How to Print on Caps
Making custom caps and hats is not only profitable on a per unit basis, but is incredibly popular!
Almost every shopping mall in America has some kind of custom cap franchise or kiosk in it, always full of customers adding another custom hat to their collection.
But all of those caps are embroidered, not printed. Embroidering on a cap or hat does produce a great, long-lasting image. However, they also take between 10 and 15 minutes EACH to produce.
Because they take so long for the typical single head machine to make there are also walls of inventory on hand, otherwise you’d only be able to serve 4 customers an hour that wanted something custom.
When you use DigitaHeatFX™ to create an image on a cap or hat it’s a completely different and more efficient process.
Printing on Caps with T-Shirt Transfers
First of all, you’re going to use the same Laser EZ Peel transfer that you would use for producing a custom t-shirt, custom koozie, wood or any other promotional product. The power of EZ Peel is found in the full-color digital quality of the transfer and the versatility of being able to imprint on just about anything.
In the case of printing on caps, that versatility includes something you can’t do with a standard commercial embroidery machine – print on the brim, top or bottom!
The following equipment is required to print on a cap:
- DigitalHeatFX White Toner Printer (now shipping Pro8432WT)
- Laser EZ Peel Papers
- Cap Press or Heat Press with appropriate cap attachments or platens
You’ll follow the same process as printing on anything with these custom t-shirt transfers; print the transfer itself, marry it to the “B” paper and then heat press.
Printing on Caps and Your Business – Printing vs. Embroidery
Printing on caps makes a lot of financial sense for a small business, even more so than embroidery! While your cost for materials is going to be higher when you create a custom hat with a transfer vs embroidery, the time, labor, ease of use and impact on your cash flow will more than make up the difference.
When you are dealing with a slower technology, like embroidery for hats, you are severely limited in how many true custom jobs you can produce in an hour.
The speed of production is one factor because you can only run caps on most embroidery machines at up to 850 stitches per minute, that makes most designs take 10 to 15 minutes each. At that rate, you simply HAVE to keep completed goods in stock if you want to sell more than 4 an hour.
Once you have committed to keeping a particular design on the shelf you are now invested in whether or not that one design sells. Will that sports team win or lose? Will caps be popular at that school this year? Is your version of “Gone Fishing” going to be a hit?
If you are employing cap transfers to create custom images on the spot you may have an inventory of BLANK caps, but you can put any popular or requested image on those. You will never be left with caps that don’t sell.
When working with custom embroidery, you have to digitize each design. Digitizing is the process of turning a graphic into a thread based design that the embroidery machine can read. Some images/logo are simple to digitize, others can take hours – this is just not practical for an order of one or 2 caps unless you charge a setup fee and have the time to complete.
Creating a transfer for caps is MUCH simpler. Just take the graphic you have been provided, resize it in your graphics software of choice and send to the printer. Anything from lettering to a full-color photo can be sent directly to the white toner printer to produce a transfer, so there is no prep or digitizing time necessary.
You also don’t need specially trained personnel to run the Printer, it works just like any other printer and the rest of the process to apply a transfer to a cap is very simple as you will see in the video below. On the other hand, you mush have a trained operator to thread, change needles, hoop the caps and do regular maintenance if you are doing embroidery.
Less time for labor, less training for labor – less cost for labor and more profits for your business.
There is simply no technology that provides you with more ways to make money than the DigitalHeatFX system. When you get an embroidery machine you have a lot of options on what you can produce, but it’s all based on what you can sew on – fabrics and soft goods only.
You can apply a Laser EZ Peel transfer to almost anything, including anything you can embroider on. This applies to caps and hats of course, but also to things like wood, koozies and more.
Both is Best
There are times when an embroidered cap or polo or other textile item makes more sense or is simply preferred by the customer. After all, embroidery has been around for generations and shows no sign of going away anytime soon. The best approach to creating or expanding a business based on custom caps is to have BOTH technologies and you are in the right place for that combination as well.
DigitalHeatFX is part of the ColDesi group of companies and our Print N Stitch bundles are among the most popular startup business kits we offer. Learn more about Stitch N Print and Embroidery here or just complete our contact us form.