The Basics of Heat Transfer Paper - A very Thin vinyl film is transferred to the garment
So, what is heat transfer paper exactly?
Heat transfer paper is a specialty paper that transfers printed designs to shirts and other garments when heat is applied.
The process involves printing a design onto a sheet of heat transfer paper using a Standard Inkjet Printer - Not a Sublimation Printer.
Then, you place the printed sheet on your T-shirt and press it using a heat press (in certain cases, a home iron will work, but heat presses provide the best results).
After you’ve pressed it, you peel away the paper, and your image adheres nicely onto the fabric. Great – you now have a custom T-shirt! That was easy, right?
Garment decoration via heat transfer paper is super easy. Many decorators get their start using nothing more than the printer they already have at home!
A few other important notes about heat transfer paper is that most papers work on both cotton and polyester fabrics - whereas sublimation only works on polyesters. In addition, heat transfer papers are designed to work for either dark or light-colored garments while sublimation is exclusively for white or light-coloured garments.
The standard "Dye Inks" supplied with Ink Tank Printers are good enough for Heat Transfer Printer, howver, if you want to go the extra step, consider a good quality Pigment Ink for your Ink Tank printer, as thewes will last longer on your Heat Transfers.
The downside of Heat transfer, is the high cost per page, and it can only be used on Material.
Durability and Feel
Sublimation uses a process where the ink becomes part of the fabric rather than adding a layer on top.
This results in a transfer that is unmatched in both durability and feel.
Heat transfer paper adds a layer on top of the garment. This additional layer can be physically felt and is less durable than sublimation and can become faded and cracked over time with numerous wash cycles.
It is important to note that heat transfer papers are not created equally, and you will find some that offer a softer feel and greater durability than other transfer papers.
Types of Garments You Can Decorate
With sublimation, you’re more limited in the types of fabrics you can decorate compared to heat transfer paper.
First, sublimation only works with polyester fabrics. Not cotton! This is because sublimation ink only binds to polyester material. You can get away with sublimating on some poly-cotton blends, but the transfer will not be as bright and vibrant as when you use 100% polyester.
Because sublimation adds no extra layer on top of the fabric, the material also needs to be white or very light-colored for your transfer to show.
On the other hand, with heat transfer paper, you can decorate on light and dark-colored cotton, polyester and cotton-poly blends.
What is the Difference between Light and Dark Transfer Paper
Inkjet transfer paper is used to transfer images or text onto a wide range of suitable fabrics.
Often used on t-shirts, it is commonly referred to as t-shirt paper.
The product is available for light or dark fabrics and so it is not always clear whether your fabric falls under the dark or light categories and which one will suit your project better.
The Difference Between The Two ( Is my garment light or dark colour)
Ink relies on a white background to be visible and produce accurate colour reproduction.
If you replace the white background with something dark, ink becomes translucent and on black backgrounds, it is totally invisible.
So if you are going to print a white t-shirt you clearly require the light transfer paper.
If the colour of the shirt is other than white, but not too dark (pink,yellow, light blue etc) the light transfer paper can still be used with some images.
Black text and dark graphics will still work well. If however the image is also light in colour and contains pastel coloured images, the colour of the shirt will start mixing with the colour of the image producing results different than what appears on the paper.
The decision of which paper to use on garments other than white lies in the combination of the colour of the shirt, and the colour of the image.
In general terms, a dark image works on light coloured shirts but a light image will only work well on white.
When using coloured garments, in order to guarantee the image appearing on the garment exactly in the same colours as appears on the paper, you need to use the dark transfer paper when printing dark garments.
It works by transferring the white background together with the image.When transferring an image printed on the dark transfer paper,the image on the garment will look EXACTLY as it appears on the paper, INCLUDING all the white edges and spaces in between the image.
As a result of this, images which are suitable for use with the dark transfer paper on dark garments are limited by design and should be either block images or ones that can be cut around to remove the unnecessary white areas.
You could also design an image with a solid background or try to match the background of the image with the colour of the shirt to solve the limitation of the dark transfer paper.
Choosing between Dye or Pigment ink?
Professional and hobbyist photographers are more inclined to choose Pigment-based Inks due to the consistency of colour that can be achieved.
Despite Dye-based inks producing slightly more vibrance, the blend and consistency of colour are what makes for a truly stunning photo.
For the absolute best of the best, you will want to purchase a custom Pigment Ink that will also serve the test of time.
As a hardier based ink, Pigment Ink will also not succumb to fading from sunlight very easily. This results in your print looking newer for longer.
Pigment ink, is also a lot more Water Proof than standard Dye ink
There is, however, the cost.
Should you really care about your printing then custom pigment inks will cost a pretty penny. As such, you may look to find a solution for dye-based inks that still delivers the vibrance that you need.
If you find yourself printing photos and colour dominant documents, Pigment Ink will afford you a more vibrant palette.
Pigment Black 100ml = R299.00
Pigment Cyan 100ml = R299.00
Pigment Magenta 100ml = R299.00
Pigment Yellow 100ml = R299.00
Heat Transfer Papers
A4 Transfer Paper for Inkjet LIGHT Fabrics 10 pack = R159.00
A4 Transfer Paper for Inkjet DARK Fabrics 10 pack = R189.00
A3 Transfer Paper for Inkjet LIGHT Fabrics 10 pack = R269.00
A3 Transfer Paper for Inkjet DARK Fabrics 10 pack = R299.00