Heat Press Temperature Chart and Time Guide for Beginners

Heat presses are amazing tools that allow you to stamp a surface of your choice with any graphical designs through heat transfer. They are the most popular method for creating clothing or banners with customized designs and patterns.

While using a heat press may look really easy when a professional is doing it, there are tons of things that can go wrong during the process. So, to help you with your heat pressing projects, we are giving you this comprehensive heat press temperature chart and time guide for beginners.

Heat Press Process

Heat presses work with different heat transfer materials, such as heat transfer vinyl, inkjet transfer paper, plastisol transfer paper, laser transfer paper etc.

The process depends on these factors –

  • Temperature level
  • Time pressed
  • Peeling temperature

Temperature and Time Guide for Different Materials

Different materials require different treatment with a heat press. Here are the basic guidelines you should follow –

Cotton

Cotton is a resilient fabric that is much more tolerant of heat than most other fabrics. It is widely used in men’s clothing, without any blends.

  • Temperature - 380º F or 193º C
  • Time – 15 seconds
  • Peel – while the heat transfer is hot

Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic material that belongs in the plastic family with polythene and polypropylene. It is not very heat resistant, and therefore must the treated with care. Polyester is easily one of the most common materials used for clothing.

  • Temperature - 270º F or 132º C
  • Time – 10 seconds
  • Peel – while hot

Denim

Denim is another durable material, similar to cotton. The heat and time required for denim are the same as cotton, though it may vary based on special circumstances.

  • Temperature - 380º F or 193º C
  • Time – 15 seconds
  • Peel – while hot

Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl is one of the most economical materials you can use for printing with your heat press. Vinyl isn’t as durable as cotton, or as sensitive as polyester. It is the best material for beginners to get started.

It comes in many different types, and the treatment for them vary. Here are the most common types of heat transfer vinyl and their required heat press techniques.

  • Matte
  • Temperature - 285º to 315º F; or 140º to 157º C
  • Time – 3 to 12 seconds
  • Peel – can be peeled while hot or cold
  • Glitter
  • Temperature - 315º to 350º F; or 157º to 177º C
  • Time – 12 to 15 seconds
  • Peel – can be peeled while hot or cold
  • Holographic
  • Temperature - 305º to 315º F; or 152º to 157º C
  • Time – 10 to 15 seconds
  • Peel – only when cold
  • Stretchable
  • This material is used for fabrics that are meant to stretch, such as athletic wear, swimwear, yoga and gym clothing etc. The design can stretch with the fabric as needed.
  • Temperature – 335º F or 168º C
  • Time – 10 to 12 seconds
  • Peel – only when cold
  • Flock
  • This is a really soft material with a cushioned feel. It also raises above the fabric a bit, and may look like embroidery.
  • Temperature – 320º F or 160º C
  • Time – 15 to 20 seconds
  • Peel – only when completely cold
  • Metallic
  • Temperature - 285º to 315º F; or 140º to 157º C
  • Time – 10 to 15 seconds
  • Peel – only when cold

Vintage

To give your design an aged and rustic look, which is also known as vintage, follow this technique -

  • Temperature - 350º F or 177º C
  • Time – 10 to 12 seconds
  • Peel – only while hot

Full Color Print

If you want your design imprint to show off the vivid colors you’ve used to their brightest, you need to use this method -

  • Temperature - 350º F or 177º C
  • Time –12 seconds
  • Peel – only while hot

Reflective Surfaces

You may require your design to be printed on surfaces that have reflective qualities for various purposes. This is common for safety gears that can be detected in dark places. Use firm pressure for this method/

  • Temperature - 305º F or 152º C
  • Time – 15 seconds
  • Peel – while hot

Digitally Printed Transfer Paper

If you have customized your own design and digitally printed it on a transfer paper to imprint on your clothing, you will be required to have some finesse. This process can go wrong easily, so follow this method -

  • Temperature - 305º F or 152º C
  • Time – 5 seconds
  • Peel – only while hot

Multi-Purpose Material

  • Temperature - 350º F or 177º C
  • Time – 10 to 12 seconds
  • Peel – while hot or cold

Image Printing on Light Colored Fabric

To transfer an image or a photo on a light surface, you need to understand that light garment takes in less heat than darker ones. So, you will need to apply high heat and give it more time. Also remember to apply high pressure.

  • Temperature - 385º F or 196º C
  • Time – 25 to 30 seconds
  • Peel – only while hot

Image Printing on Dark Colored Fabric

Darker colored fabrics absorb heat much faster. So, you will need to apply lower heat for a less amount of time. However, compared to other surfaces, this is still a lot. Again, apply firm pressure.

  • Temperature - 365º F or 185º C
  • Time – 25 seconds
  • Peel – only while hot

Glow in the Dark Designs

When working with glow in the dark designs, you might require special types of transfer paper. The transfer process is as follows -

  • Temperature - 350º F or 177º C
  • Time – 10 to 12 seconds
  • Peel – while hot

If Material Is Not Taking Transfer

Many fabrics can be quite stubborn and may not want to take the transfer with traditional methods. This might happen to you, too. When that happens, use this technique -

  • Temperature - 330º F; or 165º-166º C
  • Time – 15 seconds
  • Peel – while hot

Conclusion

With this, we conclude our heat press temperature chart and time guide for beginners.All of this information can look quite daunting if you are just starting out with a heat press. However, you won’t need to follow every method described here.

Pick the method for the material and the fabric you are working with, and you will have excellent results. Now, get crafty with your heat press and make imprint design of your choice on clothes.

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