The APL Blog

Hot off the Press

Printed carrier bags are a part of everyday life, but have you ever wondered where they come from? Heat pressing is one of the printing methods we offer and is usually used on carrier bags.

A heat press is kind of like an industrial toasted sandwich maker. There’s a board that the bag is slipped over and the logo you want printed is placed on top. Logos or text are printed on specially coated laser paper so when they are peeled off only the coloured ink remains.
Placed over the coated paper is a teflon sheet. Important step this one, otherwise glue from the heat plate might stick to the clothing or packaging, not a good look.
All of these layers are then pressed together by a lever operated heat plate, or platen if you want to use the industry term. Our plate is a scorching 150 degrees Celsius so our printers have to be very careful, luckily we haven’t had any fingertips burnt yet!
After only 15 seconds the plate is lifted up and the teflon and paper are removed, that’s all there is to it!

Heat Press Pointers

To get the most out of heat pressing here are a few industry tips:
  • Choose colours carefully- Some ink shows up better than others depending what you are printing on. A red shirt might shine through white ink, not great if you don’t want a pink logo.
  • Consider your design- If your image contains lots of intricate colours or shapes digital printing might be a better option. A heat press can print 2 or 3 colours as separate layers, ideal if your logo contains individual blocks of colour.
  • Try a Reversal- Instead of printing white ink on a black bag try printing a block of black ink containing a stencil of your logo onto a white bag. This is called a reversal and it lets the colour of the bag itself shine through as the logo.

So that’s heat pressing, a practical way of printing large orders of bags or t shirts. A heat press does not work on plastic bags though because they would melt under the plate like cheese in a waffle grill. We would recommend heat printing for cotton bags, white twist handle bags and environmentally friendly bags.

Until next time,

Dominic
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