Keep Your Decoration Skills Sharp

October 15, 2019

As a decorator, you know that there’s always more to learn. Staying on top of the latest trends and techniques can set you apart from the local competition. It’s also a way to keep your day-to-day work interesting – who doesn’t like learning new tricks?

With that in mind, we had SanMar’s decoration guru, Jason Murphy of the Decorator Relations Team, give us a few general tips for any decorator looking to expand on their embellishment know-how and capabilities.

  1. Get Out There

    “I always recommend that decorators get out of their shops once in a while and attend some trade shows,” Jason advised. “The major manufacturers are always there and ready to educate.”

    Industry trade shows are where manufacturers and decorators alike can go to show off their latest tricks, as well as network and learn from one another. This is the perfect opportunity for you to sharpen your existing skills as a decorator, and discover some new ones.

    Trade shows like the Impressions Expo (formerly known as ISS), the Decorated Apparel Expo (DAX Show) and the NBM Show are just a few examples. Be sure to look locally for shows near you, or check out the SanMar Tradeshow Schedule to see what we’re attending.

  2. The Right Tool for the Right Job

    What are your customers asking for? Depending on what they want, you may need the right equipment to get the job done. And bonus – new toys are always fun, right?

    One thing you may want to look for is a specific kind of heat press, according to Jason. “Consider investing in a heat press that has lower heat as an option. This will get the heat directly to the adhesive and make sure you get a good bond.”

    This can be especially important when working with thicker materials, such as silicone, PVC or molded transfers. “When working with dimensional material like this, a lower heat option is a great addition to any shop. You can find these at Hotronix and George Knight today.”

  3. Testing, Testing

    It’s so natural to want to jump in and try out a new, exciting technique with a big order, but Jason advises some caution. Get some sample pieces in different fabrics and test out your technique before you use it for a customer.

    “I always recommend testing a new technique on samples first,” said Jason. “Especially when you’re trying it for the first time, to make sure you know what you’re doing!”

When you’re working with a customer who wants something unique, the techniques you use are like tools in your belt that allow you to delight them with your expertise and your talent. These tips are a good starting point…but there’s always more to learn.

Join us for our webcast about Decoration Tips and Trends on Friday, October 18 to discover even more about the latest trends in apparel decoration.

What trends are you most excited about in the world of apparel decoration? Continue the conversation on SanMar’s social media channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

SanMar’s Decorator Relations Team is always happy to answer your questions about decorations and the promotional apparel industry. You can email them directly at