EducationQ&A

How can apparel decorators take their heat printing to another level?

There will always be a need to push the limits of what you can and can’t do when decorating apparel. Our industry is continually evolving. New products and application techniques are worked on and tested every day to keep innovation moving forward toward the future. Specialty heat transfers are a great way to bring creativity, dimension, texture, and fine detail to a graphic or concept.

Here are some specialty heat transfers you can add to your arsenal:

Puff transfers are great when you want to express/add dimension with a particular graphic. Screen-printed puff transfers have been available for many years. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) puff transfers are quickly gaining popularity in the imprinting of textiles.

Quick tip: When applying any transfer, moisture in the garment is your enemy. With a puff transfer, moisture is your mortal enemy. Drive as much moisture out of the garment as possible before fusing. To do this, preheat the garment under the heat press and remember the longer the dwell time, the more moisture will be pushed out, leaving you with a quality puff graphic on your garment.

Are you looking for your logo or graphic to pop? Glitter transfers come in many different colors of the spectrum. Glitter is one of those embellishments that goes in and out of fashion but is always relevant. These transfers are available in both screen-printed transfers and HTV transfers.

Reflective transfers not only add that pop but an element of safety. The most common reflective transfer is a silver/gray used in the emergency services and workwear industry, or for customers that need an ample amount of reflectivity back to a light source. There are color reflective transfers which are great for fashion and most garments you would decorate as well. These transfers are available in screen-printed transfers or HTV transfers.

Now, for digital transfers. They’re being used all over the world for short and long runs. Your average screen-printed digital transfer run can be called a hybrid digital transfer because it has to be printed digitally first and then screen printed. This transfer is perfect for long production runs with super fine detail or multiple colors like a photo reproduction.

HTV digital transfers are great for smaller production runs with two or more colors. This digital HTV transfer can print unlimited colors as well. Both of these products use CMYK.

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Sean Savitch

Sean Savitch currently holds the position of research and development specialist for Insta Graphic Systems. He has been associated with the imprinting of textiles for more than 20 years, working with innovative applications and new technologies in large print shops throughout North America. Read the company blog at instagraphicsystems.wordpress.com.

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