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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this is in the right category but I didn't know where else to stick it.

I want to launch a website to sell tshirts, as about everyone else in this forum :)
I will be using stock transfers from proworld as well as designing my own graphics.

The problem: I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I AM DOING

Below are some questions that I hope some members could help me answer.


1. What fabric is best for printing shirts? 100% cotton, 50/50, something else?

2. What is the best brand for tshirts? Jerzeez, Fruit of the Loom, something else?

3. Is there a difference between using a tshirt press to print on a white or a color shirt (black, yellow, red)? Is it a different process?

4. What exactly is embroidery, "print on demand" or screen printing and embroidery and what is the difference between each? What would be the best for my purpose?

5. What is the best printer to purchaes for printing designs on transfers. Do I need some special kind of transfer paper.


6. Is there a difference between submlimatino and other type of printing? Which is the best? Which is the cheapest?
 

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Hello,

I can help you with some of your questions but not all, sorry.
1. Most of our customers prefer 100% cotton.
2. We have found that the Gildan T-shirts seem to be the most popular.
3. Imprinting to a white t-shirt is simply applying ink to fabric. Because printers don't print white, you need to create a white background to print to otherwise the image takes on the colors of the shirt.
4. Don't know sorry.
5. Epson with out a doubt! We purchase our transfer paper from RPL Supplies.
6. IF you are refering to SUBLIMATION, then yes there is a difference. Dye sublimation is a dye process that goes from a solid to a gas to imprint fabric. Sublimation will not work on natural fabrics (cotton) they will only work on man made fabrics (Poylester) Now no one wants to wear a poylester t-shirt wo some companies like hanes have come up with a shirt that is cotton on the inside and poylester on the outside allowing you to imprint to it. These shirts are quite expensive compared to a normal 100% cotton shirt.
Dye sublimation actually dyes each fibre. If done correctly, it is a perminant transfer (won't wash out) were a normal inkjet transfer will fade over time. My experience has been in the personalized photo gift business and we found that the inkjet transfer is all our customrs wanted. Yes they were cheaper.
We used to use dye sub but found it too expensive. Actually we stopped imprinting all together about a month ago and have started "brokering" other people's products on our web sites. I hope this helps. Like anything else I am sure there will be many more opinions out there. These are mine.
 

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1> People like both 100% Cotton and the 50/50 blends pretty evenly.
2> Gildan is definately the most popular shirt for impriting, either the 5.4oz 'Heavyweight' or the slightly more expensive 6.1oz 'Ultra' (I use the latter).
3> There is no really good way to do heat transfer on to dark shirts, while you have full option on the light shirts. We've found White, Natural, and Ash work well for normal transfers (and don't leave a border/have much discoloring), and light green seemed to work pretty well also. Anything else and you'll get a border around your image that is offcolored, and the image will tint slightly with the color of the shirt.
There is an opaque transfer paper available, but this is only useful for transfers which you can cut right up to (generally, block square pictures or such) because it transfers the white to the t-shirt. Vinyl/Flock can transfer fine to dark colors, but you're then limited in number of colors.
4> I don't know anything about embroidery except that it's not a great idea for normal t-shirts, but is decent for caps or 'higher class' shirts. Screen Printing is different from heat transfer in several ways. The biggest advantage of screen printing is that it's great for darker shirts, while the disadvantages would be cost and limited number of colors. What you might look at doing is doing the heat transfer yourself and subleting out screen printing to a local shop for some shirts you want in darker colors. Generally there is a set up fee to make the screen (about $20) and a minimum order of 12 or so. This is what I'm doing; everything on lighter shirts we're doing ourselves with the heat press, the dark shirts (1 or 2 color designs) we're subleting to a local guy. (It costs a LOT of money to get started in screen printing if you wanted to do it yourself; it doesn't cost nearly as much to get started in heat transfer.)
5> Epson printer, Transjet II seems to be the transfer paper of choice. There are several varieties out there, but my research has shown this is definately the most prefered brand for overall quality.
6> Dye sub seems to be a lot more hassle than it's worth, but it does have some advantages. Photodiver covered that pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Which model of epson do you recommend? What is the URL for RPL Supplies.? Also what is the best site to get wholesale shirts from?
 

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If possible, I would like some specifics as in:
Whats the best type of heat press and where can I find one (15X15, 16X20, regular, swing away one)??
What type of transfer paper, opaque, other kinds?
 

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I used and epson 880, C82, C86 Printers
RPL's URL is www.rplsupplies.com
opaque transfer paper is used for color fabric. I personally didn't like imprinting to dark fabric, I didn't like the liike of feel. basicly opage transfer paper is a thin sheet if vinyl like material. I prefered using RPL's regular transfer paper P/N#815.

As far as presses go RPL sells them as well. The size of press would depend on what you would like to imprint. Not just now but down the road as they are not cheap. We have a Hix 15"x15" clamshell as well as a Knight 16"x20" swing. We purchased the 16"x20" because we were sublimating plaques and required that type because a clamshell press won't imprint anything larger than 1" thick.
 

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Photodiver your experience with dye sub in the personalised market sounds exactly like mine. I switched from dye sub to ink jet transfers because it was too time consuming and expensive. But I do miss the results as they are pretty unique in their own way.

"Epson all way" is my recommendation as well. :) I have a 980, 1280, and two 1250s. The 980 is probably my fav.

Sounds like you want a heat press, and some transfers - so you can do ink jet transfer printing. No need to do screen printing.

Print on Demand is a Just In Time method of working. The customer orders and you print it and sent it out. You don't need to print up large amounts of designs and press them onto t-shirts until the customer orders. Chosing ink jet transfers for your solution is perfect for this way of working.

Best of luck.
 

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Hix is the most prefered brand of heat press, while Geo Knight is kind of frowned upon because of electrical problems in several of thier models (they will replace it for you if it goes bad, but it's a problem they've known about for years and haven't fixed it). Swing-away style presses are preffered to clam-shell style, but are usually a little more expensive. You probably want to go with at least a 15x15 press, even if you're only doing 8.5x11 prints: the extra space on the press helps you center your shirt a lot more easily and also allows for expansion if you start with 8.5x11 and decide to later expand to something larger.

Transfer Paper (Transjet II) can be found at http://personalizedsupplies.com/transferpaper.htm and http://www.coastalbusiness.com. Opaque Transfer paper (a pain to use and more likely to crack, but still has some uses) can be found at http://www.transfertechnology.com.

As for where to find a heat press: Check with local vendors and see if you can find a used one. I suggest calling up the local screen printers and t-shirt companies in your area and nicely asking if they have a used heat press they'd be interested in selling, or knew of anyone that does.

For wholesale t-shirts, there are several options. You'll need a state tax license to use most of them (the best I've found that does not require one is blankshirts.com). I use S & S Activewear (ssactivewear.com); they have very good prices. You might want to look for something local so it's easier to pick up last-minute shirts though.

One other option, if you're setting up a storefront and thus have other initial expenses, is to start by subleting all your work. Find a local business with the tools you need and you should be able to get a decent price (probably better if you supply your own shirts) which you can build on and later purchase your own equipment.
 
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