Part I - What is Heat Transfer Printing?
Heat transfer printing is a type of digital printing that creates personalised and colourful images on clothing, home goods and even commercial products. Heat transfers are printed using a variety of special inks onto a sublimation paper, transfer paper or vinyl film, which then acts as a transfer to another surface such as clothing or glassware.
The first step in heat transfer printing is to design an image or logo in a photo-editing software package such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. The designer places their design file onto a flatbed heat press along with other files containing instructions for how large they want their finished product to be, what colour ink they want and what material they will be applying it to (such as t-shirts or coffee mugs).
Benefits of Heat Transfer Printing
Heat transfer printing is perfect for customising printed items or producing high-quality personalised and customized gifts, clothing and many other different products. Heat Transfer Printing enables to print graphics in a large number of colors without adding any extra cost to it.
It has become very famous in today’s world due to its unique features. And nowadays it has gained significant importance and favor in several industries especially in the personalised gift industry as an alternative for printing more unique personalised gifts.
The List of Things You Need
- Heat press machine
- Epson printer with sublimation inks or pigment inks
- Sublimation papers, transfer papers or vinyl film
- CAMEO Cutting plotter
- High temperature tape
If we take T-shirt printing as example, printing T-shirt with heat tranfer printing can be generally classified into three categories:
1. Sublimation Printing:
Applicable on dryfit, microfiber, jersey, polyester, quick dry T-Shirt and coated surface materials such as coated mugs, coated plates etc. Sublimation printing uses sublimation ink & sublimation paper in the printing process.
It transfers sublimation inks on the fabric through high temperature & pressure in 1 minute. Sublimation T-shirt normally will leave a permanent, vivid image with a soft-to-the-hand feel.
2. Transfer Printing:
Applicable on any fabrics such as cotton tee, polyester tee, cap etc in any colours. Transfer printing uses pigment ink and transfer paper in printing process.
There are two types of transfer papers which are light-based for white colour T-shirt and dark-based for colour T-shirt. We use original transfer paper (ATT brand) from USA for better printing quality.
3. Vinyl Printing:
Applicable on vinyl transfer films such as Flock, PU, Glitter, Glow in Dark, Reflective & Hologram materials. Vinyl printing is limited to one color printing.
The artwork is designed in software, then the outline is to be sent to a vinyl cutter or plotter to cut. After cutting, we remove the unwanted vinyl from original vinyl transfer film, then it is ready to be heaten to your fabric.