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Printing Inks

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What we will discuss here is inks so you will understand the differences with the different types of inks used to print heat transfers.

For the sake of less confusion, there are only two (2) types of inks to be considered when printing heat transfers.

Archival/OEM ink and Sublimation Ink.

Archival Inks - these are pigment based inks that will resist fading, bleeding and colors running (when the garment is washed). Archival inks come in different brands such as Spectre, Magic Mix and a few other brands.

Archival inks are printed onto Soft Hand transfer papers such as Hanes, Transjet II, Soft Hand, Joto, etc... plus they are also printed onto Opaque transfer papers such as Avery, Hanes, Pro World. etc...

Best results are always obtained by using a heat press to transfer your prints to garments....

OEM Inks - OEM is Original Equipment Manufacturers inks such as Epson, Canon, HP, etc... However, we do not recommend using any OEM inks unless they are genuine Epson inks. With the exception of the Epson Durabrite inks (available on the CX5200, C42, C82 and the new C84), the Epson inks are Dye Based. Nothing wrong with this but ocassionally your transfer may run or fade unusually fast. Being dye based, it is more reactive to such things as sunlight, lights, weather, etc..

The Epson Durabrite inks are pigment based inks and are exceptionally resistant to fading, bleeding, washing out, etc... You will have to make a minor adjustment in your Printer Preferences to compensate for any ink discoloration.

All OEM transfers can be printed onto the Soft Hand transfer papers such as Hanes, Transjet II, Soft Hand, Joto, etc... plus they are also printed onto Opaque transfer papers such as Avery, Pro World and Hanes.

With the exception of Epson OEM inks, other brands of inks usually run when water is applied on them such as washing the shirts, bumperstickers in the rain, etc...

Stay with the Epson Durabrite brand or the other brands of pigmented inks.

WE use the Epson Durabrite inks.
Epson 'Compatible' Inks - We do not recommend using these inks for your heat transfers as the ingredients in them are unknown. You could end up making shirts which will run when it is washed. Stay with what works.

Sublimation Inks - Sublimation Inks are a transparent ink that is used on special heat transfer paper made just for sublimation transfers.

The sublimation process is very simple. You print the transfer onto the transfer paper. Your artwork is very dull, colorless and dark. This is normal.

When you place the transfer onto a mousepad, ceramic tile, etc... the heat from the press, along with the pressure of the heat press being closed, causes the ink to 'vaporize' or turn into a gas. This 'gas' is forced into the actual fabric of the garment and mousepad, or the coating on the ceramic tile, mug, etc... The image is
IN the product.

Once the process is completed, the colors on your artwork POP! Brilliant reds, yellow yellows, etc...

You must print your sublimation transfers onto heat transfer paper designed for sublimation ink!

Sublimation ink heat transfers should not be applied to garments and products that have a 100% cotton content. Sublimation ink heat transfers WILL WASHOUT on ANY 100% Cotton product!

Sublimation ink heat transfers should only be heat transfered onto hard items such as mugs, metal, ceramic tiles, etc... that have been specifically coated to accept sublimation ink heat transfers.

You cannot go into your local Lowes or Home depot and buy a ceramic tile and heat pres onto it. It will not work. The surface MUST BE COATED..

Sublimation ink heat transfers work excellent on man made fabrics (polyester, nylon, denier poly, etc...) Yes, you can place an image onto a 50/50 blend shirt. When you first wash it, the ink that is in the 100% cotton fibers will washout. The image in the 50% polyester fiber will never washout. Your image will have a washed out look. To those of us who serve the commercial market (local painters, contractors, etc...), this is acceptable. Sublimation transfers should be applied onto garments that have a 100% polyester content. In most cases, such as aprons, a 65 poly and 35 cotton is acceptable.

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