Heat Press Pillows: How and When to Use Them


The world of heat pressing is filled with tools and accessories designed to make the process more efficient. Among these, heat press pillows stand out as essential companions for professionals and hobbyists alike. But what exactly are these pillows, and when should you use them? Dive into this comprehensive guide to discover the ins and outs of heat press pillows.

What Are Heat Press Pillows?

Heat press pillows are specially designed cushions that are placed between the garment and the platen during heat pressing. Made from heat-resistant foam and Teflon-coated material, these pillows are pivotal in ensuring an even distribution of heat and pressure, especially on uneven surfaces. Moreover, they protect both the garment and the heat press from potential damage.

The Importance of Using Heat Press Pillows

  1. Even Pressure: They help in distributing even pressure, especially when working on garments with buttons, zippers, or seams.
  2. Protection: Pillows can protect sensitive areas of the garment from excessive heat.
  3. Versatility: They allow for better pressing on tricky areas like sleeves, collars, or pockets.
  4. Improved Quality: Using a pillow can result in a smoother and more professional-looking print.

When to Use Heat Press Pillows

Over Seams and Zippers

One of the primary uses of heat press pillows is to accommodate thick seams or zippers. When pressed, the pillow compresses, allowing the heat press to apply an even pressure across the garment.

On Sensitive Materials

Some materials are particularly sensitive to heat. In these instances, a heat press pillow can act as a buffer, protecting the garment.

Uneven Surfaces

When working on items with uneven surfaces, such as hats or bags, a heat press pillow can be invaluable. It compensates for the unevenness, ensuring the design adheres uniformly.

5 Essential Heat Press Pillow Sizes

1. Small (6″ x 8″)

Perfect for pressing small areas such as pockets, sleeves, or baby clothes.

Pillow 6 X 8
6″ x 8″ Heat Press Pillow

2. Medium (10″ x 10″)

Ideal for standard t-shirts and most common garments. This size is versatile and can be a staple in any heat pressing collection.

Pillow 10 X 10
10″ x 10″ Heat Press Pillow

3. Large (16″ x 20″)

Great for larger clothing items, like sweatshirts or jerseys. Ensures that larger surfaces get even heat and pressure.

Pillow 16 20
16″ x 20″ Heat Press Pillow

4. Rectangular (5″ x 18″)

A perfect choice for long designs on sleeves or pant legs. Its elongated shape provides an even press for narrow areas.

Pillow 5 X 18
5″ x 18″ Sleeve or Leg Heat Press Pillow

5. Specialty Shapes

Some pillows are designed for specific items like hats, necklines, or bags. These are shaped uniquely and tailored to fit tricky surfaces seamlessly.

Pillow Bundle
Assortment Set – Heat Press Pillows

Tips for Maximizing Heat Press Pillow Efficiency

  1. Placement: Ensure the pillow is centered and fully underneath the area being pressed.
  2. Maintenance: Clean your pillows regularly and check for wear and tear. Damaged pillows can affect press quality.
  3. Test Runs: Before pressing a bulk order, do a test run with the pillow to ensure the desired result.
  4. Proper Storage: After use, store your heat press pillows flat in a cool, dry place. Stacking or folding them can lead to deformities, which may affect their performance during subsequent uses.
  5. Match Pillow to Material: Different materials might require varying pressures for optimal transfers. Ensure you’re using a pillow thickness that’s suitable for your fabric type. For instance, thicker materials like hoodies might benefit from a thicker pillow, while thinner materials like t-shirts might require a slimmer one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Clean My Heat Press Pillows?

Most heat press pillows can be wiped down with a damp cloth. If there’s significant residue, consider using a mild detergent.

Can I Use Regular Pillows Instead?

No. Heat press pillows are made of specialized materials that can withstand the heat and pressure. Using a regular pillow can result in damage or fire.

How Long Do Heat Press Pillows Last?

The lifespan of a heat press pillow largely depends on its usage and care. With regular use and proper maintenance, a good-quality heat press pillow can last several years. However, it’s crucial to inspect them regularly for signs of wear, such as thinning or tearing, which can affect the quality of your press.

Can Heat Press Pillows Be Used With Any Type of Heat Press Machine?

Generally, heat press pillows are versatile and can be used with most heat press machines, whether they’re clamshell, swing-away, or draw. The key is selecting the right size and shape of the pillow for your specific project and machine platen.

Do Heat Press Pillows Affect Pressing Time or Temperature?

Heat press pillows can act as insulators, which may require slight adjustments in pressing time or temperature. While the effect is usually minimal, it’s always a good practice to conduct a test press when using a pillow to ensure optimal results.

Are There Alternatives to Heat Press Pillows?

Yes, there are other tools and accessories, such as Teflon sheets or print perfect pads, which can also assist in ensuring even pressure and heat distribution. While they serve similar purposes, the best choice often depends on the specific project and personal preference.


Heat press pillows are not just accessories but are fundamental tools in the heat pressing process. Whether you’re pressing a simple t-shirt or a complicated bag, having the right pillow size and knowing when to use it can make all the difference. With this guide in hand, you’re now equipped to elevate the quality of your heat-pressed items and tackle even the most challenging projects.

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