There are different methods of putting designs on shirts. There’s the more traditional screen printing, hand painting, and more modern styles such as digital printing and heat transfer printing. Heat transfer printing for shirts is one of the most modern ways of transferring designs onto t-shirts. Through heat transfer printing, disperse dyes on heat transfer paper are used to come up with clear prints on the shirts.

Tools Used in Heat Transfer Printing

heat transfer printingWhen it comes to heat transfer printing for shirts, there are special inks used which would allow the heat transfer to be possible. The ink used for heat transfer prints has a sublimatable dye, a strong acid which is carried in a liquid, and fine powder graphite. When transferring the design to the special contact paper, they use an inkjet or an electrostatic printer. Because a printer is used for transferring the design, designs used for heat transfer prints are endless! The design will be transferred to the carrier paper which would then be used for the heat transfer process.

Of course, heat transfer won’t be complete without the heat press. There are two main kinds of heat transfer presses: the platen presses which are flat and used for individual pieces, and the rotary drum press which is more suitable for printing several shirts which have the same design.

Heat Transfer Printing Process

The tools are quite specialized, as compared to the silk screen printing tools which can be bought from craft stores, but when you have the tools, the process of heat transferring prints is really quite simple. First, you must select a design. Once you have the design, load the carrier paper into the printer which has the heat transfer compatible inks. Print the design. Some cutting may be required for the outline of the design, and this is probably the most time consuming step in the whole process.

Once you have your print, it’s time to assemble the shirt onto the press. All that needs to be done is to be sure that the side with the ink is on the right side of the shirt. Once it is flat, the press can be turned on and the heat transfer process can begin. Some presses would require only a few seconds for the whole design, depending on the heat settings. The size of the design and the quality of the carrier paper may also determine how long the heat transfer process would take. This may take a little getting used to, but that’s the simple process of heat transfer printing.

Pros and Cons of Heat Transferred Prints

The designs are endless and the process is simple enough even for entrepreneurs to do. It can be used to create prints not just on shirts but other fabrics, and even flooring and countertop products as well. One of the cons of heat transfer prints is that if you don’t use quality materials or when the heat press goes wrong, the design may peel off after a few washes.

What did you think of today’s post? Would you consider heat transfer printing for your t-shirt designs? Comment away below!