How To Personalize Beanies
Beanies are especially popular during the winter season. Being able to customize them makes for great holiday gifting and business opportunities. Considering how beanies are worn however, heat pressing a custom transfer might not be as easy as one would assume. If the beanie is worn with a folded cuff for instance, applying a transfer on its outside as you normally would with other clothing requires some additional steps and preparation.
We’ll be demonstrating how this is all done with thick-style heat transfer vinyl on a gray acrylic beanie - in addition to a sublimation transfer on a white, low-profile, polyester beanie. Despite being rather different materials, much of the principles taken to properly apply transfers to these beanies will be similar, if not the same, as one another. But to begin, measure the beanie itself, including certain areas like its cuff with a ruler. You’ll want to refer to your measurements to scale your graphics down to the beanie’s size. For our HTV beanie, we’ll cut and apply a simple line of bold text that’s as wide and tall as its cuff. It’s best to go with thick fonts or graphics here, as they allow the vinyl to hold their shape well on stretchy fabrics. Though with sublimating polyester beanies, you can apply both graphics or images as long as they’re scaled properly.
Once your graphics are ready to go, you’re now ready to turn them into beanie heat transfers. To keep things simple, we’ll first show you how to cut and apply a StripFlock Pro graphic for a beanie, using a Silhouette Cameo cutter and Silhouette Studio software. Although we’re using a certain setup and material, many of the steps shown here can still apply to other machines and software. This is as long as you’re aware of their differently named settings and functions, as well as the cut settings for your specific material. Moving on in Silhouette Studio, you’ll first want to draw a weed box around your graphic, then center and group it with your graphic.
Now you may load your sheet or roll go to the Send tab to configure the following settings for StripFlock Pro: Material to “Heat Transfer, Flocked,” blade depth to 3 to 4, Force to 6, and Speed to 5. Before cutting your graphic, it’s best to complete a test cut first to check if you’ll need to fine tune your cut settings for your particular setup. Assuming your test cut has succeeded, go ahead and click Send, then Send Mirrored to cut your graphic. As soon as your vinyl has been cut, trim and weed it out, then your graphic is ready to be applied on your beanie. Turn on your heat press and set it to 15 seconds at 310 degrees Fahrenheit with medium pressure.
To be able to press transfers onto more finely built fabrics like acrylic, a pressing pillow or heat-resistant foam will be necessary to add onto the lower platen of your machine. With either padding material in place and the machine at temperature, bring your beanie to the lower platen, turning it inside out and positioning it as an upside down cone. The vinyl transfer will essentially be placed at the top center of the beanie, which will later serve as the fold collar. With the transfer in place, cover it with a protective sheet and press. After 15 seconds, open your machine and allow Stripflock Pro a moment to reach a warm temperature. Once it's warm, peel its carrier sheet off, push the bottom half of the beanie back in and it's now ready to be worn! Depending on what materials you’re using, you can always add more layers of HTV to further make your graphic or text stand out on the beanie.
Next up is our polyester beanie for sublimation, which of course won’t require cutting software for putting its design together. While you’re free to continue making your designs through Silhouette Studio, we’ll be creating ours with Adobe Illustrator. Based on the measurements of our beanie’s cuff, we’ll simply create a patterned line of text to apply on both the front and back sides.
As soon as your beanie graphics are done, you may print them through your sublimation printer. If you’re using a Sawgrass printer, send it to Sawgrass Print Manager and use these settings: Substrate set to Polyester, Paper set to your paper’s profile, leave Mirror checked, and change the Color Mode in the Color tab to Photographic or Vivid depending on your graphics’ level of detail. With everything set, go ahead and click Print on SPM. Once the transfer’s been printed, you may trim the individual graphics out, then they’re ready to be applied onto a polyester beanie. For many polyester fabrics, you can set your heat press to 50-60 seconds at 385 degrees Fahrenheit with medium pressure.
Of course, you’ll want to continue using a pressing pillow or foam in order for the transfer to fully settle into the beanie’s finer details. In doing so however, you’ll want to cover the lower platen as a whole with a sheet of parchment paper to prevent dye migration onto the pillow and your machine. And once the machine’s at temperature, add your beanie on top, then bring your transfer ink side down to where you’d like to place it. With your transfer in position, you may attach it to the beanie with heat tape or adhesive spray. If using the latter however, be sure to spray only a light finish on the transfer itself prior, as well as away from your machine. We should also note that, while most beanies like ours are thick enough to prevent dyes passing through the inside and back, it’s a good practice to slide a folded sheet of parchment paper inside it just in case.
Lastly, if your beanie happens to be folding too much, even after flattening it several times, you may also need to slide an insert or extra padding inside it before pressing. But once your transfer and beanie are ready, flip the beanie with the paper side up, cover it with another parchment paper sheet and press. When your timer reaches zero, open your machine and allow your items to cool down for a moment. Afterwards, quickly peel the transfer off your beanie and one side of it should now be sublimated. After allowing the beanie to completely cool down, you may continue to press the back side with these same steps. Be sure to use fresh sheets of parchment paper for your next press so that excess dyes won’t transfer onto the beanie itself. And with your back side transfer pressed, your personalized polyester beanie is now ready to go!
If you’d like to share your custom beanies with us, alongside an emerging community of heat transfer and customization enthusiasts, feel free to join our HeatPressNation Creators Facebook group.
For any questions, you can get in touch with a MyExpert representative at support.heatpressnation.com.