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Heat Transfer Differences?

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Types Of Inkjet Heat Transfers

There are many types of heat transfers. The heat transfers commonly seen are the screenprinted heat transfers usually applied to garments at Flea Markets, Fairs, T-shirt Shops in mall kiosks, etc.. These transfers are pre-printed by various transfer companies and are usually sold either by the dozen or half dozen.

However, for our purposes, we will also deal with heat transfers that are printed and applied to various products such as T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Mousepads, Ceramic Tile, Clocks, Clipboards, Jewelry, and more...lots more.

Archival Ink Heat Transfers

Archival Ink Heat Transfers - the term 'Archival Ink' we use is so all printers in the trade know exactly what type of inks we are using to print heat transfers. Archival inks are printing inks designed for inkjet printers. The inks themself are made from pigmented materials, are very resistant to fading, bleeding, washing out and last quite a long time. Using archival inks assures you of a long lasting, high quality printed garment.

Another type of ink used is the Epson brand of inks. These inks are manufactured by Epson and come with your new Epson printer. The inks are Dye Based and although they do last a long time, occassionally there will be some bleeding of the black ink in your transfers. Being a dye based ink, they will fade a bit faster than if using Archival Inks. However, Epson inks are being used everyday with remarkable results. Please NOTE: NEVER use inks that say 'Epson Compatable'. Use ONLY Genuine Epson inks if this is what you wish to use.

Now let's talk about the actual heat transfer. No matter if you use the Epson inks or the Archival inks, you must print your images/artwork onto Transfer Paper. The transfer paper is specially coated paper ( called a carrier), that will accept your inks, hold the inks on the surface and when you heat press it onto your t-shirt, the inks will then transfer to your shirt. The inks and carrier will be heat pressed to your shirt. After the first wash, depending on the barnd of transfer paper used, the carrier that is on your shirt that has NO ink on it will quickly washout. The carrier that is holding the inks will not washout, but instead, will soften and your transfer image will feel very 'soft'. This is desireable.

Soft Hand Transfer Paper - this transfer paper is designed for use on white and light colored garments such as T-shirts, Staffshirts, Mousepads, Tote bags and more products. They can be heat pressed to 100% cotton, 50/50 blend, 100% cotton canvas, Denim and a few more fabrics. They will also work on white fabric mousepads, placemats and coasters.

Opaque Transfer Paper - this transfer paper is designed for use (mostly) on dark colored garments such as Red T-shirts, Green Aprons, Royal Blue Tote bags, Black, Forest Green, Navy,etc... It works well on 100% cotton, Cotton Canvas, 600 Denier Polyester, Denim, Canvas and more fabrics.

Opaque transfer paper is actually a very thin sheet of vinyl, polymer material and other materials...depending on the paper manufacturer. It is opaque, that is, you cannot see through it. Once the transfer has been applied to the product, it does have a 'heavy hand', that is, you can actually feel the transfer. The opaque transfer does NOT washout. It is permanent and once applied, will not come off.

Sublimation Ink Heat Transfers

Sublimation Ink heat transfer paper - This transfer paper is designed to hold the ink onto the surface of the paper. When printed with sublimation ink, the inks will not penetrate/saturate the paper itself.

When you heat press the transfer paper to the product, all the inks in the artwork will then be 'transferred' onto the product. Please note that if you do use plain bond paper, your imprints may come out a bit faded due to the inks soaking into the paper. Also, when you print your sublimation ink heat transfers, the print will be very dull and colorless. This is normal.

When you heat press the transfer to the products, your imprinted design will 'pop' with color. And yes, you will have ink left on your transfer paper. This is normal.

Sublimation ink Heat Transfer papers come in different sizes and trade names. If you are not sure which brand to use, ask or even try to obtain a few sample sheets of the different brands to try.

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