How-to: Heat Press a 4-color Design with Rhinestones and Heat Transfer Vinyl

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Customers love options and customization. They love to be able to add all their favorite elements to a design. As a custom apparel business owner, that is great news for you! That means profit increase. The more effects, the more layers, the more options, the more your profit margin is going to increase.

However, that also means more work for you. Tons of our TRW Tutorials show you how easy it is to add creative effects and options to designs, and we also make templates that give you the option of just plugging in the text and send it to a cutter. (If you need a refresher, see this video.)

But when it comes to pressing a multi-decoration design, the process can seem a bit complicated. It’s really not.

I’ve broken down the process of heat pressing a 4-color design with rhinestones. I started with the TRW design template of a softball heart with glitter heat transfer vinyl on one layer, fluorescent yellow in the second, red strip flock on the third, and finish it with a crystal AB rhinestone outline, and the whole pressing process takes less than a minute to complete. (To get the vinyl and rhinestones I used, go here.)

The first press is the part of the design that is the furthest outside section. You can think of it as layers. The very last layer will be the rhinestones because they cause space between the heat platen and the material.

What makes the pressing technique different is we don’t go with the full recommended time and temperature for the vinyl. For instance, if the vinyl calls for 15 seconds at 305-degrees, we will break that down into steps and go with a slightly higher temperature and press for only 3 seconds. This break-down is to ensure the adhesion of the vinyl to the garment or material.

Take the next layer and repeat the step. Make sure you line the design with the vinyl by looking at your line spacing – make sure it’s all even. Press for 3-4 seconds and hot peel the backing. The last step in the video is the red strip flock. I line it up again, cover it with the protective sheet, and press using the total recommended time and temperature.

Finally, the rhinestones get lined up and pressed for the full 15 seconds. Just like that, you’ve made an awesome shirt with many options, and the opportunity to up-sale because of the multi-decoration aspect. You can choose your own types of vinyl effects and textures, let your customers customize it, or even omit certain layers for negative space. There are tons of options, it’s just up to you and your customers. Don’t forget to plug in the products and production time to the Advanced Pricing Calculator in the TRW Design Wizard to know how much you can charge for a design like this.

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About Author

"It's awesome!" Matt Vassallo is the owner and CEO of The Rhinestone World, building the company from an entrepreneurial vinyl and rhinestone decal business he and his wife started in their home. As a teacher, Matt understands and appreciates what it means to empower others by providing knowledge and education to succeed in this industry. And if you haven't noticed, he's kind of a sports buff.

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