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Scoring More Sales With Specialty Garment Decorating

(November 2008) posted on Thu Nov 06, 2008

Want to broaden the array of decorating options you can offer your customers? Then check out the collection of specialty decorating technologies discussed here and find out how you can use them to expand your bottom line.

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By Henry Bernstein

Distressed applications open the door to a new level of creativity. By creating the design with intentional voids and raw edges, the application becomes distressed. Open column stitches can add a dimension of handwork for an even more retro appearance. Just combining techniques and materials increases a program with hundreds of possibilities.

The other use for the laser bridge is to etch images into garment fabrics (Figure 4). In this application, the laser is used to alter the material surface to produce a design, basically by burning off a thin layer of loose fibers at the surface. Because the laser movement is computer controlled, very intricate, near-photographic designs can be created. The effect varies with different fabric types and colors. Etching also can be used in conjunction with screen printing or other specialty decorating techniques to create a vast number of specialty designs.



Rhinestones, also known as crystals, are one of the hottest trends in markets such as spirit wear, dance, cheerleading, ice skating, and gymnastics. They come in a wide range of colors and sizes, and there are numerous application options depending on the size of the order (Figure 5).

For small orders, a heating wand is used. The back of each crystal has a heat-activated adhesive that, when melted, will bond the crystal to the item being embellished. The wand can be used to pick up the crystal, which instantly heats up the adhesive. It is then applied to just about anything that is porous, such as fabric, paper, leather, or wood. You can experiment to see what other types of substrates may work.

Crystals come in all colors and sizes, but the two most popular sizes are 3 mm and 4 mm. They come packaged by color and size in individual packages or can be purchased from some suppliers in handy kits (in 3 mm, 4 mm, or a combination) that include divided trays with each section holding one color. The kits make it easy to keep colors separated and to choose the colors you want as you work.


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