If you’re ready to give custom screen-print heat transfers a try and wonder how to create a gang sheet for your heat transfers, here are some Pro Tips before you start.

You first need to understand what a gang sheet is and why and when you should consider creating one. 

Example of a gang sheet layout

What is a Gang Sheet?

A “gang sheet” is a term which many custom heat transfer manufacturers use to describe combining multiple images and sizes of either the same images or different images on one sheet of paper. 

Depending on how the transfers are manufactured, will determine if you can combine images with different ink colors on the sheet.

Example of XL Gang sheet option – 613originals.com

What is the advantage of creating a Gang Sheet?

Gang sheets combine multiple images on a sheet of paper. The heat transfer manufacturer screen prints your images on the paper and will send the transfers to you uncut. Let’s say you choose the largest sheet size available from 613originals.com which is 19” wide by 12.75” tall.

This size will allow you to fit at least (1) Adult size at 12.75” x 9” and room for several smaller images.

Gang sheets can save you money if you have different images using the same ink color.  For example, let’s say you have (6) different 1 color small pocket sized logos. You can place all (6) logos on the sheet and avoid paying additional set-up charges when doing your own layout.  When you receive the Gang sheets, simply cut them apart and separate them with each order.

Example of XL Gang Sheet with same ink colors with different images

If you have small orders, a Gang Sheet may be a way to lower your costs. When deciding which method to print your order, be sure to do the math. Whenever possible, look at the total number of jobs you need to produce.

Be sure you have all of the details such as the logo size and the ink colors within the logo.  Determine if you have other transfers which may have the same ink colors. Have your graphic designer create a layout using your transfer manufacturer’s available sheet sizes.

If you have logos or artwork with more than 3 spot colors, you may want to consider printing an Unlimited Color Gang sheet. Unlimited Color formulas are also known as Full Color, CMYK or Process heat transfers. The advantage of choosing an Unlimited color transfer is you don’t have to worry about how many colors are in the artwork, logo or design. Since the colors are limitless, you can have several completely different logos on the Gang Sheet and simply cut them apart. This is helpful with small quantities and complex logos.

The difference between going the Unlimited Color route versus the spot color method is there is no option for custom Pantone matching. Since Unlimited color transfers use CMYK, you will not get an exact Pantone match. Please check out how to properly use the Pantone Color Bridge CP swatches.

Tools required to create Gang sheets for Heat Transfers

When creating a gang sheet, you will need a graphic design software program capable of the following abilities.

  1. Create a custom page size.
  2. Size and scale images
  3. Precisely measure each of your images after placement on the sheet.
  4. Save or export the page as a CMYK image with all placed images embedded.
  5. Save or export the page as .PDF, .TIF, .PNG

There are several graphic programs which have these abilities. Please note that most custom heat transfer manufacturers do not provide technical support for any of these programs.

Below are some graphic programs our customers use:

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop

Corel Draw

Canva

Affinity Designer

While you may find some of the programs to be a lower cost, please keep in mind they may not do everything you need them to do when designing, editing colors, or creating any artwork.

When creating your Gang Sheet, we recommend using a vector art file such as a .EPS or .SVG file.  PNG art files may also be used only if you have them sized larger and place them on the gang sheet at 100% of the print size. It’s okay to size your .PNG files down or smaller, but if you have a small \ PPI image and try to scale it larger, your image may not print properly, have “jagged” edges or look pixelated.

When placing art files, be sure to give yourself at least ½ inch in between each image to allow you to safely cut them apart. When you are finished with your gang sheet layout, be sure each of the images are “embedded” and saved in the layout file. If you forget to do this step, when the transfer manufacturer opens the file, a warning will appear showing missing images. When this happens, your job will be flagged and the order may be delayed. Keep in mind some companies require a margin of blank space around the entire sheet. When choosing a Gang Sheet option, look and see what the “Live area” of the sheet is.

For example, if the sheet size is 19” x 12.75” and the live area is 19” x 12.75”, this means you can place your images to the edge of either dimension. Some companies show their sheet sizes and have much less “Live area” space to allow for manufacturing registration marks, color bars and job information to be printed.

Example of different sheet size options – 613originals.com

Some final steps before you submit your Gang Sheets.

  1. Be sure any fonts are converted to “outlines” or “curves”.
  2. Know what the live area is for the Gang Sheet option you select.
  3. Make sure you have enough space in between each design to allow easy cutting.
  4. All placed images must be “Embedded”.
  5. Save your document in CMYK format.
  6. If you want white to be printed that it’s in the art file and not the background color.
  7. If using Photoshop, save the file as a Photoshop PDF file. 
  8. If using Canva, save the file as a .PDF (best for printing), file.
  9. If using Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, save the file as .PDF

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