Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Iron, Hobby Heat Press, or Professional Press?

    Iron-or-Press Is an iron sufficient or should I buy a transfer press? And if I buy one, which one? If you're getting into textile printing there is no way around those questions.

    But the real question you should be asking is: do I want to make garments for myself, my family and friends OR do I want to to sell them and earn money?

     

    Iron
    Heat plate:

    Width: ca. 12cm Depth: ca. 23 cm

    Weight: depends on manufacturer

    Temperature: 1 point: ca. 110 °C 2 points: ca. 150 °C 3 points: ca. 220 °C
    Advantages: A big advantage for the iron: it's common in almost every household. It's handy, light-weight and easy to store.
    Disadvantages: The structure of the heat plate is a big disadvantage. Most irons are steam irons which means that the heat plate has steam holes which render an even distribution of pressure almost impossible. Also the heat can not be set exactly or distributed evenly. However an even distribution of heat is just as important for textile printing as an even distribution of pressure. The pressure distribution can vary for large designs because the iron has to be set several times. The handle of the iron is the only point where you can safely apply pressure. This might work well for a couple of prints but becomes very uncomfortable for your hands and wrists after some time. A hard and steady suface is necessary for getting the perfect print. You should never print/transfer on a soft or shaky surface such as an ironing board. The floor or a solid table work better if covered by a towel.
    HappyPress 2.0
    happypress_2 Heat plate:

    Width: 30 cm Depth: 21 cm

    Weight: ca. 11 kg

    Temperature:

    700 Watt/230 V

    Measurements Press ca.: Length: ca. 35 cm Width: 36 cm Height: 20 cm (closed); Measurements Control Panel: Length: 20 cm Width: 15 cm Height: 7 cm

    Advantage: The weight of the heat plate guarantees an even pressure distribution where you don't have to add your own weight. This makes it easier to print garments quickly and professionally. The silicone pad on the bottom plate gives in slightly to make pressure distribution more even. The massive quality heat plate guarantees an even temperature. The electronics are outsourced to the control panel, giving them extra protection from the heat. The HappyPress opens in almost a 90° angle. This gives you a good view on your working area and makes placing textiles and transfers easy and safe. Furniture-protecting rubber feet make it steady: no-slip, no scratches. The HappyPress 2.0 is the heat transfer press for all hobby crafters. Designs that are larger than the working area can easily printed by shifting the textile. The small build and weight make the HappyPress 2.0 a space-saving solution for every household and it is easily stored away.
    Disadvantages: The HappyPress 2.0 is a hobby- transfer press. Thus it is not suited for printing textile for resale.
    HappyPress 3
    happypress-3_pink_1 Heat plate:

    Width: 30 cm Depth: 23 cm

    Weight: ca. 14,5 kg

    Temperature:

    700 Watt/230 V

    Measurements ca.: Length: 45 cm Width: 32 cm Height: 30 cm (closed)

    Advantages: The time can be set in seconds and an alert sounds when printing is completed. The pressure can be adjusted via a knob, as can the temperature. The even pressure distribution makes for an quick and professional print of all your transfers. The silicone pad on the bottom plate facilitates an even pressure distribution. The HappyPress 3 is the heat transfer press for all hobby crafters who regularly decorate textiles. With the adjustable timer and pressure it lines up between the HappyPress 2.0 and the HappyPress Pro.Its size makes it the perfect tool for ambitious hobby printers while also offering reliable services for professionals needing mobility in small areas.
    Disadvantages: At 14 kg the HappyPress 3 is not a light weight and might be to heavy for some users if the press does not have a fixed place.
     HappyPress Pro
    Bild1 Heat plate depending on execution Width: 28 cm Depth: 38 cm OR Width: 38 cm Depth: 38 cmWeight: ca. 26 kg Temperature:

    1000 Watt/230 V Measurements ca.:

    Length: 40 cm Width: 66 cm Height: 43 cm (closed)

    Advantages: Perfect if you regularly want to print textiles in larger quantities. The HappyPress Pro is available in two sizes. The larger working area means you can print lager designs in a single step. The HappyPress Pro also comes with a a timer and an alert sound that lets you time your printing process perfectly. The time is reset after each printing process which allows you to automate working steps and execute them quickly.
    Disadvantages: The professional transfer press needs some space and also it doesn't come quite cheap. If you are not looking to sell your textiles, a hobby heat press might be sufficient for your needs.
  • Silhouette Cutter - Portrait vs. Cameo

    cameo-or-portrait

    Sometimes in life you are spoilt for choice. If you are new to cutting machines you might feel the same way. When you're trying to figure out which Silhouette cutter best suits your needs have a look at our comparison for Silhouette Portrait and Silhouette Cameo. For our textile vinyls we're mostly using the Silhouette Portrait. But if you know that you will also work with paper and cardboard, maybe cut boxes and similar stuff, we recommend the Silhouette Cameo with its bigger cutting area. Every Silhouette cutter comes with the Studio software, a cutting mat, cables and a blade set.

     

    Silhouette PORTRAIT Silhouette CAMEO
    silhouette_portrait silhouette_cameo
    Max. Cutting Width 20,30 cm x 30,48 cm, (with cutting mat 8" x 12") 20,30 cm x 3,0 m for rolls 30,48 cm x 30,48 cm, (with cutting mat 12" x 12") 60,96 cm x 30,48 cm, (with cutting mat 24" x 12") 29,5 cm x 3,0 m for rolls
    Engine stepping motor stepping motor
    Speed up to 10 cm/s, can be set in software up to 10 cm/s, can be set in software
    Max. Pressure 210g 210g
    Max. Thickness 0,8mm 0,8mm
    cuts textile vinyls flex and flock vinyls cardboard/card stock photo cardboard regular copy paper stencil materials thin fabrics and many more textile vinyls flex and flock vinyls cardboard/card stock photo cardboard regular copy paper stencil materials thin fabrics and many more
    Max. Material Width 27 cm 34 cm
    Ports USB High-Speed 2.0 USB High-Speed 2.0
    enthaltenes Zubehör blade set cutting mat 8 x 12 inch, (20,3 x 30,48 cm) 1-month basic subscription for designs form the Silhouette store USB cable medium with design software medium with product video 50 exclusive designs (download) English instruction manual (plus extensive help section in the software) mains adapter and power cable blade set cutting mat 8 x 12 inch, (20,3 x 30,48 cm) 1-month basic subscription for designs form the Silhouette store USB cable medium with design software medium with product video 50 exclusive designs (download) English instruction manual (plus extensive help section in the software) mains adapter and power cable
    Control Panel buttons touchscreen
    USB port yes yes
    Registration Mark Sensor yes yes
    Software Included yes yes
    Operating System Windows XP® or highter, Mac® OSX Windows XP® or higher, Mac® OSX
    Compatibility optionally available with software plug-in: Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW® optionally available with software plug-in: Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW®
    Measurements 41,3 x 14,2 x 11,4 cm (W x D x H) 53,1 cm x 16,5 cm x 12,7 cm (W x D x H)
    Weight 2,6 kg 2,95 kg
    Warranty legal two year warranty legal two year warranty
  • Getting Started with Textile Printing

    BlogHeaderGettingStarted

    Welcome to the world of textile printing! We want to use this post to give you an overview over how easy it is to indiviudalise clothes, bags, cushions and more with textile vinyls. Basically all you need are three things – vinyls, something for cutting, and a heat press or an iron – and you'll be done in three steps: Draw you design on the vinyl, cut it out, and apply it to the garment using heat and pressure. Quite simple, right? Well this might have been a bit fast so we're going to explain everything step by step.

    Introduction: The Vinyl

    Let's start by getting to know our vinyl. All vinyls have the same basic three-layer-structure. The middle layer is the vinyl that you're going to see later, for example on your t-shirt. The bottom layer is a heat-activated glue (hotmelt). It liquifies when sufficient heat is applied with a heat press or an iron. Because of the pressure the hotmelt will glue the vinyl and the fabric permanently together so it can resist washing and other demanding treatments.

    The top layer is the so-called carrier which is transparent. Sometimes the this carrier also has a thin layer of adhesive (which would be a fourth layer). The sticky carrier is helpful because if parts of the vinyl get loosened by accident they can be reapplied. Great for beginners but also if you want to cut extremely detailed designs. If you buy your vinyls at our shop, the carrier side is also designated by a small sticker that can remind you which type of vinyl you're holding.

    Vinyls come in many different thicknesses, colours, patterns, with glitter and metallic effects and for different fabrics.

    • Visit this page to get an overview over all our vinyls and their characteristics.
    • Visit our shop to buy our HappyFlex, HappyFlock, HappyGlitter, HappyFashion or one of the many other great vinyls.

     

    1. Step: Designing

    If you're good at drawing and/or only want to print simple designs like a heart, letters or numbers, you can draw your design directly on the vinyl. If your drawing on the glue side make sure to mirror your design, so it can be applied to the fabric the right way.

    If you're going for a more intricate design, it can be worth investing in a cutter. Models for hobby (like the Silhouette Portrait or Cameo) almost look like home printers. But they have a blade instead of a print head which they tag across the vinyl to cut it. A cutter usually comes with a design software.

    We created another blog entry with a basic explanation of how to create design with the Studio software by Silhouette.

    Alternatively you can have a look at our download area where you will find dozens of cuttable files ready for your projects.

    2. Step: Cutting

    If you've drawn directly on the vinyl, you can use scissors for cutting. Just follow the lines ;)

    Alternatively you have to tell the cutter where exactly it is supposed to cut using the software. You set cutting lines and send the design to the cutter.

    Well, okay, it's not quite that easy. You will also need to adjust some settings in the software and on the cutter, so the machine will know which type of vinyl it is cutting and how it should cut. You will also have to decide whether you will use a cutting mat or not. Also make sure to load the vinyl into the cutter with the glue side facing up and the carrier facing down. You can find the settings for all our vinyls in one handy pdf file.

    2.1 Weeding

    Once the cutter has done its duty you will note that the vinyl doesn't look that much different from before. Just some thin cutting lines. You will now have to weed the design. That means taking away all the parts that you don't want to have on the garment. This is very easy when you use a weeder, a tool with a sharp point at one end. Tweezers can also be used. Put the tip of the weeder into one of the cutting lines and pull away the part of the vinyl that needs to be gone. It takes a little practice but is not really difficult.

    3. Step: Printing

    Whether you use a flat iron or a heat press for printing, what's always important is the right temperature and pressure settings. We have compiled them in a pdf file for your convenience.

    Set your press or your iron to the right temperature and let it heat up. If you use a heat press like the HappyPress 3 or the HappyPress Pro you can also set the time and the pressure.

    Pre-iron your garment to eliminate residual moisture and creases. Place your design, carrier side facing up, on the garment, place everything in your heat press (or on a steady  surface if you are using an iron), protect your design with a cover sheet and then it's time to PRINT!

    Depending on the type of vinyl the design might need to cool off or you can peel the carrier off while it's still hot. Please refer to the pdf file to learn which applies.

    We have some bundles in our shop to give you everything you need to get started:

    • Starter Bundle: includes a cutter, a weeder, and a vinyl package
    • Textile Printing Bundle: includes a heat press, a vinyl package and an optional weeder
    • Textile Printing Complete Bundle: includes a heat press, a cutter, a weeder, and a vinyl package
  • Silhouette cutter – Cutting with or without cutting mat

    For the impatient:

    All vinyls by HappyFabric can be cut without a cutting mat if they are big enough to fit under both white rollers because they have carrier that "replaces" the mat. The carrier gives the vinyl stability and prevents small pieces from falling into the cutter.

    Especially when you are using leftover vinyl from other projects it is important to use a cutting mat. You can use the squares to position your vinyl exactly where it is shown in the software. The cutting mat will ensure that the vinyl is safely loaded and will not move.


    When you try to figure out if you should use the cutting mat or not, it can be helpful to understand what the mat ist for.

    How a Cutting Mat Works

    Silhouette-Portrait-Cutting Mat
    • The cutting mat protects the cutter from the blade tip: If a material does not have a carrier (e.g. paper, cardboard, fabric), the blade cuts through the entire material. It is possible for the blade to cut or scratch the cutting strip (especially if the blade setting is too high)
    • The cutting mat prevents small pieces form falling into the cutter. Imagine the cutter cuts small circles from a cardboard. As soon as those circles are no longer connected to the rest of cardboard, they would fall down into the plotter and you might not be able to get them out.
    • The cutting mat stabilises the material: When you cut designs from small rests, the cutting mat will help load the material safely into the cutter, making sure it does not move out of place or get stuck. The lines on the mat also help finding the right position for the material.

    Textile Vinyls are Special

    All our flex and flock vinyls have a carrier. The carrier is not cut (at least it shouldn't be if everything is done correctly). Thus it fulfills the same functions as a cutting mat. Because of that our vinyls sheets and rolls can be cut without a cutting mat. But you should use a cutting mat for rests because of the reasons listed above.

    With or Without a Cutting Mat?

    To conclude: If you need a cutting mat or not depends on the type and size of the material you want to cut. If it's got its own carrier and fits underneath both rollers, it can be cut without a cutting mat.

    How to load the cutting mat/material

    Silhouette Portrait - Schneidematte anlegen Silhouette-Portrait-Buttons

    Silhouette Portrait: Center the cutting mat between the two white rollers, then push the button "Load Cutting Mat". It's the button at the top that has a grid pattern. If you want to cut the vinyl without a cutting mat, center it between the rollers, then choose the "Load Media" button.

     

    silhouette_cameo

    Silhouette Cameo: Align the cutting mat or the material with the blue line on the left side. Make sure to adjust the white roller on the right side to fit your mat's or material's size. You will need to turn the lever on the right side towards you (clockwise). Then hold the bar with one hand and twist the roller with the other until the pinchers are not in the notches. Slide the roller to the desired position and twist it so the pinchers are in the notches. Don't forget to turn the lever back.Once your material or the mat is in position, choose "Load Cutting Mat" or "Load Media" on the touchscreen.

    Tip: Make sure to select the correct cutting mat format in the Silhouette Studio software.

  • How to: Add materials in Silhouette Studio

    If you want to cut a textile vinyl you will soon note that there are no presets for most vinyls. That's why we want to show you how to add materials in the Silhouette Studio software so can quickly choose them the next time.

    cut settings

    First go to Cut Settings. You can find them in the upper right corner of the Studio window. The icon looks like a stylised cutter blade.

    Silhouette Studio add new material

    On the right side of your screen you will see this menu where you can select different cut settings. We will have a closer look at the section "Material Type". You will notice that there are a lot of presets for a variety of materials, even some for "Heat Transfer Material". But as every vinyl is unique it is better to make a new entry for every vinyl and to name this entry accordingly.

    To make a new entry, click the plus sign in the bottom right corner.

    Enter values

    A new menu will open (see above). Enter the name of the vinyl where it says "Material" and adjust the thickness and speed settings according to our Printing Instructions where we listed the settings for all of our vinyls.

    Tips & Tricks:

    You can enter the blade setting in the software. But note that this is only a reminder for yourself when you are using the Silhouette Portrait or Cameo 2 cutter. With these cutters you will need to adjust the blade in the cutter itself! If you are using the Cameo 3 you won't need to manually set the blade as the value will be transmitted digitally.

    You can add the different vinyls only when you need them or you take some time to enter all of them at once so nothing will stop you from cutting the next times.

    You should always do a test cut before cutting an entire design. We have chosen the settings we believe work best for each vinyl but your results may differ depending on the state of your blade and other factors.

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