There are two basic ways to make more money in business: Sell more of your wares to existing customers, or sell your existing wares to new customers. If you are a sign business doing most of your work with a plotter and adhesive backed vinyl, there’s an easy way to do both of these at once. You can sell more of your wares to your existing sign customers and sell vector graphics to much larger market just by adding a Heat Press and some Thermal Transfer Film.

An investment of only $300 or more can turn your sign shop into a custom t-shirt shop. Hello, new customers! For those who are ready to take on extra business, try this basic thermal transfer primer.

Construction & Design Process

SignWarehouse offers over a dozen CAD cut thermal transfer films including EnduraTex, Chemica, Siser Easy Weed and more. As with all CAD thermal graphics, when you cut the film, you are cutting the liner and not the face stock. Because of this, you’ll have to flip your design creating a mirror image of the intended graphic before you send it to the plotter.

Recommended Plotter Settings

Thermal transfer film is very thin so you don’t need a special blade or a lot of force. Our best-selling HotMark 70 is only 50 microns thick, which equates roughly to 2mil. Use a standard 45" blade and set your plotter for about 75 grams of force or whatever setting you normally use for plotting cast vinyl.

Weed it, Flip It, Press it, Peel It

Once you’ve cut your graphic, weed it just as you would normal vinyl. Once it’s weeded, you’ll have the clear liner with the diamond pattern showing the graphic on the bottom. Place the weeded graphic on the garment on your heat press so that it is now "right reading". If you’re still looking at a mirror version of the image, it's upside down and will stick to the heat press instead of the shirt.


What if your customer wants a multi-colored graphic requiring three colors? To create a layered graphic, cut the bottom element and apply it to the garment as usual. Allow it to cool, then peel the liner and add the next layer as you did the first.