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What exactly are theses things? How do they work? Just curious as to what other materials there are for heat pressing, besides paper? How do they look?

-Newbie Doby
 

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Hi Doby,

Vinyl for garments is a very thin layer of special vinyl that is on a backing sheet. It comes in many colors and must be cut using a vinyl cutter. It's similar to sign vinyl except that it is designed to melt into the fabric of the garment. The design is created in a vector based program such as CorelDraw or Illustrator and it must be done correctly to become what we call "vinyl ready". You have to make sure there are no unwanted cut lines and such in the design. Then it is mirrored. (flipped over) within the software. This is then sent through a "bridge" program that can communicate with a vinyl cutter. Each color is separated into it's own "layer" and each color is cut separately. Then the design is "weeded" to remove all of the vinyl that is not part of the design. The layers are then each applied and heat pressed onto the garment. It is a very good method for applying things like lettering and solid color based designs. No backing is transfered to the garment, only the lettering or design that you want. It works very well on any color garment, light or dark. The hand (feel, touch) of the finished item is very close to some screen printed items, depending on how much ink the screen print would have.

Plastisol is a type of ink that is used in screen printing. Plastisol Transfers are an item that screen printers can make for us heat press fans. Basically they screen print a mirrored design onto a transfer sheet using Plastisol ink and partially cure it. When it is heat pressed onto a garment, it sort of melts into the fibers. Just like an ink jet transfer, it can be hot split (peeled) or cold peeled depending on the results you want to get and the garment color. This process also does not leave any background from the transfer sheet. You order these from a screen printing company that has learned how to make plastisol transfers. Not every screen printer will be able to make them. They are excellent for lights as well as darks.

I'm not sure about the gold and silver you are referring to.
 
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