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Do You Need a Heat Press in Your Silhouette or Cricut Business?

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Additionally, I may get commissions for purchases made through other affiliate links in this post.

Today’s post is based off a question I received from a Cutting for Business reader, who asked if she needed to buy a heat press to sell t-shirts and infant apparel made with heat transfer vinyl and her Silhouette Cameo. She’s currently using an iron successfully.

Short answer: Yes, a heat press is the standard when creating items made with heat transfer vinyl. I’d advise against selling items using heat transfer vinyl that was applied with an iron.

Long answer: Using a heat press when creating items with heat transfer vinyl is the standard if you are planning to sell them. Each brand of heat transfer vinyl is designed to be applied at an exact temperature and pressure, then peeled either hot or cold. Unfortunately, when you use an iron (even top of the line irons), you can’t guarantee the temperature you are using, and you cannot replicate the even pressure that a heat press provides. Using an iron with heat transfer vinyl is fine for personal use items and possibly gifts. However, customers expect merchandise to last and designs to not fall off after a few uses. It is better to offer a quality product that follows manufacturer’s application guidelines rather than open your business to poor reviews, unhappy customers, or customers needing items remade or refunded.

What Kinds of Heat Presses are Available?

Heat presses fall into three different categories:

  • Clam Shell – These heat presses have a hot top platen that you pull straight down to press your items. Clam shell presses are often cheapest to buy and are readily available.
  • Swing Arm – The top platen on swing arm presses lifts up and down and swings to one side. Swing arms presses give you more space to work, but take up a larger footprint in your workspace.
  • Pull Out Drawer – The bottom portion of this heat press pulls out like a drawer giving you more workspace. Pull out drawer style heat presses are often more expensive.

Now, Which Heat Press to Buy?

I recommend getting the largest heat press that you can afford. This will ensure that you don’t ‘grow out’ of yours shortly after getting it.

I started with a 15″ by 15″ Chinese made heat press from Amazon. It was great for about a year and a half. Then, when I was using it one day, it started smoking and the wires in the electronic portion melted together (super scary!) It went to the dumpster and I picked up a 16″ by 20″ black series from Heat Press Nation. I love it, but it is heavy and hard to transport. For those days when I take my press to a friend’s house, I also have a 9″ by 12″ crafters press – and, it’s pink!

My 16″ by 20″ Heat Press

Do You Need a Heat Press in Your Silhouette or Cricut Business? - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Click here for more information.

My 9″ by 12″ Heat Press

Do You Need a Heat Press in Your Silhouette or Cricut Business? - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Click here for more information.

The 15″ by 15″ Heat Press I Almost Bought

If I hadn’t bought the 16″ by 20″ model above, I would have bought this one. I got to use it in person at a conference, and loved the slide out platen. 

Do You Need a Heat Press in Your Silhouette or Cricut Business? - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Click here for more information.

If you aren’t ready to take the plunge and purchase a heat press, I’ve got two options for you: 1) A Cricut EasyPress or 2) a heat press rental program.

Heat Press Accessories

In addition to a heat press, you’ll also need a teflon sheet. An accessory that I personally can’t live without is pressing pillows! They help level the area you are pressing, especially when pressing along collars, seams, buttons, or zippers.

Teflon Sheets:

Pressing Pillows:

Remember, a heat press is an investment in your business. You’ll be able to deduct the cost of the machine and accessories, so be sure you enter these expenses into your Craftybase accounting program. Once you start selling items made with heat press vinyl, be sure to include care instructions with all orders. If you don’t have your own, I have a set you can download and use in your business.

Share with another crafter by pinning on Pinterest:

Do you need a heat press in your Silhouette or Cricut business? By cuttingforbusiness.com.

Julie

Monday 25th of May 2020

I have the Cricut Explore and want to start a small business from home. I'm on a fixed income, would you recommend Cricut's Easy Press to start with? I want to start selling my items. Thank you in advance!

Christine, Cutting for Business

Monday 31st of August 2020

Some crafters do use the Easy Press for their business, but it is easier to get the correct pressure with a heat press. You could look into a small press for the same cost as the Easy Press.

Denise Peters

Thursday 29th of March 2018

Do you know of any other sites that rent heat presses? I am just starting my business and I am on a limited income so I wanted to see if there might be other companies that would donate a heat press to me for advertising their product. Thanks

Christine

Monday 2nd of April 2018

I do not. Personally, unless you have social media followings in the thousands, I doubt you'll find a company to donate a heat press to you. Most heat press manufacturers are well established and don't need a small at home business advertising for them.

Jenna

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Hello...can the rental press be used to apply a patch to hats? The patches have a self adhesive backing on them. Thanks!

Christine

Saturday 13th of January 2018

Yes, you could apply patches with a heat press.

Michelle

Saturday 11th of November 2017

Hi~ I clicked on the link for the one that you own it takes me to Amazon but no pic or price. Do you know if that particular one is still available? Thanks for your time. Michelle

Christine

Monday 13th of November 2017

Hello! I updated the link for you: http://amzn.to/2hnxqb5

Deb

Friday 29th of September 2017

Hi I followed your link in this article and purchased the heat press you own. I did not notice when I purchased that it said sublimation tshirt heat press machine. It came today and the instructions are very much gear d to sublimation and not vinyl so I am freaked out about using Htv on it. Should I calm down and unpack it and not worry???? Btw you are amazing. I don't do anything without first checking your site. Huge hugs to you!!

Christine

Friday 29th of September 2017

Hi Deb, First - the instructions are terrible - just pitch them. Operation is simple: plug in and set temperature and time according to the vinyl manufacturer's recommendations. All heat presses can do sublimation and vinyl. Don't send it back, get it out and create. :) Thanks for your kind words.