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Hey all!

I have been making shirts for a while and I am very into my own way of doing these. I am SOO sick of the weeding for black/colored shirts whether its vinyl OR Jet Opaque weeding.

I recently just got a client who wanted a large order and I ordered my transfers for the first time. I ordered ULTRA COLOR SOFT transfers from Transfer Express.

Does anyone know how these are made?
What is the process called? (I doubt its plastisol)
Do I need a special printer?

I REALLY want to be able to make these transfers myself from home.

Thanks in advance to all!
 

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Best guess is an HTV. You can find out if you can peel it off the carrier.
 

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Their site says it is digitally printed and has a thin transparent outline/border ... that last bit makes me wonder. Are they somehow cutting and weeding this stuff? That seems unlikely, but why else would there be a transparent border around everything? You can see the border in the photo in the upper left of their page.

There was that self-weeding inkjet-based system a few years back that didn't quite seem to get off the ground. It had a "clear" ink that determined which parts of the paper would transfer to the garment. Maybe something along those lines again? The stuff I'm talking about was from from Vivid Chemical and Conde.

 

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Does anyone know how these are made?
What is the process called? (I doubt its plastisol)
Do I need a special printer?
Transfer Express do specify what these transfers are (screen + digital), and it is obvious by the pricing as well.

Their name for Direct To Film (DTF)?
Nah... Nobody is selling 11x18 DTF printed transfers for $2.63. It's just uneconomical to do so.
Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Screenshot

The stretch versions could be DTF, but I doubt it. Screen-printed transfers are much more profitable.

WTF is up with that transparent border around everything?
Looks intentional to me, and the other examples don't have it.
It's a technique often used with plotter cut vinyl for creating an outline matching the color of the fabric.
Not the best idea for this type of transfer obviously...
 

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These are in direct competition to Supacolor. Essentially these are made with very expensive equipment such as an HP indigo or a Ricoh. Im sure you can use Oki printer too. Unless you are ready to drop a lot of money, creating these at home is not feasible. You can try to replicate the process with Direct to film and achieve similar results but not exact. The process itself requires heat transfer film and not paper and its run through the printer with everything except white. Then, a white waterbased ink is screen printed on the back. The border around everything is solving a problem with these transfers where the edges tend not to stick and peel. Thus adding a clear or slightly darker outline allows the adhesive to go further past the design. Check out this video.
 

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These are in direct competition to Supacolor.
All print methods are essentially in competition with each other, but there are substantial differences between them.

Essentially these are made with very expensive equipment such as an HP indigo or a Ricoh.
These two are not the same.

Any laser printer can be used for the DST process. Even a $200 desktop printer will do.
Those large $20,000 laser printers (Ricoh, Xerox, Konica-Minolta, etc.) are just regular laser printers for production use.
They are the same technology as desktop laser printers, but much faster and have very low cost per print.
They also have similar limitations to the cheap desktop printers:
a) prints are limited to 30cm width at best.
b) poor paper registration which means that the white overprint will not always be in the same place.
c) 4 color dry toner.

HP indigo are essentially laser printers as well, but are much more advanced.
a) they can print up to 50cm wide sheets.
b) have perfect paper registration (grippers carry the sheet through the press).
c) can have up to 12 liquid inks (fluorescent, silver, and other colors are possible).
They are basically real print presses using a digital print engine instead of printing plates.
Having one however is not that easy... You are looking at $500,000 for a decent model, plus around $3K per month for maintenance.

You can try to replicate the process with Direct to film and achieve similar results but not exact.
DTF is obviously a better option in terms of equipment cost and can print one offs, but
a) print quality as well as the quality of the transfer itself can be erratic.
b) very slow for long runs.
c) much higher cost per print.

The process itself requires heat transfer film and not paper
It depends on your definition of "paper".
Transfer papers are not just paper, and the coating is what makes the difference.
Some people prefer the film because you can see where the print goes when pressing it, but the cost per sheet is much higher.

The border around everything is solving a problem with these transfers where the edges tend not to stick and peel. Thus adding a clear or slightly darker outline allows the adhesive to go further past the design.
The sticking issue is somewhat true, depending on the film or paper used.
The border is more about blending the design to the fabric by softening sharp edges, adding strength to thin lines, and hide the glue.

EDITED: more detailed info added.
 

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These are in direct competition to Supacolor. Essentially these are made with very expensive equipment such as an HP indigo or a Ricoh. Im sure you can use Oki printer too. Unless you are ready to drop a lot of money, creating these at home is not feasible. You can try to replicate the process with Direct to film and achieve similar results but not exact. The process itself requires heat transfer film and not paper and its run through the printer with everything except white. Then, a white waterbased ink is screen printed on the back. The border around everything is solving a problem with these transfers where the edges tend not to stick and peel. Thus adding a clear or slightly darker outline allows the adhesive to go further past the design. Check out this video.
This might be the only person on the internet I've seen so far who actually knows what they are talking about
 

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There was that self-weeding inkjet-based system a few years back that didn't quite seem to get off the ground. It had a "clear" ink that determined which parts of the paper would transfer to the garment. Maybe something along those lines again? The stuff I'm talking about was from from Vivid Chemical and Conde.
ah, the old reveal-s papers
i thought you were initially talking about the banana inkjet papers
 

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ah, the old reveal-s papers
i thought you were initially talking about the banana inkjet papers
The Reveal-S and Forever Subli-light papers still exist and do work for white shirts, but they are very tricky to use.

I think NoXid is talking about another self weeding inkjet transfer from nearly a decade ago.
The transfer had to be combined with a laser printer to create a mask, so only the design part would transfer.
 

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The Reveal-S and Forever Subli-light papers still exist and do work for white shirts, but they are very tricky to use.

I think NoXid is talking about another self weeding inkjet transfer from nearly a decade ago.
The transfer had to be combined with a laser printer to create a mask, so only the design part would transfer.
I was referring to the Reveal stuff, I just didn't remember the name. Vivid Chemical was the company behind the technology. There was supposed to be a version for use on dark shirts, but that's when the poop stopped the fan turning 💩
 

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I was referring to the Reveal stuff, I just didn't remember the name. Vivid Chemical was the company behind the technology. There was supposed to be a version for use on dark shirts, but that's when the poop stopped the fan turning 💩
These ain't that bad and only require clear ink if you want to print pastel colors and gradients.
This is similar to the laser toner transfers, where you need clear or white toner in areas with low density.

Regular ink activates the polymer, and only the activated parts transfer onto the garment.
FOREVER does have a version for dark garments, called "Subli-Dark (No-Cut) Glitter".
I did test the light version a few years back and it was definitely tricky but not too bad.
Not something I use personally, but I like trying new things and see how they work.

The dark version is only available in glitter.
I'm guessing because glitter is the only way to create opacity for this type of transfer.
I just found a recent video demonstrating the process on dark garments.
 

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These ain't that bad and only require clear ink if you want to print pastel colors and gradients.
This is similar to the laser toner transfers, where you need clear or white toner in areas with low density.

Regular ink activates the polymer, and only the activated parts transfer onto the garment.
FOREVER does have a version for dark garments, called "Subli-Dark (No-Cut) Glitter".
I did test the light version a few years back and it was definitely tricky but not too bad.
Not something I use personally, but I like trying new things and see how they work.

The dark version is only available in glitter.
I'm guessing because glitter is the only way to create opacity for this type of transfer.
I just found a recent video demonstrating the process on dark garments.
Vivid, Reveal, Conde had everyone chomping at the bit for the dark-garment version, and showed promising examples and demos, but then Poof! There for a while, thought they might have captured a unicorn 🦄
 

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Vivid, Reveal, Conde had everyone chomping at the bit for the dark-garment version, and showed promising examples and demos, but then Poof! There for a while, thought they might have captured a unicorn 🦄
There were some rumors about a patent dispute, but as shown in the video FOREVER does have a version for dark garments.
Unicorns don't exist, but this is a decent replica, and works really well for distressed designs.
Ridiculously expensive though... nearly $5 per A3 sheet :eek:.
 
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