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Discussion Starter #1
Ok i'm totally new to this t-shirt printing stuff.

Soooo I'm asking that all veterans jump in and give us newbies some useful information.

Whats the difference between heat press and heat transfer?

What's the difference in paper?
(light color shirts / dark color shirts)
Does one last longer then another?

What's the difference in printers?
Can I use a regular printer?

Will heat transfer and heat press last as long as screen print?

Do you cut out of the image your pressing onto a shirt? (or leave it whole sheet)

How do I take an image in jpeg and print it on this paper I hear about to press on?

What is the cost to print an image on a shirt with heat?
Is it cheaper then screen print?

etc, etc, etc.......

Bring on everyone.
 

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I am not a vetran but I have been silk screening for over yrs & done a few transfers.

Whats the difference between heat press and heat transfer?

Het Press Is a solid Material melted into the fabric (typically cut on a plotter). Transfers most of the time just transfer the ink & or a small layer of film.

What's the difference in paper?
(light color shirts / dark color shirts)

IDK?

Does one last longer then another?

IDK?

What's the difference in printers?
Can I use a regular printer?

we have always used a regular inkjet for transfers & a plotter( no ink) for presses

Will heat transfer and heat press last as long as screen print?

No some are getting better but no & screen printing does not need any real special washing if cured properly.

Do you cut out of the image your pressing onto a shirt? (or leave it whole sheet)

We would cut by hand close to the image with round corners so it does not stand out so much

How do I take an image in jpeg and print it on this paper I hear about to press on?

Depends on film but most require being flipped reverse in order to transfer to light color.

What is the cost to print an image on a shirt with heat?

Depends on what you buy & where.

Is it cheaper then screen print?

No ( for small qty it is easier than screen printing & faster) but screen printing any real qty is much cheaper & faster.


 

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What's the difference in paper?
(light color shirts / dark color shirts)
The paper for light color shirts you would print in reverse and just heat apply onto your fabric.
The paper for dark color shirts is actually a film. You print (not in reverse) and then cut your image out. From there you peel the film off and heat apply onto your fabric.

Does one last longer then another?
It depends on the mfg really, but generally the paper for light colored fabrics tends to fade over time.

What's the difference in printers?
There are many different printers with a wide range of specs/features. I suggest you do some research.

Can I use a regular printer?
If by regular printer you mean an inkjet printer, then yes. Some people will swear by certain ink types and printer types, so pay close attention to the advice you receive.

Will heat transfer and heat press last as long as screen print?
Heat applied film can, but inkjet transfer papers tend to have a shorter lifespan once applied.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great information everyone, keep it coming.

If there is any important questions I missed, please fill in.

What are things a newbie to the business might need to know?
(ex. better products, better shirts, better ink, better printers, better heat press, better heat transfer, etc... )

This would be a lot better for people as myself instead of crowding the thread with repeated information.
 

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Hmm a lot of demands from a newbie. You could just do a search and find all of your answers that way. I will try not to repeat anyone else's stuff here, but if I do, so be it.

I don't do screen printing yet so I can't say anything about that. But I do transfers. To me the heat presses are the vinyl and plastisol transfers and the transfers are the sublimation, chromablast, and regular heat transfers. I'm set up to do all 3. Each requires different transfer paper designed specifically for that particular type of transfer and each requires special ink except the regular transfer which can use plain old inkjet ink. So each will have a dedicated printer with that ink & paper.

Chromablast allows you to put a transfer on 100% cotton that has little to no hand (feel). The only drawback is that the process leaves a yellowish ghost around the image where the unused paper sat on the fabric. Most of the time this washes out, but sometimes you can still see it against the white material. So you have to trim the transfer closely before pressing.

Sublimation requires paper and ink specifically made for the process and it also requires products made specifically for sublimation. With sublimation you can print on mugs, 65% or more polyester fabrics, key chains, name tags and close to 100 other products. When you sublimate on a polyester t-shirt, there is no hand or feel to the transfer and they do last as long if not longer than screen printing.

I have yet to print on a dark colored t-shirt. I don't have a cutter, but I do have 2 kinds of paper for the process, though I've never used either. I hear they do leave a heavy hand and need to be trimmed before pressing. And I have heard that the transfers peel or break off after a while or a few washings.
 

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Hmm a lot of demands from a newbie. You could just do a search and find all of your answers that way. I will try not to repeat anyone else's stuff here, but if I do, so be it.

I don't do screen printing yet so I can't say anything about that. But I do transfers. To me the heat presses are the vinyl and plastisol transfers and the transfers are the sublimation, chromablast, and regular heat transfers. I'm set up to do all 3. Each requires different transfer paper designed specifically for that particular type of transfer and each requires special ink except the regular transfer which can use plain old inkjet ink. So each will have a dedicated printer with that ink & paper.

Chromablast allows you to put a transfer on 100% cotton that has little to no hand (feel). The only drawback is that the process leaves a yellowish ghost around the image where the unused paper sat on the fabric. Most of the time this washes out, but sometimes you can still see it against the white material. So you have to trim the transfer closely before pressing.

Sublimation requires paper and ink specifically made for the process and it also requires products made specifically for sublimation. With sublimation you can print on mugs, 65% or more polyester fabrics, key chains, name tags and close to 100 other products. When you sublimate on a polyester t-shirt, there is no hand or feel to the transfer and they do last as long if not longer than screen printing.

I have yet to print on a dark colored t-shirt. I don't have a cutter, but I do have 2 kinds of paper for the process, though I've never used either. I hear they do leave a heavy hand and need to be trimmed before pressing. And I have heard that the transfers peel or break off after a while or a few washings.
What do you mean by this?
"Chromablast allows you to put a transfer on 100% cotton that has little to no hand (feel)."
 

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What do you mean by this?
"Chromablast allows you to put a transfer on 100% cotton that has little to no hand (feel)."
What I mean by this is that there is a process called Chromablast (special ink with special paper) that allows you to put a full color heat transfer (chromablast transfer) onto 100% cotton material that doesn't have a hand. Hand means the feel of the fabric with the transfer on top of it. Regular inkjet transfers have a heavy or plastic kind of feel to them. Chromablast and sublimation do not. They feel like the cloth with very little difference in texture. They aren't stiff either but really feel like they were put there at the time the material was actually made. Both are expensive, but have such a nice feel to them. And they don't peel off like a regular transfer does.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What I mean by this is that there is a process called Chromablast (special ink with special paper) that allows you to put a full color heat transfer (chromablast transfer) onto 100% cotton material that doesn't have a hand. Hand means the feel of the fabric with the transfer on top of it. Regular inkjet transfers have a heavy or plastic kind of feel to them. Chromablast and sublimation do not. They feel like the cloth with very little difference in texture. They aren't stiff either but really feel like they were put there at the time the material was actually made. Both are expensive, but have such a nice feel to them. And they don't peel off like a regular transfer does.
Thank you Loretta.

With this special ink, can a normal ink jet printer handle this?
 

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Thank you Loretta.

With this special ink, can a normal ink jet printer handle this?
Yes, a normal printer can handle any of these kinds of transfers (regular inkjet, sublimation, and chromablast) but unless you have a printer that can run two different kinds of ink you will have to have a dedicated printer for each kind of ink. I have 3 Epson C88+ printers. They were about $80 each and are limited to 8.5" x 11" or 8.5" x 14" paper.

But you have to make sure that the printer you buy has ink available for it. I'd check with places like Conde or Bestblanks to see if they have ink available for your printer. While there you can see what other printers are supported by the ink, that will give you an idea of whether or not you will have to purchase a printer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, a normal printer can handle any of these kinds of transfers (regular inkjet, sublimation, and chromablast) but unless you have a printer that can run two different kinds of ink you will have to have a dedicated printer for each kind of ink. I have 3 Epson C88+ printers. They were about $80 each and are limited to 8.5" x 11" or 8.5" x 14" paper.

But you have to make sure that the printer you buy has ink available for it. I'd check with places like Conde or Bestblanks to see if they have ink available for your printer. While there you can see what other printers are supported by the ink, that will give you an idea of whether or not you will have to purchase a printer.
Your awesome! Thank you!

Do you cut your images down before pressing them? I'm sure people don't want to see a clear square on their shirt.
 

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Your awesome! Thank you!

Do you cut your images down before pressing them? I'm sure people don't want to see a clear square on their shirt.
I have only done a few t-shirts with sublimation. I trimmed it some but not a lot. Now with the chromablast you have to trim down to 1/8" to 1/16" to cut down on that yellow rim. I usually do mugs & such rather than t-shirts and for those it doesn't matter because you can't see it. Normally the transfer covers the entire piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Come on veterans, jump in and give your input on things newbies should know about the t-shirt business.
 

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Hi,

Instead of posting how to do this and that, I'll explain how I print.

I've been printing since 1987: Sublimation since 1987 and 'inkjet' heat transfers since 2001. As I've gotten away from sublimation I'll just comment on how I do regular heat transfers.

I was using an Epson C84 but have upgraded to an Epson Workforce 1100 which use the Epson brand 'Durabrite' inks.

I print my heat transfer on Transjet II heat transfer paper in reverse.

I allow the ink to dry for about 15 minutes, trim the outer edge of the heat transfer to maybe a 1/4 inch from the design and heat press at 350 degrees, using firm pressure for 15-19 seconds.

When I open the heat press, I peel the heat transfer from the shirt/mousepad starting from one corner and pull in a smooth coninuous motion.

The 'hand' ( the hand = how the transfer itself feels, beit hard and rubbery or soft as it being barely noticeable). When a heat transfer is applied to a shirt, it has a slight hand but after the 1st washing, the transfer has a soft hand ( feels soft and comfortable) and the inks don't run!

When I use Durabrite inks, on my printer, I set the printer preferences at the following settings:
Yellow -15
Magenta +5
Cyan +5

The reason for doing so is when you heat press, the inks react to the heat. This adjustment will eliminate any greenish or yellowish tint that usually occurs when you don't adjust the settings.

How long do my imprints last? I have one t-shirt I did when I started using Durabrite inks and Transjet II papers and the image has faded about 1/3 of the original color. This shirt was printed in 2001, washed at least once a week for 4 years and then barely worn as the threads in the shirt are getting 'thread bare'. It is a Jerzees brand, 50/50 blend t-shirt, color is birch.

I have never had a complaint as to the quality of the shirts (Jerzees and Gildan 100%), image quality, the feel of the print or any image washing out or fading.

I would suggest that using only pigmented inks - Epson Durabrite works for me. Using only a heat press (this enables you to apply proper heat, time and pressure to any heat transfer, quality heat transfer papers (lots of good papers are available) and the right printer which will allow you to print your own heat transfers using pigmented inks.

I have been teaching people how to print heat transfers since 1992 (sublimation) and pigmented heat transfers since 2003 via Ebay video cd's or online and feedback from all who have been trained has been 100% positive, with the exception of one who didn't care for the video in the cd's (thought they were homemade - and they are as they were filmed as I actually did each type of product). ALL people who trained and did the printing, they had no complaints from THEIR customers about quality, printing and how long the designs lasted, wash after wash.

I could go on and on but would take up too much space. Printing and applying pigmented ink heat transfers is like painting a house. There are 50 ways to paint the house but as long as it comes out painted properly, last a long time and affordable, that's all that counts.

Hope this helps.

Fred
Melbourne FL
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi,

Instead of posting how to do this and that, I'll explain how I print.

I've been printing since 1987: Sublimation since 1987 and 'inkjet' heat transfers since 2001. As I've gotten away from sublimation I'll just comment on how I do regular heat transfers.

I was using an Epson C84 but have upgraded to an Epson Workforce 1100 which use the Epson brand 'Durabrite' inks.

I print my heat transfer on Transjet II heat transfer paper in reverse.

I allow the ink to dry for about 15 minutes, trim the outer edge of the heat transfer to maybe a 1/4 inch from the design and heat press at 350 degrees, using firm pressure for 15-19 seconds.

When I open the heat press, I peel the heat transfer from the shirt/mousepad starting from one corner and pull in a smooth coninuous motion.

The 'hand' ( the hand = how the transfer itself feels, beit hard and rubbery or soft as it being barely noticeable). When a heat transfer is applied to a shirt, it has a slight hand but after the 1st washing, the transfer has a soft hand ( feels soft and comfortable) and the inks don't run!

When I use Durabrite inks, on my printer, I set the printer preferences at the following settings:
Yellow -15
Magenta +5
Cyan +5

The reason for doing so is when you heat press, the inks react to the heat. This adjustment will eliminate any greenish or yellowish tint that usually occurs when you don't adjust the settings.

How long do my imprints last? I have one t-shirt I did when I started using Durabrite inks and Transjet II papers and the image has faded about 1/3 of the original color. This shirt was printed in 2001, washed at least once a week for 4 years and then barely worn as the threads in the shirt are getting 'thread bare'. It is a Jerzees brand, 50/50 blend t-shirt, color is birch.

I have never had a complaint as to the quality of the shirts (Jerzees and Gildan 100%), image quality, the feel of the print or any image washing out or fading.

I would suggest that using only pigmented inks - Epson Durabrite works for me. Using only a heat press (this enables you to apply proper heat, time and pressure to any heat transfer, quality heat transfer papers (lots of good papers are available) and the right printer which will allow you to print your own heat transfers using pigmented inks.

I have been teaching people how to print heat transfers since 1992 (sublimation) and pigmented heat transfers since 2003 via Ebay video cd's or online and feedback from all who have been trained has been 100% positive, with the exception of one who didn't care for the video in the cd's (thought they were homemade - and they are as they were filmed as I actually did each type of product). ALL people who trained and did the printing, they had no complaints from THEIR customers about quality, printing and how long the designs lasted, wash after wash.

I could go on and on but would take up too much space. Printing and applying pigmented ink heat transfers is like painting a house. There are 50 ways to paint the house but as long as it comes out painted properly, last a long time and affordable, that's all that counts.

Hope this helps.

Fred
Melbourne FL
Great information Fred, check your inbox.
 
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