Many crafters are familiar with iron-on transfers that allow you to transfer images and designs to clothing and accessories with the simple touch of an iron. Power heat press machines, also called electric heat transfer presses, take the idea of iron-on transfers a step further in the form of a professional machine that uses high temperatures and firm pressure to permanently embed designs and images in the surfaces of items made of fabric, ceramic, wood and metal.
Things You'll Need
Connect your power heat press to a grounded electrical outlet that is appropriate for the appliance's voltage. Provide an outlet with a 7.5-amp circuit for 120-volt heat press machines. Plug the more powerful 240-volt heat press machines into outlets with a 15-amp circuit.
Ensure that the top platen is in the open position before turning on your power heat press. Locate the temperature control knob on manual heat presses or the temperature control buttons on digital heat presses and set the machine to the temperature specified by the transfer paper instructions. Wait at least 15 minutes for manual presses to heat to the desired temperature. Watch the small Ready light on digital heat press models to know when your machine is preheated for use.
Increase or decrease the pressure on your power heat press depending on what type of transfer item you are using. Increase the machine's pressure to transfer images and designs to flat, thin items, such as banners, clothing or jigsaw puzzles. Reduce or decrease the machine's pressure to transfer items to thick, raised items, such as vases, bowls or coffee mugs. Note that on power heat press machines the pressure is adjusted via a clearly labeled knob or button.
Consult the instructions included with your transfer paper to determine how long it will take to complete the heat transfer. Locate the knob or buttons that control the countdown timer for your power heat press. Adjust the timer to the desired amount of time. Note that most power heat press machines allow you to set the timer for between 1 and 99 seconds, though some commercial models will allow you to complete even longer heat cycles.
Situate your transfer item, as desired, on the bottom platen of your power heat press. Lay your printed transfer paper directly on the transfer item. Consult your transfer paper instructions for specific placement advice.
Close the preheated top heat press platen over your transfer item and transfer design. Check to ensure that the countdown timer has started, or start the timer manually, if necessary. Apply moderate pressure to manual heat press machines. Note that digital power heat press machines require little, if any, pressure to complete successful heat transfers.
Lift the top power heat press platen when the countdown alarm goes off. Remove the transfer paper from your transfer item as directed by the transfer paper instructions. Some types of transfer paper will instruct you to wait for the item to cool before removing the paper, while others recommend peeling back the transfer paper while the item is still warm.
Some more advanced power heat press models may come with additional attachments that allow you to transfer images and designs to items of varying shapes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach these pieces to your machine.
Use caution when operating your power heat press to avoid serious injury.
Avoid allowing your power heat press to be immersed in any type of liquid.