Heat transfer printing is one of the easiest methods of printing for anyone looking to create custom designs. There are various uses for this form of printing that you should know about. However, there is a lot of other information that you have to know before you start using heat printing or determine that heat printing is the right option for you.
What Is Heat Transfer Printing?
Heat transfer printing (also known simply as ‘heat printing‘) is the application of materials to various items using heat. The heat is applied to the materials which have a heat-sensitive adhesive on one side. When the heat is applied the material will adhere to the item which results in a newly decorated item.
Heat transfer printing can be completed with a hot iron or a heat press. This method of printing is generally used for t-shirts and bags because the materials can withstand the heat of the transfer. Heat transfer printing is also one of the most cost effective printing methods for garments.
What Equipment Is Needed?
If you are considering using heat transfer printing, you need to know what equipment is required. Unlike other garment printing methods, there is little equipment needed for this method that would cost a lot. It is possible to complete this printing with a normal printer and hot iron.
But if you’re going to be printing large volumes, you may want to invest in a heat press. A heat press is a piece of equipment that will help you with large volumes as you can set it and only retrieve the item when the transfer is complete. The price of heat presses will vary depending on the quality and the number of features that you want. Presses with additional features will cost more and you might want to avoid these when you first start because of the learning curve.
What Can You Use Heat Transfer Printing On?
Heat transfer printing can be used on any item that you can use a hot iron or heat press on. Most t-shirt materials will be able to withstand this printing method, but certain synthetic bag could be damaged. Before you use this method of printing, you need to ensure that the materials are heat resistant.
It is recommended that you pre-wash any items before you print on them. Many people find that fabrics will pull after printing due to shrinking around the transfer material when it is washed for the first time. If you print on items such as a bag, you won’t have to worry about pre-washing because the item will not have problems with shrinkage.
What Type Of Transfer Materials Are Available?
There are many different types of transfer materials available. It is possible to get a smooth heat transfer which comes in glossy, matte and some will have glitter. Flocked heat transfers will have a thin cost of flocking material which offers a soft and fuzzy finish to the print. When looking at transfer materials, you need to remember that you have to buy different ones for the different fabric tones.
A transfer material used for light fabrics will not work for dark fabrics. You also have to ensure that the material allows you to print out your own designs and customize them as you need to. Traditional heat transfer materials are the best for intricate designs.
It is recommended that you use one of the branded transfer materials on the market. Brand transfer materials will generally be of a higher quality and will work for any design. It is recommended that you look at asking other printers about the materials they use if they are willing to provide you with this information.
Creating Your Design
It is possible to create any design that you want for heat transfer printing. But you will need to have the right computer software to do this. The software that you use will depend on your comfort with the software and how much you are willing to spend. There are many software packages that you can use which are free, but others may require that you have a printer of the same brand.
Create your design offline before you turn to your software. This will make it easier to create the design on the computer. You also have the option of scanning it into the program to be printed onto the transfer material. Before you create your design, you should take the time to learn how to use your software to ensure that you do not waste any of your transfer materials.
After you have designed your transfer, you will simply need to print it. Depending on the transfer material, you should be able to print this from a standard printer. However, there are some transfer materials that require special printers and you need to be aware of this.
Cutting Your Transfer
Once you have designed and printed your transfer, you may need to cut the design. If you do not cut the design, you will have the remaining transfer materials on the item and this could provide an unprofessional finish. It is recommended that you use a cutting mat for this because it will reduce the margin of error.
When using a cutting mat, you will need to secure the transfer material and use a craft knife to cut away the excess material. If you are not going to use a cutting mat, you can simply do this with a pair of scissors. It is important to note that scissor cut transfers could have excess transfer material on the final product and this will look unprofessional.
Pressing The Transfer Onto The Item
When you are happy with the transfer, you will be able to press this onto the final item. There are 2 ways that you can do this and they are through the use of an iron or with a heat press. Many people who are starting out with this printing will use an iron, but you should also be aware of how to use a heart press.
When using an iron, you will have to put the iron on the highest setting. You should place a towel or parchment paper between the transfer and the iron to ensure that there is no damage to the transfer. You will then have to put your iron onto the transfer for 10 to 40 seconds depending on the material. The exact amount of time should be stipulated on the transfer material box.
After the application of heat, you will need to allow the transfer to cool before gently peeling the back of the material. If you pull the backing off before the material has cooled, you could cause the transfer to wrinkle.
#2. Heat Press
If you are using a heat press, you will have to adjust the temperature before you start. The temperature should be set according to the instruction on the transfer material box. You will then have to adjust the pressure of the machine based on the thickness of the final item you will be using. You will also have to set the timer based on the transfer materials you are using. You can then place the item in the press and close it.
There is a lot of information that you need to know about heat transfer printing before you use this. You need to know about the transfer materials you will use and the way that you design and print onto the materials.