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+   T-Shirt Forums > T-Shirt Industry Information > Heat Press and Heat Transfers > T-Shirt Crossover - diary of a heat press newbie
This section of the forum is where Rodney, a die hard screen printing fan, journeys into the world of heat press and heat transfers. Coming from the perspective of a complete heat press newbie making t-shirts for the first time. Jump right in :)



[PLASTISOL TRANSFERS] - what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

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Old February 23rd, 2007 Feb 23, 2007 8:29:14 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

What Are Plastisol Transfers

Plastisol Transfers are basically screen printed designs that are printed on a special heat transfer (release) paper instead of screen printing the design directly to a garment. Once the design is screen printed onto the paper, the printed heat transfer papers are shipped to you so you can put them on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc with a heat press.

How Are Plastisol Transfers Made

Unlike inkjet transfers, plastisol transfers can't be printed at home with an inkjet printer, they must be printed by a professional screen printer that specializes in custom plastisol transfers. The minimums for screen printed transfers can be MUCH lower than a traditional screen printed shirt. I've seen minimums as low as 8 "sheets", however your costs will go down as your quantities purchased go up.

Can I Use My Own Designs with Plastisol Trasnfers

Plastisol transfers can either be stock designs (artwork provided by the transfer company) or custom (your own custom design that you provide).


What Color and Type of T-Shirts Can I Use with Plastisol Transfers

They can be used to decorate dark colored t-shirts or light colored garments, 100% cotton, 50/50, Nylon and other garment types.

What Type of Different Plastisol Transfers Are There?

Plastisol Transfers can be applied to a garment several different ways:

Cold Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled off once the transfer is cooled. Usually has a glossy look.

Hot Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer is still hot. Usually has more of a matte look.

Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split". This is supposed to give the final design the softest hand with a matte finish.

What Type of Special Printing Methods Can Be Done with Plastisol Transfers

Several of the specialty printing techniques done by traditional screen printers can be done with custom plastisol transfers. This includes (but is not limited to): puff printing, glitter printing, foil printing, four color process screen printing, sparkle printing, etc.

What Is the Quality of Plastisol Transfers

Out of inkjet printed transfers, vinyl transfers, laser printed transfers and opaque transfers, plastisol transfers have the highest print quality and best durability of them all.

Where Can I Get Custom Plastisol Transfers Made


There are many companies that can custom screen print plastisol transfers for you. You can find a list of several of these custom transfer companies posted in the first post of this past forum discussion.

Here's another list: Custom Plastisol Transfer Vendors, a list

What if I REALLY Want to Make My Own Plastisol Transfers:

You can't make plastisol transfers at home with your inkjet/laser printer. You would need to buy screen printing equipment (like the same equipment screen printers use to print directly to t-shirts).

If you already have screen printing equipment, this should help:

This article should help: Printing Plastisol Transfers

And this one: International Coatings -- Transfer Products (Screen Printing Products)

Here's an instructional DVD: U.S. Screen Print & Inkjet Technology | Making Plastisol Transfers

Here's another article: U.S. Screen Print & Inkjet Technology | Making Plastisol Heat Transfers


Do You Have Any Pictures of What Plastisol Transfers Might Look Like?

Funny you should ask. I just so happen to have a few before and after pictures right over here. Keep in mind that these photos were taken by a heat press newbie (yours truly), so they make not be perfectly done


Did I miss anything? Stay tuned for my the test results of my first plastisol transfer samples from various companies:
a review of 8 different custom plastisol transfer screen printers - samples followup
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Old February 23rd, 2007 Feb 23, 2007 8:50:22 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Hey Rodney, just for the sake of being picky, how do you define quality and durability when comparing plastisol and vinyl transfer? I know I'm bias because I deal with vinyl transfer a lot.
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Old February 23rd, 2007 Feb 23, 2007 8:56:29 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vtec44
Hey Rodney, just for the sake of being picky, how do you define quality and durability when comparing plastisol and vinyl transfer?
I was thinking the same thing. It would be nice to see some wash tests to see if plastisol really is better than vinyl.
 
 
Old February 23rd, 2007 Feb 23, 2007 8:59:00 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split".
Why would that be a positive thing? I keep seeing that term, and I sit here thinking, "sounds nifty," but I don't understand the reason behind it. Does it leave some other type of desirable finish, other than matte or glossy? BTW, thanks for defining it for me.

I intend to only market my shirts online - no brick and mortar for me - so plastisol transfers really seem to be the way to produce a quality product for the print-on-demand operation I'm setting up. Better to have inexpensive transfers waiting to be pressed on any size shirt than to have paid for a ton of screened tees that aren't flying out the door.
 
Old February 24th, 2007 Feb 24, 2007 6:21:24 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney

Unlike inkjet transfers, plastisol transfers can't be printed at home with an inkjet printer, they must be printed by a professional screen printer that specializes in custom plastisol transfers....
Hi,

Do you know what is the printer's brand ? Is it Epson?
 
Old February 24th, 2007 Feb 24, 2007 6:37:48 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by onurulas
Do you know what is the printer's brand ? Is it Epson?
As Rodney explained they're not printed on an inkjet printer, they're screen printed.
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Old February 24th, 2007 Feb 24, 2007 7:59:52 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Do you know what is the printer's brand ? Is it Epson?
It is done by professional screen printing equipment, not an inkjet or laser printer. But buy an actual silk screen printing press (not to be confused with a heat press).
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Old February 24th, 2007 Feb 24, 2007 8:07:37 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vtec44
Hey Rodney, just for the sake of being picky, how do you define quality and durability when comparing plastisol and vinyl transfer? I know I'm bias because I deal with vinyl transfer a lot.
Good question Everyone is going to have their preferences, but my definition of quality would inlcude the initial appearance after the transfer, the appearance after the first wash, the feeling of the design when you run your hand over it, the feeling of the shirt when you have different sized designs printed, the versatility, etc..

Don't get me wrong, I think for some designs, vinyl will run a very close second (or even a tie), but I think overall, plastisol transfers offer a better end product.
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Old February 24th, 2007 Feb 24, 2007 9:12:45 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Useless
Why would that be a positive thing? I keep seeing that term, and I sit here thinking, "sounds nifty," but I don't understand the reason behind it. Does it leave some other type of desirable finish, other than matte or glossy? BTW, thanks for defining it for me.
I forgot to put the "benefit" for the hot split above. It's supposed to give the finished design a soft feel/hand since not all of the ink is required to go on the shirt. It's also supposed to give a matte finish. Depends on your preferences.
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Old March 5th, 2007 Mar 5, 2007 8:59:50 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

What about heavily detailed photo's? Does this process do well with that sort of thing? Seams those samples you show are very simple and 1-2 colors. My designs often have lots of details and color like a photograph. I'd like to retain the quality and print on dark shirts.
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Old March 6th, 2007 Mar 6, 2007 4:48:09 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.
 
Old March 6th, 2007 Mar 6, 2007 5:35:23 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by BEatMaKeR
What about heavily detailed photo's? Does this process do well with that sort of thing? Seams those samples you show are very simple and 1-2 colors. My designs often have lots of details and color like a photograph. I'd like to retain the quality and print on dark shirts.
yes, it can be and is done a lot.
not cheap.
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Old March 6th, 2007 Mar 6, 2007 5:39:20 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoveltyStuff
How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.

with Jumbo Size sheets 25x38 or 28x40, standard turn around is 5-8 days. 1000 sheets is done in one day.

when your art dep. provides ready for screens art, it's quick.
When there are art issues ...well.
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Old March 7th, 2007 Mar 7, 2007 2:12:57 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

yay finally i understand
 
Old March 7th, 2007 Mar 7, 2007 6:31:14 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: what is a plastisol (silk screen printed) heat transfer: a definition

Quote:
What Type of Different Plastisol Transfers Are There?

Plastisol Transfers can be applied to a garment several different ways:

Cold Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled off once the transfer is cooled. Usually has a glossy look.

Hot Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer is still hot. Usually has more of a matte look.

Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split". This is supposed to give the final design the softest hand with a matte finish.



Curious, are the transfers you tested and displayed photos for above...are they ALL Plastisol Transfers ?
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