Heat Transfer Printing
Heat transfer printing is a good method to apply logos on clothes and other textile products, especially when printing on a single product or small batches because there’s no difficult and expensive preparation process.
During heat transfer printing, the image is not printed on the product with ink, instead it’s cut out from a thermal transfer vinyl which is heat transferred to a fabric with the help of a press. For example, reflective prints are made using heat transfer method.
There’s two options to get a desired colour tone. If we can find the vinyl with a suitable colour from our vinyl collection, a logo can be cut out instantly with a special cutter. If there’s no vinyl with a suitable colour, or if the logo has many colours or gradients, we will first print the desired image on the thermal transfer vinyl and cut it out after that.
To put your logo on a product, following steps must be completed:
Every printing order starts with a design. If the client has provided the design file that meets the requirements and shows the logo, the logo’s location and its colours, then the order can be processed immediately. If the client doesn’t have the design file, we will make it ourselves. Together with the client, we’ll choose the product, determine the position and the size of the logo and send the design file back to the client for the final confirmation.
- A file is compiled for the cutter or printer which shows the cutting line for cutting the image out. The vinyl used in heat transfer printing is actually double layered. The cutter will only cut the layer that will be pressed to the fabric, leaving the transfer layer intact that holds the elements of a logo together, until it is pressed to the fabric. As the image is cut out mechanically with a sharp blade, it is not possible to print very small details using heat transfer printing.
- Leftover vinyl is removed so the transfer vinyl now only has the cut logo on it.
- The product to be printed on is put on the bottom plate of the press and aligned in the suitable position for the logo. The upper press plate which has an optimal temperature is then lowered with steady pressure for a certain time on the product during which the vinyl’s adhesive activates and the vinyl will bind to the fabric. After cooling off, the transfer vinyl is removed from the garment.
- Product is packaged.
Which products are suitable for heat transfer printing?
Heat transfer printing can be used on various textile products: jackets, t-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags, etc. Both cotton and synthetic materials are suitable, provided that the material is heat resistant. For jackets with linings it’s important to make sure that the bottom plate of the press can be put between the lining. If positioning fluffy lining straight under the press, a risk of deflating the lining increases.
Heat transfer printing is particularly often used for sporting clothes to press logos and players’ team numbers. Because there’s no expensive preparation process (unlike with silk screen printing), printing single products and small patches is cheaper with this method.
Which materials do we use for heat transfer printing?
Heat transfer vinyl selection includes many different colours and also specialty vinyls (golden, silver, reflective, luminous (phosphor), etc). To offer as many options as possible for our clients we use vinyls by different manufacturers. When choosing the vinyl, the material of the product also plays an important role.
What are the requirements for the design files?
To transfer the logos to the products with heat transfer printing, we need the designs in a vector graphics file format. Suitable file formats are: .pdf, .cdr, .ai, .eps. Texts should be changed into curves (into vector images) and colours assigned according to Pantone (PMS) colour space.
If you don’t have a suitable file, we can also help with a design service. Feel free to contact us – we can convert your logo to a vector or produce an entirely original design according to the client’s wishes.
How to place an order for heat transfer printing?
Send us your design. We will review it, offer the best solution to fulfill the heat transfer printing order and put together a price estimate.
To calculate the price, we will need the following:
- The quantity of printable products.
- The shape and the composition of the material of the products.
- The size of the logo and the number of colours which we receive from the design you send.
- Additional information on any extra work – sewing work needed for opening the linings without a zipper.