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The Equipment That We Trust - Updated

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

A complete list for getting started making T-shirts from home.

Over the course of 2021 we have learned a lot! Through trial and error we tested new equipment and materials, we kept what worked best, and made note of things to avoid so you don't have to spend the time or the money. Below is a list of what we'd recommend using for t-shirt decoration:

1) Heat Press Vinyl:


You probably already know I got started making t-shirts in a basement in Dumont, New Jersey. There wasn't a lot of space to operate, so I chose to use a heat press machine and screen print transfers as the FASTEST way to get started for the LOWEST cost.

The Machine I started out with:

Like all heat press machines, it operates on three factors:

1) Heat

2) Pressure

3) Time

The digital panel of this machine makes it easy to control these variables.

I bought my first Fancierstudio machine in 2019 and have had ZERO issues with it since.

Another Type of machine is the Vivohome Swing Away Press. Some people like the swing away feature for the view it provides vs the clamshell design of the Fancierstudio.

It functions on the same principles as the Press above with a few additional features:

- the swing away function allowing you additional room to move and work

- as well as the ability to have attachments for things like a mug press for when you get into sublimation.

Additional Heat Press Related Tools:

a. Teflon paper: protects your design and garments

b. Heat Resistant Tape: Holds your design in place

c. Vinyl Weeding Tools Kit: More helpful than I can describe

e. Vinyl Cutting Machine: This is the machine that will cut you t-shirt images


2) Sublimation

So, we recently we invested into our first sublimation printer! And the results have well exceeded my expectations.

You may be thinking, what is sublimation printing? Also called dye sublimation, it is a type of printing where a high resolution image can be printed from an ink printer and transferred from a sheet a paper onto a t-shirt or mug.

The machine we decided to start with is an Epson EcoTank ET-2750:

Additional Sublimation Related Tools:

a. Sublimation Paper: This is what you'll print your images onto

a. Teflon paper: Protects your design and garments

b. Heat Resistant Tape: Holds your design in place


3) Screen Printing

While at East Coast Tags we've mainly focused on heat press printing, we've also familiarized ourselves with traditional screen printing.

Here is a list of equipment for beginner screen printers:

First, here is a 1 color 1 station screen printing press for your at home t-shirt business. Perfect for beginners just starting out and definitely if you're on a budget.

Additional Screen Printing Related Tools:

a. Ink: Here is an ink starter kit

b. Screens: The screen that will have your design

c. Emulsion: What you'll use to coat the screen with

d. Emulsion scoop: How you'll apply the emulsion to your screens

e. Squeegee: What you'll use to push ink through your screen.

f. Flash Dryer: How you'll dry your shirts after printing.

g. Emulsion Remover: So you can reuse your screens once done.

Thanks for reading!

Please always feel free to email is ( with questions about how to print, what to look for when choosing someone to print your apparel, or if you'd like a quote =)

Thanks so much

- Michelle

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