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What if you could step behind the curtain… and… see for yourself what it’s like to run an actual heat transfer vinyl business?
Like, really step into the shoes of a custom product decorator and experience the daily routines and operations of how a typical client order is carried out, from start to finish!
We know you’d love that!
So, let us give you a ‘’backstage pass’’ to our workshop, where you can see what goes on behind the scenes when we prepare orders for our clients.
For this, we have a particular client order in mind. A local bride in our area recently reached out to us, requesting a total of fourteen (14) shirts, each with quotes and artwork on both sides.
Of course, we said yes to her request! So, let us show you how we fulfilled her order.
But, before we jump in, let’s make sure we have everything we need to get started.
Here are some of the things we’ll need for this project:
Alright, first things first, we need to prepare our artwork for vinyl cutting. For that, we’ll be using a fantastic software called ‘’Graphtec Studio Pro’’.
Now, if it’s your first time hearing about this software, then let us take a moment to familiarize you with it.
Graphtec Studio Pro is a design software that allows you to create, manipulate or customize artwork for vinyl cutting. It also helps you do things like adjusting cut settings, managing layers, and adding text or shapes to your designs.
And let’s not forget about the other nifty tools and features at your disposal. With just a few clicks, you can resize, rotate or align elements.
Or maybe… you feel like going a little wild and playing around with different gradients, shadows, patterns, and effects. We’re not judging! In fact, we encourage it! Customization is the name of the game in the heat transfer vinyl business, and clients love designs that pop!
Okay, now that we’re on the same page, let’s boot up this software and import the artwork file into the software by clicking on the “Import” button and selecting the file from our computer.
Do you follow? Great! Once you have imported the artwork, the very first thing you want to do is vectorize it. This step is very important because it converts the design into a scalable format, allowing us to resize it without losing any quality.
And keep in mind, you can follow these same instructions in the video above to ensure you don’t miss any important details.
That said, the way you vectorize the artwork is by going to Bitmap > Vectorize > Enhanced Curves.
You’re doing a fantastic job following along!
Now that our artwork is vectorized, we can make further adjustments to it. For example, if there’s any part of your design that you want to separate or cut out differently, you want to select those elements and add them to a group by going Arrange > Group.
Also, you can assign each group a color so you can easily differentiate, organize and visualize all of the elements within your design.
With that done, it’s time to move on to the vinyl cutting process.
Now that your design is ready, it’s time to send it to cut. This is a very simple and straightforward process.
Have your vinyl cutter connected to your computer and ensure that the Graphtec CE7000 is powered on. Then, load your vinyl roll into your cutter and configure the settings.
To us, the most important settings are blade depth, cutting speed, and force. So, to get these settings right, we recommend performing a test cut. This involves cutting a small portion of the vinyl to ensure it cuts the way we want it to.
Once the test cut is successful, we can then go ahead and send the full design for cutting.
During the cutting process, you’ll want to observe how the vinyl cutter blade runs through the vinyl; does it follow the path correctly? Is it lifting or tearing the material? You want to catch these errors early before they ruin your material.
Once the cutting process is complete, it’s time for weeding and heat application.
Now comes the fun part — time to weed and bring on the heat! So, grab your trusty weeding pick or tweezers and start peeling away the unwanted vinyl.
Take a deep breath here, because it will test your patience. Focus on removing the pieces that are not intended to be transferred onto the shirt, like, the insides of the lettering, sea shells, corners, and other elements that the vinyl cutter may have left partially attached.
Once you have weeded the design, it’s time to heat things up, quite literally. So, fire up your heat press and set it to the appropriate temperature.
Next, place the shirt on the heat press and make sure it’s smooth and free from wrinkles. Position the weeded vinyl design on the shirt, keeping an eye on the symmetry and positioning.
When everything is in place, lower the heat press and apply firm, even pressure for a few seconds (see vinyl manufacturer recommended guidelines).
Right after, lift up the heat press and allow the shirt to cool down. This step is crucial for the adhesive to fully set and ensure a long-lasting transfer.
Once the shirt has cooled down, carefully remove the transfer paper.
You’ll need to repeat these steps for each shirt in the order.
And just like that, we have brought our client’s vision to life!
Honestly, it couldn’t go any smoother than this! Remember, the client approached us with a basic concept that they wanted to see on their custom shirts.
We said yes to the challenge and were determined to meet (and exceed) their expectations.
During the entire process, we carefully listened to their ideas, understood their preferences, and collaborated closely to make their vision come to life.
And let us tell you, the final moment of unveiling the work to the client is what makes running a vinyl business so special! To see the smile spread across their face as they hold these shirts in their hands… to see the joy and excitement in their eyes!
It makes it all worthwhile.
For one-on-one help simply call 800-891-1094 or live chat with one of our pros!
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