Can You Heat Press On Nylon? Printing Hacks Bet You Didn’t Know!
Breaking news — YES! You can heat press on nylon. Nylon and heat at times aren't usually a great combination. But you can heat press on nylon for as long as you tediously follow the right temperature and time.
With you knowing this interesting fact, you can now customize plenty of fabrics and not just limit your production to cotton or poly blend garments. Let’s cross the T's and dot the I's by clearing the air on how can you heat press on nylon.
Photo of a Nylon Jacket from Pexels by Liliana Drew
What nylon garments can you print on?
Examples of garments made of nylon are swimwear, tracksuits, laundry bags, bomber jackets, and windbreakers. Nylon is an intimidating material to heat press as it can easily get damaged, or worse might melt. Nylon is essentially derived from plastic sourced from crude oil, and basically, it’s heat sensitive.
The plastic then goes through an intensive chemical process which results in a long, stretchy fiber used in garments like sportswear. With the right temperature and time under the heat press machine, you can flawlessly print on nylon without the fear of melting the garment.
How to heat press on nylon
There’s not much of a difference when printing on a cotton garment and nylon fabric. The only difference is the heat press settings. You can heat press HTV and inkjet heat transfer paper (dark transfer paper). However, sublimation on a nylon is a little bit tricky.
Although sublimating on nylon is possible, expect that there are different kinds of nylons and they may react differently when sublimating, especially that sublimation requires lower temperature.
In this post, we’ll be focusing on how to heat press nylon in HTV and inkjet heat transfer paper. We’ll save sublimating on a nylon for another topic as it’ll be a complicated one. The first order of business is to take note of the heat press settings, which are:
- Temperature: Start at 275 degrees Fahrenheit and work your way upwards
- Time: 5-second presses (repeat 3 times) to cool off in between
- Pressure: Low
Steps When Printing on a Nylon Material
- Prepare your design using a heat transfer vinyl or the printable paper
- Cut the vinyl or printable paper as needed using your cutting machine
- Set the heat press machine at the lowest temperature starting at 275 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place the nylon garment on the heat press machine’s flat surface
- Place a parchment paper, cover sheet, or Teflon sheet in between the heat press and substrate (to avoid burning the nylon surface)
- Pre-press the surface for about 3 seconds
- Print the substrate for 5 seconds (the shortest recommended time) and let it cool off
- Repeat the process for two more times
- Hot or cold peel the HTV depending on the HTV you used. But usually, hot peel would do fine with nylon
- Then you’re done!
So whether you’re heat pressing nylon jackets or swimwear, simply follow the process above and you’re good to go. The trick is shorter time and lower temperature when dealing with nylon. Never directly expose nylon garments to a higher temperature as it will surely burn.
Tips When Printing on a Nylon
Whether you’re a long-time printer of garments or this is your first time, you should take note of these tips.
You Need to Practice!
If it’s your first time printing on a nylon, don’t jump into printing on the expensive nylon fabrics. Always practice on an inexpensive nylon garment like a drawstring bag which costs less than $5. Printing on a garment, regardless if it’s cotton or nylon, is a trial and error process.
Start with a Low Temperature
For the temperature, always start low and increase along the way if necessary. If in case the vinyl or substrate does not adhere to the garment using the lowest temperature, try to increase the temperature to 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue doing so until the vinyl adheres to the garment properly.
Use a Thin HTV
It is better to use thin heat transfer vinyl. Which means stray away from glitter heat transfer vinyl, which has a thick structure. Other HTVs like PU and matte heat transfer vinyl are thin and are easier to print on nylon garments.
Thick HTVs like glitter are thick and need longer pressing time and higher temperature. Chances are, the nylon might melt if you plan to press glitter HTV.
Use Teflon Sheet or Parchment Paper
Always use a Teflon sheet or parchment paper to serve as a barrier between the heat press machine and the nylon garment. Just like printing on cotton, you need a barrier to protect direct exposure from the heat press’ hot place, the garment and the substrate.
When printing in nylon, the Teflon sheet or parchment paper serves as an extra protection to avoid the nylon from getting burned. If you don’t have the two items mentioned above, a printing trick is to use the carrier sheet of an HTV. That works fine as well!
When Pressing Multiple Layers
If you press multiple layers of HTV on a nylon, just follow the same steps mentioned above. However, it is recommended to do at least two 5-second presses after finishing off each layer.
As a general rule, when printing multiple layers of HTV, do not exceed up to three layers. Also, always place the glitter vinyl as the top layer. If you use glitter vinyl as the base layer, the other layered HTV won’t adhere to it and you’ll end up having a mess for your project.
Avoid Nylon Garments That Are Too Thin
When choosing a nylon garment, make sure to avoid materials that are too thin. If you’re in doubt that the material is too thin, look for other alternatives. If you use nylon materials that are too thin, you’ll most likely end up burning the surface.
You Need to Print on Flat Surface
Just like any other garment printing project, when pressing vinyl designs, it needs to be on a flat surface. If in case that’s not possible, for instance you’re printing on a bulky nylon bag, simply place a pillow or a rolled up shirt inside the bag, to flatten the printing surface.
Are nylon and neoprene the same?
Neoprene and nylon are confused most of the time, however these materials are different from each other. While nylon is sourced from plastic, neoprene is made of rubber. So the question is, can you heat press in neoprene? Yes, you can heat press on neoprene!
Just like nylon, neoprene is highly heat sensitive. So be careful of the temperature settings. Neoprene can also burn easily in high temperatures and longer press times. The heat press settings for neoprene are similar with nylon, depending on the thickness of the material.
Not all neoprene garments have the same thickness, so you may want to set your heat press on the lowest setting and work your way up as you go along. Of course, don’t forget to test print! Examples of neoprene garments which many printers use are straw bags, woven straw pouches, and faux leather.
Neoprene Suit - Photo by Sean McSeveney from Pexels
Can you use a home iron to print on nylon?
Yes! You can definitely use a home iron when printing on nylon. Home irons have lower temperature as compared to commercial heat press machines and even a Mini Heat Press, so it’ll be a perfect tool when printing on nylon garments.
Which means even with a home inkjet printer, TeckWrap Craft’s printable paper and a home iron, you can print on nylon garments and even other cotton garments. You can also use the Mini Heat press machine of TeckWrap Craft as it has low and high settings you can easily adjust.
However, if you want to cut vinyl, you’ll need to invest in a cutting machine, which is a great investment as you can print many designs. With a cutting machine, you can personalize other merchandise like a metal water bottle, wooden sign, glass and many more, using TeckWrap Craft’s collection of craft vinyl.
TeckWrapCraft Mini Press
Frequently Asked Questions
Is nylon heat-sensitive?
Yes, nylon is highly heat sensitive. In fact, nylon is classified as a thermoplastic material. That's why if you heat press on nylon, you need to start with the lowest heat press setting at 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
What kind of heat transfer vinyl can you print on nylon?
Generally speaking, you can use any kind of heat transfer vinyl to print on nylon. However, to prevent damage, it is best to avoid thicker vinyls like Puff and Glitter vinyl. Thicker vinyls require high heat and longer press times, which cannot be a great combination with nylon. When heat pressing on nylon, it is recommended to use thin vinyl like matte, opal and glossy vinyl.
What temp do you heat press nylon?
The recommended lowest temperature to heat press on nylon is 275 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this depends on the thickness of the material. If the nylon is too thick, you can increase the temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and test print on it. It is always recommended to test print before working on the whole project.
Now that’s another new craft lesson you learned today and for sure this will take you a long way. Knowing that you can heat press on nylon opens more garments for you to personalize, and of course more projects in the future.
Just remember to always test print and try a trial and error process. Also, always remember to use the lowest recommended settings and press in a 5 seconds interval to avoid the nylon from melting. That’s all you need to know! Now grab that nylon garment and start printing!