How to Start a T-Shirt Business at Home | Key Things to Know!

Learning how to start a t-shirt business at home has never been easier than it is today. No longer do you need a ton of money, equipment or a facility to have a profitable t-shirt printing business. Watch as Josh walks you through all the important steps and information you need to establish an at home t-shirt business so you can start making money as soon as possible!

00:00 – Start
01:23 – 5 Ways to Heat Press T-Shirts at Home
05:18 – What Heat Transfers to Use When
08:40 – Choosing a Start-up Heat Press & A2Z Overview
18:27 – Talking About ROI (Return on Investment)
19:22 – Choosing a Market & Type of Customer
25:07 – Other Resources to Grow Your Business

Products to Start Your Business:

Best Starter Heat Press –

Starter Heat Press Bundle –

Affordable Screen Print Transfers –

Versatile HTV Options –

FREE Educational Resources:

Ultimate Guide to Starting a T-Shirt Business:
Marketing Your T-Shirt Business:

Connect with us online:
Instagram: Stahlsheatprinting
Twitter: @StahlsIDDirect

For more heat printing tips and tricks, connect with Stahls’ Blog at

#startabusiness #tshirtbusiness #athomebusiness #stahlseducation
Hi I’m Josh Ellsworth with Stahls
and Stahls Transfer Express and thanks so
much for tuning in to this video, How to
Start Your Own T-Shirt Business from Home.
I’ve helped thousands of t-shirt
entrepreneurs get started
and make money with the heat press. A
heat press is a high profit machine
and i’m going to prove it to you in this
video and show you how to generate your
income from a spare bedroom a garage
maybe even a living room or a kitchen.
I’ve seen it all visiting different
and it all starts with a technology
called a Screen Printed Transfer.
At Stahls we have a division called
Transfer Express that manufactures
screen printed transfers
that get heat applied with a heat press
in four seconds or less it’s really
phenomenal. And you can make so much
money with
just a small machine like a heat press. A
shirt like this
including the garment the labor and the
transfer I can print
easily for seven dollars or less. You can
sell these all day
for a minimum of twelve dollars possibly
much more.
If you’re like me and you like math
that’s five dollars in profit for every
shirt that you print.
And you can print 50 of these shirts in
less than an hour
generating 250 dollars in income.
All you need to do is learn how to order
the right transfer,
make sure you have an accurate press, and
make sure you have
customers that you can sell to. I’m going
to help you with all three of those
over the course of this video. And I’d
like to start by explaining the five
most popular heat transfer types that
you can print from home
let’s get started with screen printed
transfers. Screen printing is still one
of the most popular technologies for
decorating apparel at retail,
and as a business you should be
interested in mimicking that look
with your heat press. With screen printed
transfers such as this Goof Proof
Transfer from Transfer Express you’re
getting actual
plastisol ink, the same stuff that’s used
in screen printing,
onto a paper carrier. The benefit of this
is you can group up multiple images onto
one sheet,
as long as they’re utilizing the same
colors. You can order these and they
start to make sense once you hit
15 shirts or more. You receive them in
all you do is trim them apart and heat
The finished result on the garment feels
great just like screen printing this is
the easiest way
to decorate t-shirts with a heat press.
The second way I want to show you to
heat press a shirt is with heat transfer
We call it CAD-CUT. This product is
especially popular
because you can do extremely low
quantities cost effectively
as little as one and personalization
which is really popular right now.
You can buy this by the roll, load it
into what’s called a vinyl cutter, their
desktop or industrial units.
You cut your vector design in the mirror
image, weed away the excess and you get
your pieces ready to press.
So unlike screen printed transfers where
we’re getting everything
all of the colors on one transfer sheet
and they apply it once.
When you’re working with multiple colors
and heat transfer vinyl we need to layer.
So we cut each roll each color
separately, piece them together on the
shirt at the press and finish the job.
Because of these steps involved this
isn’t ideal for
very fine detail artwork because we need
to complete the weeding process.
And you really want to keep your color
count down, but one of the biggest
benefits of heat transfer vinyl
is the range of special effects from
reflective to
glitter to metallics to foils. There are
so many finishes that you can complete
on a heat press
with heat transfer vinyl. The third way I
want to show you to decorate
apparel with your heat press is Print
Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl. It’s a little
bit different than standard heat
transfer vinyl because in this case the
material just comes to you
in clear or white. You actually need to
have a printer
cutter, solvent, latex one of these large
format machines to be able to print
all of the colors that you need onto the
vinyl. Now the benefit of this is i can
as many colors as I want onto a transfer
without increasing my cost. No more
layering involved
just print, cut, weed, mask and then you’re
ready to heat apply.
Print Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl comes in
many different styles and it’s great
from everything from t-shirts to
athletic wear
and there are special effect finishes
such as glitter that you can use with
the process.
If your design has three or more colors
and it’s a low quantity
you’re going to want to look at print
and cut heat transfer vinyl to complete
the job.
Option number four, and this is one I’m
really excited about because it’s brand
new technology for 2020. We call it a Digital Screen Printed Transfer.
So in the past we’ve had to use
print cut heat transfer vinyl for jobs
sizes that really weren’t ideal
for printing, cutting, weeding, masking.
Completing all the steps that we just
talked about.
Or maybe there was too much detail in
the design that i didn’t want to
weed it. And so you know we have screen
printed transfers, you know we have
digital which means printing’s involved
and so we have this
Digital Screen Printed Transfer. Now you
can get a heat transfer that combines
the best of both worlds,
digital printing and screen printing.
Allowing for fine detail,
cost savings as you go up in quantity,
and lots of opportunity
for multiple colors all on one sheet.
Group different designs
single step application I love this
technology for decorating
t-shirts, performance wear, and more. Okay
I want to take a brief time out now that
you’ve reviewed what I call the core 4
print technologies for heat transfer.
Believe it or not
those four print methods that you just
learned a little bit about
are going to be used for I would say 95 percent
or more of the jobs that you’re going to
want to print in your business.
And so the natural question is “How do I
decide which one to use?” We’ve given you
some baseline understanding, but there
has to be an easy way to process this.
And so just to give you a little
background and some context, I was sitting
in a room.
Gosh it was probably about two years ago
with some of the largest contract
in our industry out at our Transfer
Express West facility
in Arizona. Over the course of a couple
days we were talking about a lot of
topics, but one of the topics that came up, one of their challenges
was “How do I
equip my sales people to quickly select
the right transfer product? So we can do
a quote quickly and we can order the
right product quickly and there’s some
to how we’re doing this.” And so here’s
what we came up with
it’s a “What to Use When” grid. And these
big dogs, these experts they’re using
this grid. And I mean these are the
largest of the largest contract
but it’s something you can use too even
in your small startup
from home business. You’ll see the four
print techniques that we’ve talked about
so far represented on the grid,
and you’ll also see along the X and the
Y axis
a number of colors in your design or
your logo in quantity of garments.
And so all you need to do is figure out
how many colors are in the logo pretty
easy to figure out right
what quantity the customer may want to
order and go ahead and see where those
accesses join and that gives you your
print method
it’s going to be the lowest cost option
that allows you to print your job
and most importantly it’s going to add
consistency into your selection
all of these products are high quality
and durable this just helps you to get
to the right one
a little bit faster okay so as i told
you uh there is a fifth print method
um that’s involved here and it’s new
technology it’s a water-based transfer
it’s most like
our screen printed transfers but those
are plastisol ink traditional screen
uh this is water-based not highly
utilized as one of our top four methods
but nonetheless
important for you to know about in case
you want to do something super premium
on the results so let’s show you that
one okay so we have the fifth product
that we finally come to and i call this
the filet mignon of heat transfers
because it is a
premium finish now we’re talking about
more new technology that is a
screen printed transfer so you remember
that first screen printed transfer that
we applied
well that was plastisol water base is
where screen printing is heading
and now you can apply water-based
transfers with your heat press
the advantage is that you get something
that’s buttery soft
on the garment that has stretch that it
can apply to practically any fabric
so you want to take your business out of
t-shirts and start applying nylon
while water-based screen printed
transfers are the ticket
this product is called Aquatru
so there you go we have those five
different ways to print apparel at home
with your heat press and
by no means does that include all of the
ways I like to say
there is a whole umbrella of print
methods and technologies that can go
underneath your heat press and as we get
to the end of this video
i’m going to show you a lot of different
finishes and styles that you can
complete with your heat press from home
but before i get too far i want to make
sure that we talk about investing in the
right heat press because
as you might imagine this is the
cornerstone of your printing business
you’re seeing a heat press on my desk
here um the A2Z is the heat press that i’m
going to show you
and in the last video footage you saw
the Stahls Maxx machine
at Stahls we manufacture a wide
selection of heat presses
uh everything from entry level to super
high end as we’ve talked about
from 600 dollars to eight thousand
is the price point but uh regardless of
what heat press you select you need to
make sure you have accuracy
in time temperature and pressure because
that really makes sure that the items
that you are creating
are going to be of high quality and
they’re going to last there’s certainly
a lot of machines out there on the
that don’t deliver accurate time
temperature and pressure
we’ve designed this A2Z heat press
specifically for you
for a startup home decorator that wants
to get into heat printing and do it
with quality so i’d like to show you the
features of this press now
in a previously recorded video the first
thing i want you to notice about this
is that it swings away this gives me a
complete heat free
workspace to place my t-shirts and also
to position my design
i have a high quality t-shirt here that
i’m just going to load onto the press
and make sure my pressing area is
completely flat by just draping the
off of the back edge of the press i
programmed the press to 360 degrees
it has accurate digital time and we know
that’s exactly the temperature that it
is anywhere
on this heat pressing surface i’m going
to preheat my garment by locking it down
for just a few seconds and then
open the machine there’s a nice handle
to swing the machine away
and then i’m going to position my design
this is a screen printed transfer
and we make them from
this is actual screen printing ink and
the big secret here is that you can now
screen print from home
with this machine with the same
durability that you see
in the retail store position your design
where you’d like it
onto your garment bring the heat press
back into the location
and lock it down this transfer only
takes four to six seconds
to heat apply once it’s complete i open
the press
and i peel the back of my design and i
have a design that sticks
and it stays through many washes
now not only can this press print screen
printed transfers it can also print heat
transfer vinyl
to heat apply the version of heat
transfer vinyl that we have
i’m going to go ahead and reduce the
temperature on my digital control
board down to 300 degrees
and we will set the timer for 10 seconds
we’re going to apply
a glitter design that’s been cut on my
cameo vinyl cutter wait for the press to
cool down and i’ll show you how to print
a bag
when printing an item like a bag there
is a lot of seam structure so it’s not
just a product you can lay on top of a
and be able to print with any accuracy
because you need to get your item flat
now the A2Z heat press has a
semi-threadable design
that means when we look underneath it we
can actually split our item open
whether that’s from the front or from
the back to load it easier to get rid of
that bulk and seam
let me show you how it works you just
split the item open and we’re going to
slide it up on the press
that gets me the start of a flat
printing area and then i’ll either take
a Heat Printing Pillow or what we call a
Print Perfect Pad
and i’ll slide it under the item to make
sure that that print location which is
right here
with my monogram glitter design is
it’s raised versus all of these seams
this heat press does have an adjustable
pressure it’s right here on the back of
the machine
it’s okay that’s on the back because it
is a swing away style press
that locks straight down when you’re
using it so bring the machine over
i’m going to retract the pressure just
by turning this counterclockwise
and i’m going to lock the machine down
to get a feel for the pressure
and i’ll just make adjustments until i
get an accurate pressure
on the print location that i want to use
i have the machine set we’ll position
our glitter
heat transfer vinyl design
we’ll bring the press back over center
and i’ll press it for the 300 degrees
for 10 seconds so whether you want to
t-shirts or bags you can do it on the a
to z heat press
screen printed transfers or heat
transfer vinyl very accurately
after it’s been applied i’ll peel the
backing while it’s hot for this design
and i have a high quality completed
very easy to do let’s move on to our
next item
team uniforms are a big opportunity for
your heat press business
i’m going to decorate this mesh
polyester football jersey
with a product called thermofilm in
pre-cut numbers
for this i’ll need another tool that’s a
heat printing
pillow the heat printing pillow is going
to slide into your jersey
to separate the layers of mesh so that
they don’t stick together
when it comes to applying your design so
i’ll just slide the pillow in
center the jersey onto my press
again i’ll swing the press back around
and conduct a preheat i have a nice
15 by 15 inch printing surface which is
going to give me
plenty of room to be able to decorate
with single or double digit numbers
these come loose with the adhesive on
the back i’ll position that into place
in this case i’ll use a craft paper
cover sheet
and then i’ll heat apply thermofilm
for eight seconds
lock the machine down it will count down
to zero and beep when it’s completed
now let’s flip the jersey to be able to
print the back
i just need to make some slight
to my pillow make sure i can see my
print location
also going to preheat the back
position my back number into place
cover and heat apply
thermofilm is the fastest easiest way to
athletic uniforms in the a to z heat
makes applying thermal fill numbers
easier than ever
for the next item i want to show you how
to decorate a jacket this is a quarter
zip so we’re going to utilize
our semi threadable and be able to split
the jacket
over the bottom to load it on
and there’s still some seams up on the
pressing area and zippers
so i’ll take my Print Perfect Pad i’ll
slide it inside of my jacket
into the left chest print location that
i’m trying to hit
to make sure my pressure is accurate
and any pressure adjustment can be made
on the press
and this heat press is capable of
applying any transfer type
in this case we’re using a digital full
transfer to put a company logo
onto this item it’s a nice 15 by 15 inch
printing surface it allows me to see the
placement of my design
make sure it’s lined up correctly cover
and heat apply
a high quality completed result
now that you know the products that you
can create let’s take a look at all of
the features on the A2Z heat press
first it has digital time and
which produce accurate quality results
two it has a pressure adjustment that
allows the machine
to be raised and lowered to adjust the
pressure and to accommodate
the thickness of your item or Print
Perfect Pad or Heat Printing Pillow
the press features a nice swing away
design that allows for a completely
heat free workspace for both placing
your graphic
and also being able to see over top of
your item for alignment
next the press has a convenient handle
to be able to return the machine
back to the pressing location and a
shovel handle design
with a Foam Pad to make for comfort when
you’re locking down the machine
the base of the press is semi threadable
allowing you to split your item
and print more items than ever before we
everything from A2Z also this machine
has interchangeable
attachments there’s a knob underneath
the lower platen that allows you to
remove the 15 by 15 attachment
and load another size if you need to for
printing your item
and last but not least this is made in
the usa which means
quality accuracy and durability not only
of the machine itself
but also of the products that you create
so for less than 700 dollars i think the
A2Z heat press is a
great startup option and just to talk a
little bit about roi you remember this
shirt that we reviewed at the very
beginning of the video
when we talked about the profit
potential on this shirt we said
five dollars in profit if we could sell
it for twelve dollars which i think is a
really low price
uh for 50 shirts so take that five
dollars in profit
multiplied by the 50 shirts in an hour
250 dollars an hour
so on your list right now one of your
goals should be to sell
three jobs of 50 shirts or six jobs of
25 shirts
that’s gonna mean you’re gonna print 150
shirts it’s gonna take you less than
three hours with screen printed
and you’re gonna pay off your machine
and and from then on out
it’s profits you can get a ton of return
on an investment of a heat press and you
can print so much more than just
t-shirts with screen printed transfers
as you’ve already started to learn and
so let’s talk about the types of
customers that you can reach with the
heat press
some let’s show you some different
designs some different products some
finishes that you can achieve with your
heat press printing from home
for our first market let’s focus on
sports and spirit
and take a look at a few different
garments and items this is a spike
cancer event shirt
something very popular is doing event
shirts for games or special events
related to school sports and spirit
we have a seat cover here that’s
customized with
two colors of heat transfer vinyl items
like this as long as you can get them
flat can be decorated on
the heat press team uniforms as you saw
earlier certainly a big category
from stretchy materials that work on
stretch fabrics like this volleyball
to highly durable twill materials
that can just be heat applied that look
like they’re sewn
on this hockey jersey even sublimated
patches that can be applied
with the heat press to get a full color
twill design
don’t be afraid to expand the items that
you’re offering here we have the down
the leg print
with an electric heat transfer vinyl
that’s a nice and easy customization
foil one of the top selling effects that
you can do with the heat press
in this case we’re doing a baseball mom
shirt you can do all sorts of
fan apparel and support for sports teams
in schools
i love this look because we’re combining
glitter with
a pattern foil so mixing and matching
different materials
helps to have your results stand out and
is going to generate more
revenue flowing through your heat press
and here’s another great look
just selecting a high-end blank item
like this
glitter hoodie and pairing it with
glitter and flat
heat transfer vinyl creates a great look
so sports school
spirit top market to sell to with your
heat press
another big potential market that’s
available in nearly every community are
promotional products to promote a brand
as well as small business apparel so
whether that is a face
cover with a corporate brand that you
see here
or a neck gator
a polo shirt
a bag or even
reflective finishes for industries like
or construction there are a ton
of opportunities for decorating higher
end items with higher end looks on the
heat press as well for businesses around
town another very popular use for the
heat press is printing graphic tees or
a clothing line in this case you can see
the detail of the electric and flat
that’s been used to customize this
flannel shirt with all sorts of
in detailing in the graphic
the heat press is capable of doing
rhinestones and the advantage of using
your heat press to decorate like this is
you can print to order as you realize
your sale
through your ecommerce store etsy or
wherever you’re selling
even printing on onesies is extremely
popular use for these products a lot of
the heat transfer products are cpsia
which means they can be used on
children’s apparel it’s a great
we see a lot of customization with
higher end
styles with for female fashion in
so lots of different looks that you can
do for printing graphic tees for
e-commerce fulfillment
the next category is personalization
whether that’s for
general back-to-school opportunities
holidays and the like
in this case with the heat transfer
vinyl and a vinyl cutter you can do
quantities as little as one this is a
red reflective material
we have a holiday placemat that’s been
done for the harris family christmas
another sales opportunity
personalized stockings another great
sales opportunity heading into christmas
you can personalize handbags on your
heat press
whether that’s a clutch like this with
basic or glitter
heat transfer film
birthday shirts another great
opportunity again great sales
opportunity for selling
on online platforms
customized with foil
and another example of a tote bag all of
these items
very easy to print you just need to find
the market that you want to sell to
there’s certainly a big opportunity to
get group orders for your heat presses
with events
in this case we have a full color
digital screen printed transfer for this
spring break tee
as well as flock personalization which
is a type of heat transfer vinyl
onto this beach towel again both of
those opportunities for
spring break type event also
walks and runs whether they’re for
charity or something else
these are very easy and you can heat
press performance wear
very easily onto your heat press in this
case we see we can even decorate tie dye
this shirt for a county fair or if you
want to do higher end items like
full color prints paired with reflective
racing gear for a weekend or for a brand
all of this is possible
another big market is municipalities
whether that’s
police fire ems paramedic
so many opportunities await in your own
local community
so as you can see there are a lot of
different items you can print
looks you can achieve in markets that
you can reach
with just a heat press printing from
now i don’t want you to get overwhelmed
because it actually can be pretty simple
we showed you that what to use when
grid up front because it does help with
the product selection process
knowing that you can order all of these
items completed for you
from transfer express and from Stahls
and when you buy
any heat press from Stahls or Transfer
Express we include something called a
Marketing Kit
this marketing kit is going to have
samples of all the different screen
printed transfer options and digital
screen print transfer options and that’s
going to be the best way for you to
start printing in your business
if you already have a vinyl cutter if
you’re eyeing up a vinyl cutter
you can also get heat transfer vinyl
samples it comes with your a to z heat
press investment as well
and so here at Stahls we specialize in
teaching you really how to print
items and we have thousands of hours of
on our StahlsTV YouTube channel and so
that channel
is going to be your best friend so make
sure that you subscribe to the StahlsTV
YouTube channel
and you can work through the different
videos and we launch about three to five
videos a week
teaching you how to make looks that you
have just seen for the different markets
and so we’ll teach you how to print you
really need to figure out
what market you’re going to approach who
you’re going to sell to who is going to
be your customer and i’m guessing if
you’re watching this video
you may already have some ideas uh to
that end
i would recommend that you write those
ideas down who are the top five
uh customer types that you’re gonna sell
sell to um after you get the types let’s
say you’re going to sell to small
i would encourage you to brainstorm a
list of the sales
of the small businesses that you’re
going to uh call first this is a start
of a marketing plan a sales and
marketing plan
and really a plan for your business
if you need more help on marketing i’ve
read an outstanding book
that i’m going to recommend to you it’s
called “Marketing Made Simple”
and it’s written by Donald Miller. I can
teach you a lot about sales and
marketing but i’m telling you
this book you could probably read it
over the course of a day or two
it’s going to be a great companion to
our how-to advice on how to print stuff
it will teach you how to create a
marketing plan for your business how to
find your voice how to really
reach the customers that are going to be
able to buy the products so you can get
the return
and maybe one day turn this from a side
to a full-time job and generate income
for your household
so make sure you’re subscribing to the
stahls tv channel
if you want to invest in this heat press
you’re ready to take that next step in
your business
there’s links in the description below
and that will direct you to the press
into some packages that we’ve set up
with the accessories you’re going to
to get started and i’m going to
encourage you to comment on this video
if you have a question about something
that you’ve watched
ask it in the comments section i’m
standing by reviewing the comments as
well as our other educators
our entire goal at Stahls and Stahls
Transfer Express
is to help you be successful in your
apparel decorating business
why when you’re successful you buy more
t-shirts from us
and you buy more transfers from us and
you buy more vinyl from us
and it’s a win-win relationship so best
of luck as you look to get started
in your heat printing business and we’re
here if you need help
thanks for watching