Doing the Math for Expanding into Custom Cap and Dye-Sub Printed Mug Production

There are an array of products one can start making immediately with an enterprising mindset and the basic equipment for this business: a decent vinyl cutter and heat press.

Vinyl graphics and letters for signs and indoor walls, decals for shirts, etc. Not surprisingly, the stuff that’s easiest to do, with the lowest up-front investment in equipment, also presents the greatest barriers to successfully differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace.

So what’s true for any business, is true for this one. To have success, one has to diversify one’s product offerings, and ideally specialize in a niche with plenty of room to grow. Two products you may not have considered to expand into yet are customized ballcaps and dye-sublimation printed mugs.

We’d like to present the business case here for expanding into both processes. Both processes require an investment in specialized equipment, but the following math will demonstrate you can break even on cap production with sales of only 40 caps, and you can buy all the equipment for dye-sublimation printing (with applications ranging from printed mugs, to photo panels, to shirts, and more) with sales of only about 180 mugs!

CUSTOM CAPS:

Decorate hats with the HTV of your choice, Chemica DuoFlex (pictured) or Siser EasyWeed.

Decorate hats with the HTV of your choice, Chemica DuoFlex (pictured) or Siser EasyWeed.

What you need…

A vinyl cutter, a Transforsa Digital Cap Heat Press, 15″ x 5yd Roll of Siser EasyWeed.

Specialized Cap Heat Press + Free Hats for only $264.99!

Specialized Cap Heat Press + Free Hats for only $264.99!

Assuming you cut a design 4 in wide x 2.5 in high, you can produce 180 heat transfer vinyl decals from a 5 yard roll of EasyWeed ($35.65). This works out to be about 20 cents/hat in vinyl.

The cost of blank hats is going to be your main expense. The cost of hat blanks and vinyl to produce 180 hats is $575.20. 1 hat costs about $3.20 to make. Let’s say you can sell that hat for $12.

Profit/hat = $8.80. The cost of your equipment ($264.99) + the necessary hats (36 more) = $372.90. Divide that by your profit/hat ($8.80), and you’ve almost completely paid for your equipment with sales of about 40 hats!

DYE-SUB PRINTED MUGS:

Put family photos or any image on a mug with vibrant dye-sublimation inks.

Put family photos or any image on a mug with vibrant dye-sublimation inks.

What you need…

A Sawgrass Dye-Sublimation Printer, a mug press or 5-in-1 multi-press, sublimation transfer paper, dye-sublimation inks, and cases of mugs.

The cost of the equipment in this bundle (SG400 printer + 5-in-1 heat press + mug paper) is only $799. It only costs about 10 cents in ink to print 1 5″x7″ mug design. The cost to decorate a case of 36 mugs would be $3.60 in ink, $3.24 in paper, and $56.99 for the cost of the mugs.

All the equipment and supplies you need to get started sublimating mugs for only $799.

All the equipment and supplies you need to get started sublimating mugs for only $799.

Total cost of supplies to decorate 36 mugs = $63.83 –> $1.77/mug. If you sell the mugs at $8/ea, that works out to be $6.23 profit/mug.

At that clip, paying for all the equipment and supplies (printer, heat press, ink, paper, and mugs) you needed to make 180 mugs would cost you about $1118. Divide this by our profit/mug, and with sales of about 180 mugs, you’ve just paid for all your equipment and supplies, and each additional mug sold is almost pure profit! And a dye-sub printer comes in handy for so much more, from shirts, to jerseys, to Wunderboard metal photo panels, to clear vinyl, and beyond!

Heat Transfer Paper Alternatives for Decorating Shirts and Other Fabrics

USCutter has recently completed testing on an array of heat transfer papers currently available for sale (or soon will be) on our website.

Paropy papers from Joto and products from Forever can be less expensive, less manual, and more accessible to the beginning user than other methods of custom shirt production including silkscreen, DTG, HTV, and sublimation/Chromablast. And the beautiful part is, all you need to get great results in many cases is just a home laser toner or inkjet printer and a decent quality swing-arm heat press.

Check out this webcast of a webinar recently presented here at USCutter for a detailed overview of all the technology involved, from equipment to media, and some of our findings during testing, including shots of our quality output.

Heat Transfer Papers are the way to go if you want to create great-quality shirts with a minimal upfront investment. If you’re interested in starting out, we’d recommend the following products as being the most accessible for a beginner with the easiest (and most forgiving) learning curve.

Forever Flex-Soft is a 2-paper system that transfers toner from a printed A-sheet directly onto a fabric after a coating has been applied from a B-sheet with heat and pressure. The A-sheet comes in 1 of 10 colors we currently have available, including metallics and neons. Get a 10-pack of sheets (A+B+matte/gloss finishing sheets) for only $24.95, and save about half of what you’d pay for comparable products from Siser or Color Theory.

Gold metallic look at half the cost of heat transfer vinyl.

Gold metallic look at half the cost of heat transfer vinyl.

And unlike HTV, with Flex-Soft you can do very intricate designs with tons of detail, and transfer them immediately with no weeding, just a simple peel!

Look at the fine details on the tassels. Throw away your weeding knife. Peels right off!

Look at the fine details on the tassels. Throw away your weeding knife. Peels right off!

Perhaps the nicest part about the whole process is that the less expensive the toner printer is, the better the finished product is going to look because consistent thick toner fill on the A-sheet, like that spewed by more wasteful printers, is going to transfer a more solid filled design to the fabric.

Paropy papers from Joto are another easy painless way to transfer full-color images and photos without the need for layering or other manual tasks like cutting and weeding (Note: cutting around an image on CL 135 or 140 is recommended with a scissors to eliminate transfer of the background, and contour cutting is recommended for certain products intended for dark garments).

Joto Paropy Trimfree Light peels right off with no background - no trimming necessary.

Joto Paropy Trimfree Light peels right off with no background – no trimming necessary.

Paropy CL 135 has a very easy peel with consistent results for production and is recommended for beginners.

Paropy CL 135 has a very easy peel with consistent results for production and is recommended for beginners.

USCutter has many products compatible with your everyday inkjet printer, CMYK toner printer, or even CMYWT printers like the OKI C711WT with new white toner ink technology for transferring white and light-colored graphics and lettering onto dark garments with results that you couldn’t achieve otherwise without outsourcing your production!

Print white for letters and graphics on dark shirts for full-color transfers and even photos!

Print white for letters and graphics on dark shirts for full-color transfers and even photos!

 

Forever Laser-Dark (coming soon) transfers full-color photos!

Forever Laser-Dark (coming soon) transfers full-color photos!

 

 

 

Come into the Deadpool: The Water’s Fine for Amazing Fan Art you can Easily Do Yourself

Deadpool fever is sweeping the nation, delighting and repelling audiences young and old alike, with its slick stylistic sensibility and crude anti-hero antics. Everywhere normal citizens feel inspired to join the Deadpool movement, responding to its highly effective head-scratching guerilla marketing campaign, and hoping to copy its artful and original winning formula of super-snark and unsentimental heart.

From cut vinyl t-shirt designs, to dye-sublimated tiles and mousepads, check out these cool applications you can also do very easily with USCutter equipment and materials.

1.)   Deadpool Logo T-Shirt

We used a Titan II, 60 g’s of pressure, and speed of 36 mm/s, to cut the red bottom layer from Color Theory Thin Foil.

Color Theory Thin Foil red base layer.

Color Theory Thin Foil red base layer.

The eye “sockets” are Chemica 3D-Fashion Flex Carbon texture, and the eye “balls” are Color Theory White Glitter (both materials cut at 90 g’s of pressure). The 3D and Foil are cold peel products.

Layer different effects, including Carbon 3D, Glitter, and Thin Metallic Foil.

Layer different effects, including Carbon 3D, Glitter, and Thin Metallic Foil.

We used a pressing temperature of 168 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds to apply each layer, with the last layer of Glitter being a hot peel. The thin foil held up very well, with the final peel adding a distressed look to it which seemed to work well with the aesthetic of the movie.

E88A3730

2.)   Deadpool Mousepads and Tiles/Coasters

Just look at how bright and warm Deadpool art leaps to life on dye-sublimated blanks you can easily reproduce yourself with your SG400/800.

Bright warm reds pop off your own personalized mousepad/

Bright warm reds pop off your own personalized mousepad!

Tiles, coasters, Wunderboard, and many other blanks available at USCutter.com!

Tiles, coasters, Wunderboard, and many other blanks available at USCutter.com!