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Uses for a Heat Press

26th November 2013

Uses for a Heat Press

Collage_SwingEven though it might not seem like it at first glance,  a heat press is a very versatile piece of equipment.  While it’s true that all a heat press can do is heat up and press things,  the variety of  techniques for which it can be used may well make it one of the most valuable instruments in your shop.    Adding a heat press to your set-up can open up a whole host of opportunities for new markets and new sales.    If you’ve never considered adding a heat press to your shop before,  here are some uses for a heat press that may make you think again.

Use 1:  Sublimation – Dye sublimation is a process by which a special ink is printed on a special paper and then the transfer is heat pressed on a polyester garment or a poly coated substrate.  Sublimation offers you the ability to do more complicated designs on garments,  as well as widening the number of items you can offer to your customers.  If you’ve ever wanted to offer mousepads or coffee mugs or jewelry boxes,  then sublimation is the discipline for you.

Use 2:  Screenprint or plastisol transfers – Screenprint is a very popular decorating technique,  but it does have a learning curve,  and setting up a shop can be expensive.    Plastisol transfers allow you to offer screenprinted garments and items to your customers without having to do the screenprinting yourself.  All you need is a transfer,  an item to embellish,  and a heat press and you’re in business.

Use 3:  Vinyl –  This is another popular decoration technique that can be used on garments and other items.  Vinyl is often popular for the names and numbers on sports jerseys and team uniforms.   If you have a lot of school or sports league business available in your area,  vinyl may well be a great addition to your product offerings.

Use 4:  Rhinestones –  If bling is your thing,  then you’ll love rhinestone transfers.   A heat applied rhinestone transfer allows you to add sparkle to garments and other items without having to deal with the hassle of buying rhinestones and placing them yourself.

Use 5:  Decorated patches –  A blank patch,  embroidered or screenprinted by you,  can be heat sealed onto a garment,  backpack or other item.   Sublimated patches are a terrific way to make complicated designs with many colors simple.     If you have a design that won’t translate well into embroidery or screenprint,  put it on a sublimated patch and then heat seal it to the item to be decorated.    Your complicated design is now decorating the item of your choice with one easy press.

Finally,  if all else fails,  and you’re having a busy day at the shop,  you can always make a quick snack on your press.  Now,  we don’t recommend this option,  but it can be done and apparently,  the grilled cheese sandwich turns out quite tasty.

Clearly,  a heat press has many uses,  but some of you may still feel that a heat press isn’t right for your business.   Since it is the season of giving,  and since we are thankful for our customers and those who take an interest in EnMart,   we don’t want you to leave without a little something.    Use this coupon to take 5% off your order of $50 or more.  Happy Holidays!



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8th February 2012

The Uses of Garment Decoration

Whether you call it flash,  bling,  sparkle,  embroidery, sublimation, personalization,  or any number of other names,  the fact is that decoration on clothing has been and most likely always will be popular.  From a discreet monogram on the cuff of a dress shirt to the full on sparkle of a rhinestone design,   people love wearing clothing and carrying items that have been decorated in some way.    I suppose that’s not really surprising. Decorated clothing or associated items can have a lot of uses.

Decoration Unifies.  There’s a reason that teams all wear matching shirts and jackets or carry bags monogrammed with the team name.   It’s the same reason that’s behind corporate logowear and the servers in your favorite restaurant all wearing the same shirt.    Dressing everyone alike provides a sense of unity.  It also allows team members to be easily identified.

Decoration Adds Drama. Everyone notices the bra with the bling and the shirt with the sparkle.  Carrying an awesome sublimated tote bag or wearing an amazing embroidered shirt will draw attention.    A well decorated garment can be like a work of art.

Decoration Personalizes.  There’s a reason people monogram everything from sheets to towels to shirt cuffs.   Personalization takes something that could be one of many and makes it unique.   It could be a name embroidered on a backpack or your monogram on a set of towels,  but the decoration makes the item that much more yours.

Decoration Proclaims Allegiance.   We don’t just pledge allegiance to the flag,  many of us wear it proudly on decorated garments.   People will wear sports jerseys with the names and numbers of their favorite players or a rhinestone shirts that proclaims they are hockey moms or dads.   A decorated garment allows you to tell the world what you like and what you support without you having to say a word.

Decoration Elevates the Boring.   Blank is blah.   Adding a decorative border,  a picture or a saying can elevate a garment from flat to fantastic.   While it’s probably true that not every garment needs to be decorated,  it is also true that decoration can add more interest to the garment and to the outfit of which it is a part.

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28th September 2011

Our Hopes on Our Sleeves

Erich Campbell wrote a fabulous post, “In Memory of Heroes“, talking about work he did to help commemorate and memorialize the events of 9/11.  It’s an amazing post,  but it’s the last paragraph that absolutely kills me,  and which spawned this post.

I’ve always contended that embroidery is important, and that it allows us to wear our affiliations, our beliefs and even our hopes, literally on our sleeves. If any wonder how I came to believe so firmly in our need to wear such symbols, it’s easy to define: My beliefs were made of the sadness of the survivors, the pride for those who served and the support of a nation in a time of great need. As we commemorate that fateful day, I wonder how many people will be dutifully dusting off a cap pulled from some corner of their closet, and once again donning those symbols. I wonder how much of that work that passed through our hands and our machines has survived to bear witness to our collective support even to this day. As I look upon a sample of appliqué we tested for an FDNY design that I still keep on my desk, I hope our work does as much honor now to the fallen and those who forged ahead as we hoped it would then.

Anyone who decorates garments or creates promotional products for a living probably has had at least one day when they wonder if it’s worth it.    There’s the bad artwork,  the cranky customers,  the balky machines,  any number of issues specific to running a garment decoration or promotional products business,  and then there’s the added issues that can come with running any kind of business.   There is also the pressure to create,  to make something where there was nothing.

It’s easy,  in the day to day grind,  to forget that what’s being created is more than just a polo shirt with a logo on it,  or a mug with a grandchild’s picture.   What’s being created is a symbol and a memory that will be treasured long after it leaves your shop.  It’s easy to forget because it seems so ordinary,  it is after all, what you do, day after day to pay the bills.

The thing is,  what’s created matters.  It has a life and a meaning beyond simply being fabric and thread,  or a substrate and ink.  I suppose it’s easier to remember the significance when the items being made are to commemorate a major event, like 9/11,  but whether the event only has meaning for one person or one million,   it still has meaning.

Today,  when you’re struggling with that hard to hoop garment,  or dealing with a clogged printer nozzle remember that what you do is more than the sum of its parts.   Whether it’s a t-shirt commemorating someone’s first 10K run or a plaque that denotes years of faithful service, the items you create have a life and a significance long past when they leave your shop.

posted in Garment Decoration | 1 Comment

7th September 2011

Ntrans ScreenPrint Transfers

I spend a lot of time talking about the things we sell, and it’s often the thread and sublimation supplies that are the star of the show.  That’s probably as it should be,  since machine embroidery thread is necessary for machine embroidery and sublimation inks and papers and printers are all needed before one single thing is sublimated.    Still,  all this talk about the main events sometimes means that some great products don’t get the press they should.   I wanted to correct that problem today by talking a little bit about our Ntrans Screenprint Transfers.

For those who are not familiar with them, Ntrans Transfers are screenprint transfers that have been created specifically for industrial laundries and with our own formulation.  Unlike most screenprint transfers,  our transfers have a smooth feel and appearance,  as well as vibrant colors.   They also are designed to withstand and industrial wash and dry without cracking, peeling or fading.  These transfers are tough and ready to take anything ordinary life can throw at them.

Ordering Ntrans transfers is a simple process.  Just select the Ntrans Screenprint Transfers menu link,  and then select the number of colors in your design.   Once you’ve selected the number of colors,  choose your size.   We offer up to 3 x 5,  or over 3 x 5 to 11 x 11.   An 11 x 11 transfer is the largest we can create.   Once you’ve selected the number of colors and the size of your transfer,   list the actual dimensions of the transfer and the actual colors you require,  using color names or PMS numbers,  and then add any additional instructions.    The minimum order of screenprint transfers is 12,  and the transfers are not ganged.

After the order has been placed,  please follow the instructions for submitting artwork.   It is always helpful to have a picture or sketch of how the transfer is meant to look,  and vector artwork is always helpful.   The better the quality of the artwork that is submitted to us,  the better the quality of the finished transfer.   Once we have received your artwork,  we will create a digital sketch of how the finished transfer will look, which will be sent via e-mail at no charge.

Once you have received your transfers,  you’ll discover just how easy they are to apply.    We offer instruction via video, or written instruction on how to properly apply your Ntrans screenprint transfers.    Please make sure to follow these instructions precisely.    If you do,  you’ll find that EnMart’s screenprint transfers are a great addition to your garment decoration business.

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7th December 2010

Add Color with Screenprint Transfers

We know a lot of places sell screen print transfers.   In fact, because so many other places sell transfers, the first question we often get is what makes our Ntrans transfers different?   The secret to the success of Ntrans is the mixture of inks used to create the designs. Our method of mixing inks is unique and allows us to create screen-print transfers that have an unmatched clarity and depth of color. The transfer also goes down more smoothly on the fabric, giving the design a more polished look and making the garment more comfortable to wear.

These transfers are also industrial laundry tough.    They were originally designed for our parent company, Ensign Emblem,  which provides emblems and other identification products.   The Ntrans transfers were designed to withstand an industrial wash and dry without cracking, peeling or losing their color.    This is one tough transfer.

Ntrans screenprint transfers can be used anywhere on a garment that an emblem, direct embroidery or a screen printed design can be used. There are no limitations on the number of colors in the design. Size limitations are as follows:
• Up to a 3”x5” Image Size – Left of Right Chest, Sleeve, Yoke
• Up to 11”x11” Image Size – Back or Front of Garment

The minimum amount of transfers which may be ordered is 12.   Transfers are sold individually, not ganged,  so please be aware you are ordering one transfer,  no one sheet of transfers, when you place your order.   Submitting the artwork for your transfers is simple and vector artwork is preferred.   Application of the transfers is also easy and only requires a garment and the use of a heat press.

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9th August 2010

Every Logo Has a Niche

Last week I wrote a post about the fact that everything that gets printed isn’t necessarily suited for embroidery. Later in the week I was discussing the post with the owner of our company and one of our embroidery experts, who had given me a lot of the information that had gone into the original post, when she said a very wise thing. “You know,” she said to me “every logo has its niche.”

What she meant by “every logo has its niche” is that every logo has a medium that will allow it to be produced in the best way. Our challenge as decorators is to determine which method will allow the logo to shine, and then to convince the customer that method is the best way to proceed. Unfortunately, that isn’t always as easy as it should be. That’s why, sometimes, a short demonstration is in order.  In order for you to see what I mean,  I’ve provided a demonstration here in this post.

Let’s start with the original artwork.  The instructions are hand written and certain items are to be deleted from the finished product.  The artwork also uses fades and shading to define the images.   Beginning with this artwork,  most shops generally have three options for creating the finished design,  embroidery, screenprint and sublimation.   Some shops may also have the option of direct to garment printing,  but most of the advantages of sublimation are also present in direct to garment printing so, for the purposes of this discussion,  we’ll put them in the same category.

This is the original artwork as an embroidered emblem.  Fades don’t generally translate well into an embroidered design. This look may be acceptable to some customers,  but it may not be the best choice for this particular design.

This is the same artwork as a screen printed design.  The colors and clearer and the shadows are more defined.  It is a better representation of the design and would probably suit the needs of most customers.

This is the same artwork as a sublimated design.  The shadows are clearly defined and the fades are crisp.  This is a representation of the original artwork that would satisfy almost every customer.

Granted,  this is a fairly simplistic example,  and was also done using emblems,  since that is the primary product of our parent company,  but the basic message is still intact.  Each logo has a garment decoration technique that is an ideal match,  and it is our job as the experts to help our customers find that match.  The more you know about how each technique works,  and what the strengths and weaknesses are of each technique,  the better able you will be to help your customers make the right decision when it comes time to choose how their logo will be represented.

posted in Garment Decoration | 1 Comment

17th June 2009

Machine Embroidery Projects

bride-machine-embroideryI spend a lot of time on the Internet.  I also, since I work for a machine embroidery supplies company, spend a lot of time researching various issues related to machine embroidery.  Lately I’ve spent a lot of time looking at available design sets and seeing what else is out there in the way of machine embroidery projects.  Today I thought I would share a bit of what I’ve found with our readers.

Perfect Little Stitches has a great array of free machine embroidery projects.   Any or all of these projects would look great when embroidered with Iris thread.  I especially like the embroidered umbrella and the embroidered bug hat (so useful in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this time of year).

Embroidery Treasures, which is a great blog by the way, has some terrific free projects available.   The baked potato bag is cute, as are the dishwasher hangers.

Secrets of Embroidery has an extensive list of machine embroidery projects.  Just going through them all could take hours.   You could wear out a lot of needles if you tried to create all these projects in one go.

You can also find some great free embroidery designs at Embroidery Designs.com.   They have some cute stuff.

If you’re looking for machine embroidery designs for a new baby,  Needle Passion Embroidery has a great set of baby themed designs.   These would look great when embroidered with EnMart’s Baby Gift thread palette.

Whatever the project or design that you decide to embroider, I wanted to remind everyone that EnMart has always the supplies you need to make your stitch outs shine.   We also love to see what our customers create with our products, so if you’ve done something you especially like, please share a photo with us.

posted in Garment Decoration | 1 Comment

15th April 2009

Save Time and Money with Ntrans

Summer is coming and with the season comes all the great jobs the screen printers and embroiderers love so much.  Maybe it’s a bunch of shirts for a summer camp, or for a vacation Bible school.   Perhaps you’ve been asked to do the shirts for a large family or class reunion.  The possibilities are endless and, sometimes, so is the work.  In today’s economic climate, everyone is working on ways to reduce costs and save on time.  If you offer screen printed garments to your customers, EnMart has a product that can help you do just that.

Ntrans transfers are a unique screen print transfer available only from EnMart.   Designed specifically for garment decorators by garment decorators, Ntrans offers  a clarity and depth of color that other screen print transfers just can’t match.  Our transfers also adhere smoothly to the fabric, creating a design that is more comfortable to wear, and much more resistant to cracking, peeling and fading than most transfers.

EnMart’s Ntrans tranfers can be used anywhere on a garment that an emblem, direct embroidery or screen print can be used.  There are no limitations on the colors that can be used in the design.   The transfers do work best on 100% cotton fabric, although cotton/poly blends will work as well.  The fabric on which the transfer will be placed needs to be able to stand up to heat, since the transfers will be sealed to the garment with a heat press.

Ntrans transfers allow you to add screen printed designs to your garments without having to create the designs yourself.  Instead of creating screens and laying down colors, you simply press the transfer to the garment, let it cool, peel back the paper and your done.  If you need multiple copies of the same design, NTrans can help you save on supplies and labor costs.   You can also save on inventory costs, since you only need to stock the garments you’re going to use.  Since Ntrans can be quickly and easily applied, you don’t have to have a stock of shirts already created in case of a last minute order.

Placing an order  for Ntrans is easy.  Simply go to the EnMart store and follow the instructions.  Turnaround time for transfer orders can be as little as three days, depending on the complexity of the design and the size of the order.

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11th March 2009

Presentation Matters

I’m the Director of Marketing for this company.  It’s my job to make sure that we present the best face to the world that we can.  I scrutinize every piece we put out, every web site we create and every blog post I write to make sure that I’m presenting our company and our products in the best light I possibly can.  Because of what I do, I’m very aware that presentation matters.  I also know that using the best products is the easiest way to get the best presentation.

Our parent company, Ensign Emblem, does machine embroidery and screenprint transfers for a specific group of companies, industrial laundries.  These are companies that create uniforms which advertise people’s businesses.  Logos that look crisp and colorful matter.  Embroidery that holds up under time and industrial washing conditions matters.  Quality construction  of emblems and transfers matters.  When you’re creating an embroidery or an emblem or a transfer that advertises someone’s business,  anything less than the best is unacceptable.

We know that you, like us, want to give your customer’s logos and designs the best treatment possible.   EnMart would like to help you do just that.  Whether you’re looking for thread that holds its color  or emblems that can stand up to repeated washings or transfers that are colorful and comfortable to wear, we have you covered.  Just stop by our store and see what EnMart has to offer.

A reminder:  EnMart is running a Spring Sports Spectacular in March.  10% off 12 colors of thread including black and white and 10% off cap backing.

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18th February 2009


My mother died seven years ago this September.  One of the best mementos I have of her is a t-shirt that my late grandmother made for each member of the family back when my Dad started his river guide business.  Grandma made shirts for each of us with the name and logo of the business and our names on them.  When Mom died, I knew that one of the things I wanted was that shirt.  I don’t wear it often, but I do keep it.  Somehow it seems like it gives me a personal connection to Mom.

For those who run an embroidery business, personalization can be a great way to increase profits and bring in new customers.  Almost anything can be personalized these days.   You can embroider a blanket for a new baby.   You can embroider a monogram and personalize a travel mug.   You can embroider a name and logo to create customized company polo shirts. You can embroider coasters or compacts, totes and purses or almost any item you can name. The only limits are those of your machine and your imagination.

If you’re looking for supplies to use in your personalization efforts, EnMart can certainly help you find what you need.   We offer the Baby Gift Thread Palette for all your personalized baby gifts.    We have Metallic Embroidery Needles for embroidering that shiny monogram in metallic thread.  EnMart also offers blanks that can be used to personalize corporate wear.  Odds are, whatever you need for your personalization efforts, EnMart has it.

Let’s face it, everyone wants to feel like they’re special and an individual.  Creating clothing and other items that are personalized is a great way to give people that feeling while also increasing your revenue.

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