Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New Crafting Endeavors: Heat Press & Cricut

Over the summer, I decided to get a small heat press to do t-shirt transfers and the like. I wanted to see if might be a viable vending endeavor to sell t-shirts with designs by local artists at various events/fairs.  So I searched out a 'craft size' heat press from a brand I was familiar with using and I found to be a good quality. Of course, the internet mostly just provided scam webstores as sources for the little heat press I wanted. But the fact that photos of this product existed meant that it was a product made at one time. I did find a legit store through ebay located in the midwest, who were very friendly. But I had also sought out the manufacturer (straight to the source is sometimes best) and they put me in contact with their local rep (which was several hours away but I believe in going local in whatever ways you can). It turned out well, since they were holding a sort of business fair showing off different products, from screen printing to vinyl cutting to sublimation printing. And they gave me a discount for driving down and attending and purchasing my press there. (Bonus, I also got to meet my friend who lives downstate for some Indian buffet.)

I love my heat press!

I started off this new 'business' by purchasing transfers through Versatrans. You upload your original artwork and they print off the transfers (there are several medium choices they use) that can be applied to clothing with a heat press.

Adirondack Travel Poster Design T-Shirt

I worked out a deal with a local graphic artist, Catherine  LaPointe (facebook) who does wonderful Northern New York themed travel posters to sell t-shirts with her Adirondack design.

Beanstock Seven Shirts
I also did up t-shirts for Beanstock, which is an event my awesome aunt, uncle, cousins put on every fall with the help of friends and family. They've been doing up stickers for years. But the t-shirts were fun to be able to provide.

Adirondack Design I Made

However, the investment required to order the transfers isn't worth the reward:risk assessment. They are a bulk supplier in essence. And while you can order a minimum of 2 sheets, the cost of small orders is prohibitive to making any money off a shirt without charging $50. Therefore, bulk orders of designs have to be made.

Come to the end of the year, and I had been seriously looking into getting a Cricut (a brand of computerized cutting machine). Surprise! My parents got me a Cricut Explorer Air 2 for Christmas. And I began to CUT ALL THE THINGS!

I did a few paper projects to begin with, but immediately ordered a Heat Transfer Vinyl sampler pack and the tools needed for making vinyl transfers (little picks and tweezers to 'weed' or remove the negative space on the vinyl transfers after they come off the Cricut).

I love it! And while it obviously takes more time/work on my end than ordering the plastisol or versatranz transfers, it is more cost-effective and makes me happier not to have a bunch of inventory lying around. Which was also the point of having a travel-size heat press, to make shirts to order right on the spot at events.

Stay tuned to see some of the projects this new craft obsession has born out... ;-)


  1. Cool stuff! I"m happy to hear you exploring new crafts. Not surprised that getting anything in small quantity is unprofitable: everything in wholesale commerce is geared to large orders. Hope you find ways to make stuff work!


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