04 May 2018

How To Heat Press

From a young age, it's important that we teach our children about how the world works. We want them to be able to thrive once they leave the home. I think one of the most helpful and exciting things we can teach them about is business. They need to learn about selling and buying, about producing a product and how to put it out into the world. These things don't come naturally and need to be taught!

One way to do this, which I have found very effective, is to get my girls to help out making custom t-shirts for sale to friends and family. And eventually, as they get older, we hope to be able to market and sell these tees and baby onesies online.   Let me show you what we've been doing!

T-Shirt Business In The Home

Making your own custom t-shirts is really easy - once you know how to do it! You do need a bit of equipment and some supplies to start off with, but after that you're sorted. The process involves using a cutting machine (such as a Cricut cutting machine) and either an iron or a heat press machine. Because of the hot plates this is probably not suited to young children. However, mature young teens are more than capable of learning the process, after some initial supervision and direction.


  What do you need?
  • A cutting machine - the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great machine
  • An ordinary household iron or a heat press machine
  • Heat transfer vinyl
  • Blank tees, baby onesies, sweatshirt, or whatever other garment you would like to spice up!

Step 1 - Choosing A Design

  Designing a t-shirt is perhaps one of the most daunting aspects of starting this kind of project. I know it was for me when I began! However, just like anything, it takes a bit of time and practice to get proficient. It isn't as difficult as you might think, especially with the great software out there today.   As I have the Cricut Explore Air 2, I'm using the Design Space software. I can either select a pre-made design from the design library, or make my own custom design from scratch. The design I'm using today is one that I've quickly made up myself.  

Cricut design space slice tool  

Step 2 - Cutting The Design

  Once the design is ready to go, you are able to send it to the cutting machine to do all the hard work! We use heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts, as opposed to adhesive vinyl - the latter being used as a type of sticker for walls, mugs, labels, etc.  

cricut explore air 2 cutting machine  

I never get tired of watching my machine work it's way around a piece of vinyl, cutting out the design I've just finished creating. It's so cool!  Once the design has been cut, it's time for weeding! This is the process of removing the excess vinyl from the carrier sheet, to reveal the design ready to be pressed onto your garment. Some designs are very easy to weed, and other very intricate designs are much harder and take a lot longer. I remember once spending an hour or two weeding out a fox face design - the result was great but it was a long weeding process!  

Step 3 - Pressing The Baby Onesie

  You've chosen your design, you've cut it out, and now all that's left is to press it onto your t-shirt (or in this case, baby onesie!).   It is best not to run out and buy a heat press machine, but to begin by using an ordinary household iron. While I would be hesitant to sell tees pressed with an iron, it is good to first get a feel for the process to see if you and the children enjoy it, before investing in a heat press. Here are some of the best heat press reviews if you were interested in learning more.   And here is the final result!  

custom baby onesies t-shirt business    

So there you have it. A custom made baby onesie that you are able to sell or giveaway as a gift.   As you can see, it has real value and looks fantastic, but it is quick and easy to make. The hardest part is choosing or making the design, but even this gets quicker and easier the more you do it.   If this sounds like something your teen would be interested, you should definitely encourage them to give it a go. If they're able to start making a bit of money through it, their interest will increase all the more. And if they don't end up enjoying it, the cutting machine is all yours, and trust me, there's so much more you can do with it!

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.

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