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Longevity of plastisol heat transfer VS other printing methods

3823 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  stlclothingco

I have a question about the longevity of plastisol heat transfers as compared to other printing methods. I am especially interested to hear your opinions as they related to a specific style of design. Many of my t-shirt designs consist of mainly linework, as in the example photo. The shirt depicted in the photos was produced via a plastisol heat transfer. The linework is all 1-2pt thickness. I have come to realize that when applying this type of design to a shirt, there is not enough strength in the printed area to overcome even gentle streching in the fabric. I can take a just-printed shirt and stretch it slightly, and the printed areas will start to "crack" and separate. And this eventually leads to parts of the print lifting off of the shirt.

Anyway, getting to the point:

I am interested to know if there are other printing methods which would be better suited to printing this type of design. Most of my designs are single color, generally white or light ink on dark shirts. So far I only have experience with plastisol transfers. I was planning to build my business around this printing method, but now that I see the potential quality issues I am not sure. Or it could be that there are problems with my technique -- I am pretty new to this.

The two photos below depict a newly printed shirt, and a shirt which has been washed about once a week for over a year (The washed shirt belongs to my mom -- I was horrified when she showed up last week proudly wearing that shirt -- not the type of advertising I need, haha!)

Thanks in advance for your input!


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Hey Chris,

Did you find a better printing method that is more durable ? Maybe vinyl ?
Screen printing would be a bit more durable. have you tried different transfers from different companies? who do you currently use for your transfers?
We have used Silver Mountain Graphics for the last six years and not had any issues with plastisol transfers.
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Screen printing directly to the shirt is the way to go. Plastisol transfers are screen printed but you won't get the same type of bond to the shirt as you do with a direct print. I wouldn't use vinyl because the cost of the vinyl will be much higher in the long run then jobbing it out to a screen printing company. You also won't be stuck weeding the vinyl all day long. As long as the printing company cures the shirts properly the print will last for a long time without breaking up like it did in the pictures above.
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