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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What Are Plastisol Transfers

Plastisol Transfers are basically screen printed designs that are printed on a special heat transfer (release) paper instead of screen printing the design directly to a garment. Once the design is screen printed onto the paper, the printed heat transfer papers are shipped to you so you can put them on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc with a heat press.

How Are Plastisol Transfers Made

Unlike inkjet transfers, plastisol transfers can't be printed at home with an inkjet printer, they must be printed by a professional screen printer that specializes in custom plastisol transfers. The minimums for screen printed transfers can be MUCH lower than a traditional screen printed shirt. I've seen minimums as low as 8 "sheets", however your costs will go down as your quantities purchased go up.

Can I Use My Own Designs with Plastisol Trasnfers

Plastisol transfers can either be stock designs (artwork provided by the transfer company) or custom (your own custom design that you provide).


What Color and Type of T-Shirts Can I Use with Plastisol Transfers

They can be used to decorate dark colored t-shirts or light colored garments, 100% cotton, 50/50, Nylon and other garment types.

What Type of Different Plastisol Transfers Are There?

Plastisol Transfers can be applied to a garment several different ways:

Cold Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled off once the transfer is cooled. Usually has a glossy look.

Hot Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer is still hot. Usually has more of a matte look.

Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split". This is supposed to give the final design the softest hand with a matte finish.

What Type of Special Printing Methods Can Be Done with Plastisol Transfers

Several of the specialty printing techniques done by traditional screen printers can be done with custom plastisol transfers. This includes (but is not limited to): puff printing, glitter printing, foil printing, four color process screen printing, sparkle printing, etc.

What Is the Quality of Plastisol Transfers

Out of inkjet printed transfers, vinyl transfers, laser printed transfers and opaque transfers, plastisol transfers have the highest print quality and best durability of them all.

Where Can I Get Custom Plastisol Transfers Made


There are many companies that can custom screen print plastisol transfers for you. You can find a list of several of these custom transfer companies posted in the first post of this past forum discussion.

Here's another list: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/plastisol-transfers/t77081.html

What if I REALLY Want to Make My Own Plastisol Transfers:

You can't make plastisol transfers at home with your inkjet/laser printer. You would need to buy screen printing equipment (like the same equipment screen printers use to print directly to t-shirts).

If you already have screen printing equipment, this should help:

This article should help: Printing Plastisol Transfers

And this one: International Coatings -- Transfer Products (Screen Printing Products)

Here's an instructional DVD: U.S. Screen Print & Inkjet Technology | Making Plastisol Transfers

Here's another article: U.S. Screen Print & Inkjet Technology | Making Plastisol Heat Transfers


Do You Have Any Pictures of What Plastisol Transfers Might Look Like?

Funny you should ask. I just so happen to have a few before and after pictures right over here. Keep in mind that these photos were taken by a heat press newbie (yours truly), so they make not be perfectly done :)


Did I miss anything? :) Stay tuned for my the test results of my first plastisol transfer samples from various companies:
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-crossover-diary-heat-press-newbie/t13454.html
 

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Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split".
Why would that be a positive thing? I keep seeing that term, and I sit here thinking, "sounds nifty," but I don't understand the reason behind it. Does it leave some other type of desirable finish, other than matte or glossy? BTW, thanks for defining it for me. ;)

I intend to only market my shirts online - no brick and mortar for me - so plastisol transfers really seem to be the way to produce a quality product for the print-on-demand operation I'm setting up. Better to have inexpensive transfers waiting to be pressed on any size shirt than to have paid for a ton of screened tees that aren't flying out the door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Rodney, just for the sake of being picky, how do you define quality and durability when comparing plastisol and vinyl transfer? I know I'm bias because I deal with vinyl transfer a lot. :D
Good question :) Everyone is going to have their preferences, but my definition of quality would inlcude the initial appearance after the transfer, the appearance after the first wash, the feeling of the design when you run your hand over it, the feeling of the shirt when you have different sized designs printed, the versatility, etc..

Don't get me wrong, I think for some designs, vinyl will run a very close second (or even a tie), but I think overall, plastisol transfers offer a better end product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Useless said:
Why would that be a positive thing? I keep seeing that term, and I sit here thinking, "sounds nifty," but I don't understand the reason behind it. Does it leave some other type of desirable finish, other than matte or glossy? BTW, thanks for defining it for me.
I forgot to put the "benefit" for the hot split above. It's supposed to give the finished design a soft feel/hand since not all of the ink is required to go on the shirt. It's also supposed to give a matte finish. Depends on your preferences.
 

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What about heavily detailed photo's? Does this process do well with that sort of thing? Seams those samples you show are very simple and 1-2 colors. My designs often have lots of details and color like a photograph. I'd like to retain the quality and print on dark shirts.
 

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How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.
 

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What about heavily detailed photo's? Does this process do well with that sort of thing? Seams those samples you show are very simple and 1-2 colors. My designs often have lots of details and color like a photograph. I'd like to retain the quality and print on dark shirts.
yes, it can be and is done a lot.
not cheap.
 

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How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.

with Jumbo Size sheets 25x38 or 28x40, standard turn around is 5-8 days. 1000 sheets is done in one day.

when your art dep. provides ready for screens art, it's quick.
When there are art issues ...well.
 

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What Type of Different Plastisol Transfers Are There?

Plastisol Transfers can be applied to a garment several different ways:

Cold Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled off once the transfer is cooled. Usually has a glossy look.

Hot Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer is still hot. Usually has more of a matte look.

Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split". This is supposed to give the final design the softest hand with a matte finish.



Curious, are the transfers you tested and displayed photos for above...are they ALL Plastisol Transfers ?
 

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What about heavily detailed photo's? Does this process do well with that sort of thing? Seams those samples you show are very simple and 1-2 colors. My designs often have lots of details and color like a photograph. I'd like to retain the quality and print on dark shirts.
Photograph quality, which is the hardest quality to achieve, can only be printed using the CMYK (4-color process) color scheme. CMYK printing is one of the most expensive printing methods available. Just let your printer know in advance that you'll be pressing your designs on dark garments. ALWAYS SAY BLACK. Your printer will then add a white backing, which is another screen charge, so your design will appear on darker garments. Ask for 4-color process samples to see if your printer can achieve a quality CMYK color scheme. This is one of the hardest methods of printing for heat transfers.

NoveltyStuff said:
How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.
Turn-around time all depends on the amount of business your printer has. Let's be realistic, if you want a rush order, there will be mistakes. Anything you do in a rush has things that are over-looked. Two working weeks should be enough time for your printer to complete your order, no matter how many colors you have in your design. The actual cost of your transfers from a manufacturers price depends on the quality of materials that he/she uses. Some places use quality materials, most don't. Screen printing is a very expensive trade to tackle.

T-BOT said:
with Jumbo Size sheets 25x38 or 28x40, standard turn around is 5-8 days. 1000 sheets is done in one day.

when your art dep. provides ready for screens art, it's quick.
When there are art issues ...well.
1000 sheets of 25x38 (1) color can be printed in about 1.5 hours -- it's the pre-press setup that takes forever. Cutting the sheets in to individual pieces is another time consuming part of the final product.
 

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1000 sheets of 25x38 (1) color can be printed in about 1.5 hours -- it's the pre-press setup that takes forever. Cutting the sheets in to individual pieces is another time consuming part of the final product.
yes Jim

...well we move at a Jamaica pace here, being a hot shop and all. :)

one day is it.

a few hrs with setups.

a few hrs pressing them.

a few hrs cutting 20 designs and packaging.

a few hrs testing the goods, washing etc.

woops!!! here is Fedex, out the door they go.

that's it. The job and day is done. :D

....now with the snow storms and call in sicks etc... that delays it some....sometimes.

What takes the longest work hours is getting ready for screens artwork from clients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
How long of a turn-around time do we need to allow for the commercial printer to give us our transfers if we order say....1,000. How much do they cost to get printed. That probably depends on number of colors, so say...3 - 4 colors.
You would need to contact the various transfer makers for pricing and turnaround times, as it can vary based on the designs, number of colors, how many can fit on a sheet, etc.

Many of them publish a pricelist on their website (or one you can get via email) that you can use for getting quotes.
 

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a thread so bumpable, it should be a sticky!


Hot Peel: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer is still hot. Usually has more of a matte look.

Hot Split: Applied with a heat press and peeled immediately after pressing, while the transfer it hot. Some of the ink transfers to the t-shirt and some of the ink stays on the transfer paper causing a "split". This is supposed to give the final design the softest hand with a matte finish.
how does the hot split not dump all of the ink whereas the hot peel does? i'm confused... could somebody help explain the differences? pros / cons?

i usually only see hot peel and not hot split when browsing custom transfer vendors. personally, the hot split seems to be more what i'm looking for.. but i'm interested to hear what the experts have to say!
 
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