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I was wondering whats the big deal about plastisol heat transfers? It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to print directly on the shirt instead of printing on the heat transfer paper then onto the shirt. I think i do not have the correct process in doing it but it seems like you will be doing double the work with plastisol heat transfer.
 

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I'm not sure how many screen printers actually use plastisol transfers themselves.

As a vendor, you have no idea what size customer is coming through the door next, so it allows you the flexibility to make 100 Large shirts and 20 XL's if that happens to be the case, or 80 Larges and 40 XL's if that be the case. Thus you don't have to invest in 120 Large shirts and 120 XL shirts, instead you get 120 transfers, and apply and restock shirts as needed. Then of course there's the customer who has to be different "How about this, but in pink?". In short plastisol gives you flexibility.
 

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I was wondering whats the big deal about plastisol heat transfers?
They have a good cheer squad. That's not to say they're not useful (they are), but the reason there's such a "big deal" about them is largely propaganda (unintentional and well-meaning, but propaganda all the same). There's a disproportionate amount of noise/talk.
 

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I am new at this, but from the postings I see that Plastisol transfers seem like a good way to print whites and colors on dark shirts. I am looking for an alternative to screen printing on darks.

So does the heat transfer look very much like a screen print? I.e., the ink adheres to the shirt well with no trace that it's a transfer? And if so, does it wash as well as a Plastisol screen print? (Some transfer shirts I've gotten have cracked terribly - but I don't know if they were Plastisol.)
 

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So does the heat transfer look very much like a screen print? I.e., the ink adheres to the shirt well with no trace that it's a transfer? And if so, does it wash as well as a Plastisol screen print? (Some transfer shirts I've gotten have cracked terribly - but I don't know if they were Plastisol.)
You really can't tell a plastisol transferred shirt from one screened directly. The only thing that is transferred from the transfer paper is the plastisol ink.

It washes identical to a screened shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
has anybody tried plastisol heat transfers over the collar or stitching, it seems to me it would work a lot better?
 

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Joe, thanks for the reply. I'm really glad to hear that it's so close to screening. So now my next step is to try ordering some plastisol transfers and see how well it works out for me.
 

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They have a good cheer squad. That's not to say they're not useful (they are), but the reason there's such a "big deal" about them is largely propaganda (unintentional and well-meaning, but propaganda all the same). There's a disproportionate amount of noise/talk.
It's disproportionate when you consider the industry as a whole, but this board is pretty heavy with people who are new to the business. For a variety of reasons (space, mess, learning curve, etc.) screen printing is just not practical for most people starting out from home. Plastisol transfers are arguably the easiest, least expensive way to get started and immediately produce consistent, professional results with a good profit margin.
 

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They have a good cheer squad. That's not to say they're not useful (they are), but the reason there's such a "big deal" about them is largely propaganda (unintentional and well-meaning, but propaganda all the same). There's a disproportionate amount of noise/talk.
As you say, they are useful. There are instances where it is faster or more efficient to use transfers, hats and lined articles particularly. The benefits to non-printers have been listed ad-nauseam. Transfers are a tool and like any tool they are useful in specific situations.
 

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It's disproportionate when you consider the industry as a whole, but this board is pretty heavy with people who are new to the business. For a variety of reasons (space, mess, learning curve, etc.) screen printing is just not practical for most people starting out from home. Plastisol transfers are arguably the easiest, least expensive way to get started and immediately produce consistent, professional results with a good profit margin.
I agree with the above statements. I started using plastisol transfer because< I didn't have the space for the screen equipment. I now have the space,but I use the plastisol transfers becuse they are profitable,ease of placement,no chemicals or clean up,and I can print them as needed. I think both process' have there strong points, but plastisol transfers work great for me. ... JB
 

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has anybody tried plastisol heat transfers over the collar or stitching, it seems to me it would work a lot better?
Waterbased and/or discharge ink would work better still (and is what the professionals use), but if you're going to be using plastisol ink anyway, then yes, transfers are a good way to get ink evenly over things like seams and stitching.
 

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For a variety of reasons (space, mess, learning curve, etc.) screen printing is just not practical for most people starting out from home. Plastisol transfers are arguably the easiest, least expensive way to get started and immediately produce consistent, professional results with a good profit margin.
There are two reasons someone might want shirts produced. One is for themselves (for in house use or to sell, e.g. a clothing label), the other is to provide as a service to other people.

If you're producing for yourself, it will depend on the particulars. Sometimes it's better to direct print, sometimes it's better to use transfers. Heat presses aren't free, so it's always cheaper to start with direct printing though. Whatever - both can be the right answer.

Producing for other people is a different situation. If you can't provide screenprinting, but you want to provide screenprinted shirts, then there are two things you need. One, is plastisol transfers. Everyone knows and talks about that.

The other key ingredient that isn't talked about is customer ignorance. There are plenty of ignorant customers out there to take advantage of, and it's a business model that depends on it. As a business owner plastisol transfers allow someone to make money, and that's great for them. But as a customer, they add a pointless layer of cost and delay. On top of that, if you have any kind of problem you won't be able to deal directly with the company that actually printed your garment and knows what happened. Everything about having that middleman is bad for the customer. It only works because so many people are ignorant, and they don't realise they're paying more than they have to.

It's not like contract printing where the middleman gets a better price than the customer could because they bring in enough volume overall. The business thrives on ignorance - if the customer understood the process properly, there simply wouldn't be any market for people going to someone who owns a heat press and ordering shirts done via plastisol transfer. It's not even a gap in the market.

So yeah, I think they're pretty damn overrated. People left right and centre are starting small businesses that depend on customers staying uneducated. It's a shame that that's a perfectly stable business model, because most of those people will never seek to educate themselves and know any better. The customer gets what they deserve, but it is a shame.
 

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Lewis I wrote several replies but they were all inadequate to the amount of bitterness and frustration in your post. All I can really say is that the average quality of screenprinting in Australia must be much higher than it is here in the states and the prices must be much lower. Taking a guess I would say half of screenprinters here operate out of their garage and have never worked in a professional shop. They know nothing of how to run a printing business, nothing about customer service and lack the capital to absorb their mistakes. It's the customer that ends up paying the price. Most of these people would be better off using plastisol transfers which are generally excellent quality and nearly full proof (especially compared to screenprinting) for their low-medium quantity jobs and outsourcing their big jobs to a proper shop.

Just to be clear I'm not bashing home businesses or small shops, but there are many people out there screenprinting who really shouldn't be.
 

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There are two reasons someone might want shirts produced. One is for themselves (for in house use or to sell, e.g. a clothing label), the other is to provide as a service to other people.

If you're producing for yourself, it will depend on the particulars. Sometimes it's better to direct print, sometimes it's better to use transfers. Heat presses aren't free, so it's always cheaper to start with direct printing though. Whatever - both can be the right answer.

Producing for other people is a different situation. If you can't provide screenprinting, but you want to provide screenprinted shirts, then there are two things you need. One, is plastisol transfers. Everyone knows and talks about that.

The other key ingredient that isn't talked about is customer ignorance. There are plenty of ignorant customers out there to take advantage of, and it's a business model that depends on it. As a business owner plastisol transfers allow someone to make money, and that's great for them. But as a customer, they add a pointless layer of cost and delay. On top of that, if you have any kind of problem you won't be able to deal directly with the company that actually printed your garment and knows what happened. Everything about having that middleman is bad for the customer. It only works because so many people are ignorant, and they don't realise they're paying more than they have to.

It's not like contract printing where the middleman gets a better price than the customer could because they bring in enough volume overall. The business thrives on ignorance - if the customer understood the process properly, there simply wouldn't be any market for people going to someone who owns a heat press and ordering shirts done via plastisol transfer. It's not even a gap in the market.

So yeah, I think they're pretty damn overrated. People left right and centre are starting small businesses that depend on customers staying uneducated. It's a shame that that's a perfectly stable business model, because most of those people will never seek to educate themselves and know any better. The customer gets what they deserve, but it is a shame.
Sounds like politics to me. The ignorant masses get what they deserve since they aren't willing to take the time to educate themselves and just willing to let bumper sticker slogans do their thinking for them. But thats the way this country is going it seems.
 

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Lewis I wrote several replies but they were all inadequate to the amount of bitterness and frustration in your post.
That's reasonable. The bitterness and frustration is more the result of pent up feelings from rarely speaking my mind here on this issue, lest I offend someone (or many someones).

But you're right - I do give too much credit to screenprinters - they/we are not all perfect (I'm far from it myself, which is why it's fortunate I'm not in the business of printing for other people :)). If I'm going to heap scorn in one direction I should be far more equal opportunity.
 
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