Home Forums T shirt printing Heat transfers or Vinyl printing?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Mike 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • Mike
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    I want to get things right before I start spending money on setting up my t shirt business on ebay! I want to make sure that I pick the right method and equipment for printing and that I do not waste my money!
    What method of printing should I start off with? I have done loads of research on all the different methods you can do to print on to t shirts and by the looks of things it would seem the easiest and most profitable ways to print  are either vinyl or heat transfer printing but I do not know which to go for? (I don’t have a big budget)

    At the moment I am thinking about going for heat transfer printing rather than vinyl printing because by the looks of the prints I have seen done buy using image clip self weeding transfer paper look pretty good and almost as good as screen prints.. almost and apparently the prints will even look good after 20 washes so they are long lasting! Another reason why I am swaying towards using heat transfers is that unlike vinyl prints that are just limited to one color and stencil designs with heat transfers you can actually print pictures onto your t shirts! HOWEVER it seems heat transfer are expensive to do and decent equipment needed to do them is also expensive! It apparently costs £1.4 per sheet of image clip self weeding transfer paper if you buy in bulk and because you use them up after each print you do this will certainly eat into my profit margins quite a bit. The equipment I will have to buy for heat transfer isn’t cheap either whilst what ever printing technique I choose I am going to have to buy a good heat presses it is very important according to some sources to buy the very best heat press possible when doing heat transfers because if the heat and pressure is just slightly off on the heat press the transfer sheets will just not work properly and will just create a faded and cracked design! This means that I am going to have to spend £1200 on a good heat press. OUCH! Not only am I going to spend all that dosh on a heat press I am going to also have to empty my pockets on a good printer to! It is so important to buy a good printer, on all the heat transfer printing tutorials I have watched online everyone stresses this! I could go for a cheap £100 epson inkjet printer and use pigment ink to print onto my heat transfers however apparently this isn’t a good idea… as even though the prints will look great on the t shirts the prints will simply fade and crack very quickly.. also with inkjet printers you cannot get self weeding transfer paper…self weeding transfer paper stops you from having a white emulsion print behind your designs when you print them on to t shirts, this all means that I am going to have to splash out on a OKI laser printer instead. I can pick up a standard oki A3 laser printer for £800 however for £2000 I can buy a white toner OKI A4 printer and due to the fact that this printer has a white toner cartridge inside it makes printing onto black and colored t shirts with white in the design possible!
    With standard laser printers printing onto self weeding heat transfer paper wherever there is a white bit on the design the printer will just ignore that part of the print and nothing gets printed onto the heat transfer paper there… and so nothing gets printed onto your t shirt when you heat press the transfer on, instead the color of you t shirt is used instead this is good if you are using plain white t shirts to print on but if you are using black or colored t shirts the that color will show up instead of the white on your design. OKI white toner printers will instead print these white sections using white toner instead so that you can have white on your black and colored t shirts also normally with heat transfer some of the color of the t shirt may come through the heat transfer print because of the slight transparency of the inks used but with white toner you can enhance the opaqueness of you prints as the printer can print a white base color first and then print your other colors on top of this white base. With side by side comparisons of t shirts printed with a white toner base and prints that do not use white toner the difference is huge! BUT it is a huge gamble to spend so much money on a white toner printer… even before I have even started making any money in the t shirt game! I also have to remember that I will only be able to print a4 prints instead of a3 prints, are a3 prints too small? I could buy the a3 oki white tone printer but that thing would bankrupt me as it costs £5000!

    Or I could just go with vinyl printing. It is a method that is being used by the top sellers on ebay for custom t shirts. Even though you can only really offer text only prints people are buying quite a lot (on average 5 a day) from these ebay top sellers! All you need as I understand it to get started vinyl cutting are your t shirts, some rolls of vinyl, a vinyl cutter and a heat press and because vinyl isnt that expensive and you aren’t spending money on expensive heat transfer sheets each time you print you will make a bigger profit… BUT the quality just isn’t there and it just seems a very limited method of printing.

    Im really stuck??? any help on making me decide what to do would be fantastic! Thanks guys!

    Mike
    Member

    I really cannot fault any of the research you have done so far but what I will say based on my own experience if I was you I would go into vinyl printing to cut costs as much as possible and to increase your profits on ebay because you will not get that many sales on ebay and it will take a long time for you to just get back all the money you invested in your equipment! Ebay is a zero sum game, the only people who make a decent profit and not peanuts are ebay themselves with their extortionate ebay and payapl fees (ebay owns paypal). If you choose to sell your t shirts on ebay you have to realize that for things like “custom t shirts” you will be battling against over 380 000 other listings so it is highly competitive and it is easy for you to not make any sales at all!

    BUT if you are think outside the box and want to do something more than working as a slave on ebay you should go for heat transfers as the prints you can do with that are limitless and the next best thing to screen printing and dtg prints.

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