heat transfer vinyl

How to Make Custom T-Shirts for Your Warehouse Team

heat transfer vinyl

If Your Team Moves And Stretches Like Ours Does, They Need Comfortable, Durable T-Shirts

Recently, I had a chance to make up a group of custom t-shirts for our warehouse staff.  If you’ve ever ordered equipment or supplies; you probably know how hard our team works to get orders out on time and to make sure everything is packaged well and makes it to your door perfectly.

That takes a lot of work, so we wanted our warehouse team to have some nice custom t-shirts that fit well, were incredibly durable, and represent our brand well.  Even though we have a climate controlled warehouse, keeping them comfortable while they work and stretch was another big factor for the job.

The Brands and Materials We Picked

We chose to work with mixed media, and we will be rocking our Coldesi Logo printed with our Digital HeatFX System.  We’re using white Triton vinyl for left chest names on the front.

We love Sanmar’s apparel choices and for this job chose Style ST400 in dark grey. It’s the perfect mix of tri-blend material to help stay cool and comfy while working hard.

Getting Er’ Done

For the front of the shirt, we took our team members name and chose out a font in Graphtec Pro Studio software that is easy to read and has some style to it when the letters are in all caps. I compacted the names close (but not too close) to minimize vinyl waste and then set up the white opaque Triton vinyl on the Graphtec CE6000 cutter to get cut out.

After we cut the names out we weeded away the parts that we didn’t want on the shirts. Then I cut them out, so they were ready to press on the shirts! I put them aside and started working on the back artwork.

Pro Tip: When working with mixed media always try to determine which process can handle the extra heat pressing without damaging your decoration.

In this case, vinyl can be pressed for TOO long and cause damage to the glue, but the Digital HeatFX Laser EZ Peel can be pressed for long periods of time without damage to the final product. So for this project, we are doing DFX and THEN Vinyl to protect our product.

Moving On To The Backs of The Shirts

heat transfer vinyl

For the back, we wanted to use our white Coldesi logo and place it across the back of the t-shirts between the shoulders. Since this design is seven colors, the Digital Heat FX is the perfect choice for this design.

We first figured out how big we wanted it on the back of the shirt. Then we took our logo and puzzled it as many times as we could on out Digital Heat FX Laser EZ Peel Paper.

It turns out I could squeeze six onto one sheet, so it only took me three sheets to decorate all 16 shirts!  Now time to print.

Pro Tip: Always consider maximizing your use of each sheet or Laser EZ Peel. If you can fit an extra logo or two on one sheet – DO IT! You’ll be happy to have the extras if something accidentally happens OR you can use it on a freebie for your customers to consider ordering (Like caps, magnets, or koozies)

After printing  I used our Hotronix Fusion heat press to Heat press the printed sheet to the Glue companion B Sheet (This applies the glue)

for 120 seconds- medium pressure –  at 285 degrees F and then hot peeled it to complete the creation of the transfer. I then cut them out and took them back to the press for application.

I pressed the transfer on the desired spot on the shirt for 30 seconds on high pressure and then pulled it off the press to cool completely.

Once cold, I carefully peeled off the clear transfer sheet and pressed one last time with a silicone sheet for 30 seconds at high pressure to finish the back. Once all 16 shirts had the back design, it was time to apply the names to the font.

Applying the Pressure

I cranked up the Temp on the Fusion Heat press to 302 for the vinyl name application.

After positioning the name in the left chest logo location, I pressed for ten full seconds at med/high pressure. Then I simply peeled off the clear transfer sheet and its done!

Repeat 15 more times, and we’re all done. All 16 shirts turned out fantastic, and our warehouse folks absolutely love them!

Calculating Costs

The Shirts cost: $7.49 Cost of each shirt x 16 = $119.84

The Printed Sheets of EZ Laser Peel: 3 @ $4.00 a sheet (for paper and toner use) = $12.00

Triton Opaque Vinyl 5”: $.0.94 (take roll at $33.95 and divide 5 yard (180 in) = .19/in

Cost to make: $132.78

Time Involved:

Printing –  2 min (All three sheets)

Marrying – 7 min (3 sheets and peel time)

                Cutting Vinyl – 3 min (All 16 names together)

Cutting transfers – 2 min

                Weeding – 3 min (All 16)

                Pressing DFX Transfer: 40 min (All 16 Including cool and peel)

                Final Press on DFX Transfer – 30 min

                Pressing vinyl –10 min (all 16)

                TOTAL TIME CREATING: 1 Hour and 37 minutes ? If I pay myself $20 an hour EXAMPLE

How Did You Do?

Based on a rough estimate of what typical companies in the area might charge, I came up with a range and then took the average  $239 – $404.60 (Average – $321).  That leaves us with a pretty good profit for a pretty small order.  And it’s certainly worth it to keep our team cool and happy and looking sharp!

PROFIT: 188.70 for the whole order!

Minus my pay, I would have earned $158.70 in 1.5 hours of work.  Not a bad rate.


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