What you need:
|Heat transferring allows you to create your own custom clothing, bags, mousepads and other fabric items. Simply design the image you want, print it onto one of our heat transfer papers and transfer it onto your item. It's as easy as that!
Watch the video to learn how simple heat transferring is!!
Inkjet or laser printer
Heat Transfer paper
Heat press (required for certain transfer papers) or a hand iron (hand iron requires hard surface and pillowcase)
T-shirt or other item to receive transfer
The Basics of Heat Transfer:
Heat transferring begins with an image being printed in reverse (or mirrored) onto a piece of high release transfer paper. The image is usually printed onto the paper with plastisol inks, which are flexible and durable, but normal inks also work well. The transfer is then applied to garments, mouse pads, and other fabric surfaces, by using a heat press or a hand iron. The heat press generally works better by allowing more heat and pressure to assist the transferring process, however, hand irons may be used as long as they can reach temperatures of up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The process of transferring an image from the paper to the garment typically takes 15-20 seconds with a heat press (2-4 minutes when using a hand iron) and does not require a drying or curing process once applied. However, please refer to your transfer papers specific instructions included with the paper for the correct transfer instructions. Click here for downloadable transfer paper instructions.
Which Paper to Use:
There are many different types of heat transfer papers available, so it's not unusual to be confused or lost when trying to decide which one is the best for you. The three main ways to determine this is by the type of printer you are using, whether you are printing on light or dark fabrics and, finally, the size of the image. The best way to start is by choosing which is the best for your printer.
Laser or Inkjet Paper?Determine which type of printer you have or are going to purchase: inkjet or laser. Most desktop inkjet, laser, or CLC printer will work -- just call us if you are unsure if your printer will meet the requirements.
Inkjet printers have a higher quality print than laser printers with a larger selection of heat transfer papers to choose from. The options range from papers that excel in soft hand, less border, great color and more. Inkjet printers are easy to set up and use and can create amazing prints. Also, transfer papers for inkjet printers are universal; they will work on all inkjet printers. However, inkjets tend to be more expensive when it comes to printing and ink replenishing.
Laser printers are more cost efficient and can print at high speeds when printing hundreds or thousands of pieces. On the downside, laser printers run hot, so transfer papers don't always have a smooth printing process and can easily get jammed. Trial and error is the best way to find a paper that works best with your printer. In order to make the process easier for our customers, we offer two-sheet sample packs of all of our heat transfer papers so you don't have to spend your money on an entire pack of paper that may or may not work. Simply try different types of paper until you find one that will run through your laser printer with ease. (Sometimes, if a particular paper does not work, you may need to merely change to a heavier paper mode on your printer options to accommodate the paper.) One of the more important things you need to know if you are using a laser or CLC printer is whether or not your printer requires fuser oil. Only specific transfer papers will work on printers that use fuser oil.
So, in conclusion, when choosing a transfer paper you will need to decide what is more important to you -- color and a soft hand (inkjet) or cost and time efficiency (laser).
Light or Dark? Now that you have determined which type of printer you will be using, it's time to decide which paper is right for your project. Different colored fabrics require different types of transfer papers. If you are transferring to a fabric that is white, ash grey, or eggshell colored, a regular heat transfer paper will work fine. For anything other than those colors, you will need to use a transfer paper for dark fabrics, generally referred to as opaque paper. Opaque transfer papers are covered with a white background in order to have your image show up on dark fabric. You are, in essence, printing your image on top of a white layer. Therefore, the opaque paper tends to have a thicker feeling than regular transfer papers. Due to the white background on the opaque paper, trimming around your image is essential to making your item look professional.
Size? The last thing to determine is what size paper to use. Standard sizes are 8.5" x 11" (letter-sized) and 11" x 17" (tabloid), but we also carry sizes such as A3 and A4. The easiest way to decide which paper you need is by which size paper your printer will accept. Some smaller printers such as the Epson C88 or C120 will only run an 8.5" wide paper so you would not be able to run an 11" x 17" paper size. Wider format printers such as the Epson 1400 or color copiers can run 11" x 17. It is also important to take into consideration the size of your image and the item you are pressing onto. Although an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper will work great for a small or medium t-shirt, you may need a larger size paper to accommodate large or extra-large shirts.
Preparing your artwork:
The heart of your t-shirt design is the image. You can create original artwork from scratch, customize scanned clip art, or use ready-made designs or even photographs from your digital camera with almost any graphics or creative printing program. However, if you want color consistency and accuracy, we suggest using a program intended for design. Not only will this allow you to use the best available tools to create or enhance your image, but it will also enable you to tweak color settings if necessary.
Once your image is ready to be printed you may need to reverse the orientation of the image, depending on the transfer paper being used. If you are using a heat transfer paper for light colors, then you will need to reverse or mirror your image's orientation so that your image prints out backwards onto the paper. This is especially critical if you have text in your design. The text should be backwards on screen or on the print out. Ideally, the program or printing options will have an opportunity for you to reverse the image.
Since opaque papers are pressed face-side up, there is no need to print the image backwards.It's always a good idea to print a preview copy of your image before actually printing it on the sublimation paper. You can verify that the image will print correctly, doesn't fall into your no-print zone and is correctly sized, as the on-screen view can be deceiving. Also, remember that the colors you see on your screen will not always be exactly what prints out.
As with any desktop publishing project, consider the color of the item you are pressing when selecting colors for your designs. This is where you may need to decide to use an opaque transfer paper rather than a regular heat transfer paper. Also consider trimming your image before transferring. As with all heat transfer papers, there is a clear background film called "polymer" that will appear around your image after transferring. Trimming will eliminate the majority of the polymer border and create a more professional looking image. It's also important to note that the polymer border will fade away after a few washings and is not a permanent part of the shirt.
Test your design on “scratch fabric” before applying it to your final t-shirt or other fabric. Some fabrics may require more heat and pressure than others and may not show off your design as well as you expected. Therefore, it is best to determine the best specifications for pressing before you press your final product.
In order to make iron-on transfers transfer your image with the best quality, use your iron's hottest cotton setting without steam. It takes extreme heat and pressure to transfer the image evenly and completely to the fabric. This is why most transfer papers work best with a heat press (see below). Some transfer papers, such as laser transfer papers, can't be used with a hand iron. Laser transfer papers require very high heat and heavy pressure so they must be transferred using a heat press. The reason transfer instructions specify using a hard surface is because it helps to hold the heat, whereas ironing boards tend to disperse heat.
A heat press is a machine that presses a transfer onto an imprintable substrate. By using high temperatures and heavy pressures for a certain amount of time the transfer is permanently embedded into the product. Heat presses are recommended for professional and satisfying results simply because standard laminating devices and home hand irons cannot reach the temperatures required for a reliable transfer. Standard transfers require anywhere from 350 to 400 degrees F and demand serious force in pressing, often from 40-80 psi. These temperatures and pressures are simply not possible with other heated devices. We categorize our heat presses by the manufacturer-Geo Knight, Hix, Mighty Press, Stahls MAXX, and Hotronix. How do you choose which one is right for you? Here are a few points to think about before you make your purchase:
The size of the heat press platen: Depending on the size of your transfer paper, you will need to select your heat press size accordingly. Standard heat press sizes are 9"x12", 11"x15" and 16"x20", with a number of different sized inbetween. If your heat transfer paper is 8.5" x 11", you will need a press that is at least 9" by 12". We also offer mug presses and cap presses so you can create different items with out transfers.
"Bells and whistles": Higher end presses will have features such as digital readouts for times, pressure, and temperature, as well as automatic release when the timer goes off. Other, less expensive, presses have manual time controls with analog dials to manage the output. Regardless of the high-end features or not, the heat presses will all get the job done.
Clamshell, Swinger or Draw: Our heat presses come in three different forms: Clamshell, which opens and closes like a clam, Swinger, in which the upper heat platen swings away from the lower platen, allowing more space to arrange your items and transfer papers and Draw which literally pulls the lower platen out from the heat press in order to organize your materials. Each of these has their pros and cons, however they all work wonderfully to give your product the professional and finished appearance you are looking for.
Be sure that you are using laser transfer paper in a laser printer.
If your printer uses "fuser oil" instead of a fusing unit, make sure you have the correct paper!
The toner may not be fusing completely to the paper causing it to gunk up in the fuser and/or rollers. Try using a heavy paper mode such as "Transparency" or "Label" mode. This will slow down the paper in the machine allowing more time for the toner to adhere completely to the paper.
Use a by-pass tray if possible
Feed the transfer paper in the printer in portrait orientation. This is when the shorter side feeds into the machine first. (If you are cutting your 11"x17" size paper in half prior to printing, then you must feed the longer side first.)
Laser Printers tend to run very hot...sometimes too hot for a heat transfer paper to run through. Laser Papers need a high temp around 350F before it will release onto the garment when pressing, therefore you need to make sure that your laser printer does not exceed this temperature or it will want to release inside your printer, causing it to jam. Unfortunately there is not a list of printers that we can suggest to use with the papers due to various things like age, usage, temperature, etc. We can, however, suggest that you do not choose an HP! Hewlett Packard Laser Printers tend to run too hot to run transfer paper through. If this is not the case and your printer is still jamming, review the next problem below "Laser Transfer is not printing correctly." After checking this section and your printer still is jamming, your printer just may not be able to run transfer paper. There are several papers to choose from and we recommend purchasing a laser transfer sample pack to test each one of our papers in your particular printer.
Laser Paper is not printing correctly
Laser Transfer Papers are very particular in the printing process. The most common problem that occurs is that the paper is not being ran correctly. Here are a few things to remember when using laser transfer paper. 1.)Use the multi-purpose or by-pass tray on the printer if possible. 2.)Be sure that you are feeding the paper with the shorter side going in the machine first. (portrait) For example if you are using an 8.5"x11" size transfer paper, then the 8.5" side should pull into the printer first. (Most laser printers/copiers' paper trays are defaulted to insert the paper landscape..be sure this is not the case. If it is, adjust your tray to feed portrait orientation. 3.)Use a heavy paper mode such as "transparency" or "label mode." This will help slow down the time the paper is actually in the machine, allowing more time for the toner to adhere to the paper.
My image is not transferring
Check the temperature of the press. Too much heat will bond the paper to the substrate, but not enough heat will cause the image to not release from the transfer paper.
Check the pressure of the press. Too much pressure may cause the garment and paper to stick together, but not enough pressure will cause the image to press unevenly.
Images that bleed when washed usually do so because there is excessive ink on the transfer. When you print, the print quality should be between medium to medium-high. The higher setting, the more ink is put on the paper. Printing at the highest quality for a transfer does not always mean it will look better. Sometimes the colors may seem dull when printed, however, they will become more vivid after pressing. When you press the transfer to the shirt or other textile, it will only absorb the ink it needs. The rest will bleed off in the wash.
We highly suggest waiting 15 minutes after the image is printed before pressing it and, then, wait at least 24 hours before washing it. This allows the ink to absorb into the item as much as possible. Finally, don't forget how crucial washing instructions are. Make sure that you AND your customers follow the guidelines located at the bottom of the instruction page.
Cracking can occur due to a mix of the transfer paper and fabric you are using. Many transfer papers have difficulty stretching, therefore, when you press an image onto a tight shirt, the image could end up cracking as it stretches. It is imperative that images on non-stretchy transfer papers are transferred onto appropriate fabrics.
This problem also arises when the paper is not getting enough heat or pressure during the pressing process. This could prevent the image from fully being transferred to the shirt. Always check the time and temperatures on each different type of transfer paper used to make sure you are using the correct instructions.
A simple way to help prevent cracking is by stretching the garment immediately after pressing and peeling the backing off. While the garment and transfer are still hot, the stretching will ensure longer lasting durability, a softer hand and even help eliminate future cracking.
My image is not transferring with my opaque transfer
If your shirt is showing through the transfer paper during the pressing process, your pressure is too heavy. When pressed with too much pressure, the opaque paper will melt down and become so thin that the garment will shows through. Many opaque transfer papers are pressed at around 350 degrees F for 10-15 seconds with light to medium pressure.
If lowering the pressure does not help, double check the instructions for the specific transfer paper being used. Opaque transfer papers are unlike regular transfer papers, in that the backing paper must be peeled off after printing and before pressing. The process is similar to peeling a sticker and lying it face up on the garment. Don't forget to cover with a silicone sheet or Teflon cover for protection and peel after the image has cooled.
Even though your colors may seem faded on the heat transfer printout, remember that you will never see the exact colors until it is pressed.
You should also keep in mind that you always lose some quality during the transfer process. Essentially, a transfer is a copy of a copy of a copy. This means that the image on your computer is the first copy. When printed to the transfer, the second copy, it will lose some of its quality, color and detail. The third copy occurs when the image is pressed and more detail and quality is lost. The only way to keep as much detail as possible is to use high-end printers, which, even then, are not always exact. You must also consider the colors you are using. Some colors are very hard to achieve using CMYK inks, especially Pantone colors. When printing transfers, it is recommended that you work in an RGB document mode and only use RGB colors. For example, neon or metallic colors will never print correctly and always end up faded and muddy.
If you press your image and it is still faded, it is possible you may need to use a transfer paper for dark garments. The color of the shirt or fabric may be too dark for use with a light transfer paper.
Pressure is incredibly important when pressing onto a light transfer garment. If faded, you may need to increase your pressure, as some heat transfer papers for lights, such as the JetPro SofStretch, require heavy pressure.
My image is washing off after laundering
Washing instructions are crucial to a heat transfer. Instructions are included with each pack of paper that give very specific details on how to handle a garment that has been transferred onto. The general rules are: Wait 24-48 hours after transfer to wash. Wash separately or with light colors inside out in cool water. Do not use any fabric softeners or bleach.
Backing paper will not release after pressing
If your paper is not peeling off after being pressed, check to see if it is a HOT or COLD peel. Hot peel papers need to be peeled immediately, while cold peel papers must cool for 1-2 minutes before peeling. It the paper you are using is a hot peel, there's a chance you have waiting too long to peel the packing off. Simply slide it under the heat press for another 5 seconds and then peel it off.
Continuous Ink System/Bulk System (CIS,CFS)
Won't print/lines throughout print
If your prints have lines throughout the image or just won't print, you will need to run a few head cleanings. We suggest running three cleanings a row, which can be done through the printer's properties under the maintenance tab.
If, after the cleanings, the printer is still not printing correctly, you may have ink buildup blocking the lines, preventing the ink from flowing. Take one of the small syringes that came with the system and insert it into the bottom of the cartridge that is clogged. If all of the cartridges are clogged, this task will need to performed with each one. Once the syringe is inserted into the bottom of the reservoir, gently pull the syringe back. You will probably pull foamy ink out of the reservoir. This needs to be done until the ink is clear of the foam. Release the non-foamy ink back into the cartridges for future use. It's very important to carefully wash the syringe after each cartridge in order to keep the colors from mixing. After all cartridges have been cleaned, run another few head cleanings and then print an image. If the image still has lines through it, wait a few hours and then attempt printing again.
Red light on the printer stays on and will not print
Cause: The printer does not recognize the ink cartridge chip.
First, make sure that all of the chips are on the cartridges and that none have fallen off. Then snap the cartridges back in to place to ensure it was not a placement issue. Sometimes printers can be extremely sensitive about the chip or the cartridge being slightly out of position or not locked down all of the way. By merely removing the cartridge and putting it back in a couple of times should help. If the printer light still does not go off, turn your printer off for a couple of minutes, then turn it back on. This tricks the printer and chips into thinking that you have installed new cartridges. Sometimes the printer will assume that it should be out of ink after so many prints without realizing you are using a bulk ink system instead of regular cartridges.
Secondly, if everything seems to be placed properly and the printer is still not recognizing the cartridges, the printer may not have good contact with the micro chips on the cartridges. Clean the chips by gently wiping them with an alcohol wipe and double-check that there is not too much "glue" on the chip. If this does not solve your problems, there is the possibility that you could have defective chips that would need replacement. Please call us right away at 1-800-562-7760 to see if your system can be replaced. We may be able to send out replacement chips to solve the problem.
|Using one of our Vinyl Cutters with heat transfer paper:
Tired of the border that all transfer papers leave behind causing you to trim your images by hand? Now, combined with your printer, Vinyl Cutters are a great solution for professional looking transfers. With the use of either the included free software or Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, you can print and cut your own images like a pro.
|Compatible Transfer Papers
We offer several transfer papers that can be successfully cut with a vinyl cutter/plotter. These transfer papers are constructed of two layers - a backing sheet and a top transfer sheet. With the proper force settings on your cutter, you can cut through just the top transfer sheet giving you a clean and professionally cut design.
RedGrid for Light Fabrics
JetPro SofStretch Inkjet Heat Tranfer Paper for Light Fabrics
Coastal's Inket Opaque Heat Tranfer Paper for Dark Fabrics
Jet Dark Inkjet Heat Tranfer Paper for Dark Fabrics
Glo-Jo Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper for Darks
Everlast Dark Paper for Darks
Laser 1 Opaque for darks
How to print and cut with a Vinyl Cutter:
Set-up, connect, and install your cutter and the included Software on your computer.
Connect your printer to your computer.
Create your design in your favorite design program and save as either a jpg, eps, or tiff. Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw users are able to print and cut directly from the software with the included plug-in. Mac users will also need to use a special plug-in and can only use Adobe Illustrator for designing.
Choose your layout size and adjust your registration marks as needed.
Import your image into the free software. Here you can resize and position your image.
Apply the cut lines through outline tool in your software. If needed, you can add or delete cut lines for a more precise cut.
Send the image to your printer.
Load the finished print into the cutter in the correct position, lower your blade force, and cut.
Anyone can make personalized mugs using one of two methods: sublimation transfer or laser transfer.
Sublimation transferringis more expensive. It requires using a specific type of printer, special ink, special paper, sublimation mugs, color correction software, special programs and a mug press. However, despite all of the extra items needed, the sublimation transfer physically becomes part of the mug and cannot be felt when touched. It's an amazing option for high quality transfers. Regular sublimation paper can be used for mug making.
Laser transfersrequire laser transfer paper, a laser printer, a mug press, a mug glazer and laser mugs. Though it is less expensive than sublimation, the laser transfer can be felt as a raised image on the mug. It also needs to be "glazed" after it is pressed, allowing more time for the image to "bake" into the mug. The laser transfer paper necessary for this process is Mugs N More. This paper is used specifically for laser or CLC printers to be applied onto hard surface items.
Regardless of using laser transfer or sublimation transfer, mugs will require a mug press. This press will fit securely around the mug providing the necessary heat and pressure for an even transfer. We have a number of choices in mug presses -- the DK3, Mighty and our very own Mug King. Double check the instructions on how to press mugs through sublimation or laser transfer.
Getting Started Guides
What is ChromaBlast?
ChromaBlast is a unique patented ink and media combination where the ink chemistry and the media coating chemistry combine to create a reaction. This reaction is caused by heat and pressure, which chemically bond the image to the cotton. Like regular transfer papers, the non-image area will physically transfer, but will wash away because the reaction isn't activated due to lack of ink.
What is so unique about this product?
The key to the ChromaBlast system is the chemical bonding between the ink and the media coating. The areas where the inks and media are touching create a unique chemistry that has a very strong affinity to cotton. When the printed image is applied to the t-shirt with heat, the printed area literally crosses links with the cotton molecules. This creates a strong, nearly permanent bond. Once the paper is removed, the image area is tattooed into the shirt itself. The area around the image has a very light feel that becomes nearly invisible after one wash. The result is a vibrant colorful image that looks, feels and breathes like nothing else in the market. Imagine giving your customers the ability to print what they need, when they need it. Now imagine being able to do all of this using a digital desktop printing system with dry, clean inks and can be operated right in their facility, office or virtually anywhere.
How does it work?
Simply install ChromaBlast ink in your Epson C88, C120, R1800, 4800 or the 4880 printer. Design your image and preview it in the ChromaBlast driver, the proprietary software that is included with your inks, and print. Finally, use a heat press to affix the image to the shirt.
What is the cost?
Cost is $2.00 to $2.50 for an 8.5" x 11" image. The estimated cost includes the specific media, ink and software driver.
How is the product sold?
ChromaBlast inks are available in cartridges for the Epson C88, C120, R1800, 4800, and 4880 printers. The ChromaBlast paper is available in two sizes: 8.5" x 11" (100 sheets per pack) and 11" x 17" (100 sheets per pack).
Directions for pressing:
For optimum color, use a standard heat press at 375 degrees F for 40 seconds.
How does ChromaBlast compare to screen printing and transfer paper?
Plastisol is the key component of screen printing. Instead of reacting to the fibers of the garment, plastisol sticks on the surface, creating a heavy, non-breathable image which can crack and peel. Traditional transfer paper has a very similar result.
ChromaBlast consists of active ingredients that react and cross link to the garment fibers when heat is applied. Because the image and garment fibers bond, Chromablast has a softer hand and superior wash fastness.
Click here to purchase ChromaBlast Ink Paper
We currently carry the continuous ink system only for the Epson C88. The system comes empty with tubes pre-attached and auto reset chips. Installation shouldn't take more than 30 minutes! Cartridges draw ink from 4oz bottles kept beside your printer. Once installed, you will never need to buy cartridges again! This system offers tremendous savings -- it is 10 times less expensive than the cartridges.
Note: A printer is not included with the purchase of the system.
The CFS for the C86/C88/C88+/R200/R220/R300/R320/1280 printers have Auto Reset chips on the cartridges. In order to reset the Epson monitoring system, simply turn the printer off, then turn it back on.
The empty system consists of a set of empty cartridges with tubes attached, auto reset chips, drilled bottle caps, 2 tubing brackets, a vacuum pump assembly for filling and installation instructions. The printer and the ink are not are not included in the price. These empty cartridges will work fine with most dyebase, pigment, or dye sublimation inks. They will not work with solvent based inks.
Purge4.gif and Purge6.gif can be used to test the OEM printer cartridges to make sure that the printer is functioning properly. The purge files can also be used to help get a perfect nozzle check. Click below to download the files. Purge4 is for four-color printers and Purge6 is for six-color printers.
Purge6.gif(right click & choose "Save Target As...")
Heat Transfer Pigment Ink
Our Heat Transfer inks have been designed specifically for Heat Transfer applications. Other black and yellow inks exhibit problems in heat transfer applications. The black can run and the yellow can turn green due to heat. Both of these problems have been resolved with our new Heat Transfer Inks.
These Heat Transfer Inks exhibit high fade resistance, good durability and water-resistance. These inks are perfect for use with our InkJet Transfer Paper.
The yellow will not turn green, due to heat, during transfer process.
They don't bleed when washed or if they get wet.
The Dmax on the black is very high, over 1.70.
Decreased dry time.
Designed for printing on our InkJet Heat Transfer Papers.
Superior flow through on continuous-feed systems.
Greater resistance to water and better durability than previous Heat Transfer inks.
Pigment Archival Ink (Ultrachrome Equivalent)
Our Pigment Archival Ink (Ultrachrome Equivalent) has the widest color gamut, excellent light fastness, vivid - stable colors, and intense saturation. They are scientifically tested for longevity, durability and water-resistance. They are perfect for posters, banners, murals, indoor and outdoor displays, art prints and photographs. They are specifically intended for professional use by photographers and artists when producing high-end graphics, advertising, archival and fine art prints with Epson printers.
This is our enhanced version of the Epson UltraChrome™ ink. These inks are designed to work on matte finish, semi-gloss or glossy papers. It is not quite as shiny on glossy papers as the Epson inks, but it is more realistic looking.
Our Pigment Archival ink is ideal for use on any of the Epson printers that use either the Dura-Bright™ or the UltraChrome Epson inks. This includes the C64, C66, C80, C82, C84, C86, C88, C88+, 2100, 2200, 4000, 7600, 9600 and 10600.
Improved dot gain, color density, and gamut.
Higher gloss and reflectivity, less bronzing.
Elimination of gloss-differential. Colors and Blacks have the same reflectivity.
Higher ink limits can be achieved, resulting in increased gamut on most coated media.
Superior flow through on continuous-feed systems.
Greater resistance to water and better durability.
Fully compatible with all Epson desktop and wide-format OEM pigment inks. Flushing not required.