5 Specialty Heat Transfer Options

Explore five specialty transfers and a best practices tip for each. 

Specialty custom heat transfers provide the creative freedom to expand into new audiences while retaining the ability to decorate quickly and inexpensively with a professional heat press. From rock bands to yoga studios, your designs will stand out from your competition. Here are five options to try for your next project:


When you want to create a 3D-raised effect, use a puff ink screen-printed transfer. This style looks best with large designs that have bold fonts. It’s ideal for fashion apparel.

Tip: Puff ink transfers apply to cotton, polyester, or a poly/cotton blend apparel. Apply with a heat press and peel when hot. To give the ink room to expand, remove any platen covers you may have used.


Glow-in-the-dark screen-printed transfers are perfect for Halloween, birthday parties, festivals, and band merchandise. In daylight, the design will appear as frosted, off-white but glows to a brilliant green in the dark.

Tip: Choose black or navy apparel to make the design stand out and use bold fonts and solid shapes for the most dramatic effect. To keep it illuminated, recharge the printed garment in normal room light.


Add a soft and shiny luster to apparel by using pearl metallic custom transfers. Pearl provides sheen to one-color designs for spirit wear, dance, cheer, holiday, and specialty items.

Tip: Pearl ink colors have high opacity and look great on any color of apparel. They apply to cotton, polyester, and poly/cotton blends.


Make your design shine with metallic ink transfers. Flecks of metal provide a subtle sparkle that’s durable for regular wear items like athletic uniforms but also popular for dance costumes and fashion styles.

Tip: Metallic inks come in colors such as silver, gold, graphite, and rose gold. They can be combined with other ink colors to brighten a look. Try adding white to a design to make a statement.


The latest trend in screen-printed transfers is glitter. Glitter ink can add sparkle to apparel for cheer and dance teams and provide a fashionable look without the mess of traditional glitter. You can see the glitter in the ink.

Tip: Glitter ink transfers can apply to light- and dark-colored garments. They look best with large, bold designs, and do not pair well with detailed artwork.

Dan Kane

Daniel Kane

Daniel Kane is the trade show coordinator for Transfer Express. For more information, visit 

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Charlie Fox

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