyl being applied. Of the different cover sheets, kraft paper cover sheets are the least expensive option.
6 mil Heat Press Cover Sheets are a non-stick option that is available in sheets or by the yard. These cover sheets protect the upper platen from ink transfer and leaves a smooth, semi-gloss finish on heat transfer vinyl. The added bonus of the 6 mil Heat Press Cover Sheets is that they can be reused. Depending on how much they are used, they can last up to several months; simply clean the residue from the sheet with a damp cloth.
While the kraft paper and non-stick cover sheets protect the platens on a heat press, they offer the least amount of protection to the garment. If you press heat sensitive items, you may want to consider using a Flexible Application Pad.
The Flexible Application Pad is a thin silicone pad ideal for heat printing items that can scorch easily, like performance wear. It creates a strong bond between the heat transfer material and the fabric. Not only does it protect the garment, but the Flexible Application Pad also protects other elements that can sometimes be forgotten, the buttons and zippers.
If the heat transfer vinyl you’re applying has a carrier, you don’t necessarily need to use a cover sheet. However, if you are layering a design with different heat transfer vinyl, definitely use a cover sheet. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to clean the upper platen of your heat press. Which is fun for absolutely no one.
Get into the habit of using a cover sheet with every application. This way you won’t have to worry about making sure your heat press and garment are protected – it’ll always be the case.