EducationQ&A

What concerns should decorators be aware of when heat printing tie-dye apparel?

One of the biggest obstacles in heat printing tie-dyed garments is ensuring that your desired artwork doesn’t conflict with the colored dyes in your desired garments. It can be frustrating when you feel you’ve created the best-looking tie-dyed apparel artwork in your design software, only to see that the final results are not close to what you were expecting.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when heat printing tie-dye items:

  • Take note of the tie-dye colors in your garment when choosing artwork colors for your transfer image. You’ll want to make sure that the color(s) in your transfer design contrast well against the tie-dyed colors of your apparel, especially if your design involves text and needs to be legible. If your dyed garment contains a multitude of bright colors, then black is a good choice for your design to ensure it stands out against the garment.
  • Be mindful of the amount of detail in your transfer design for tie-dyed items. If your design contains too much detail or a lot of small details, they may end up lost against the background of tie-dye colors. Depending on the artwork requirements of your customer, it may be best to keep your designs simple and one-color to ensure high-quality, legible results.
  • Remember, the dyed colors in your garment will fade over time. More than likely, much faster than the colors in your transferred image. Underneath all of that tie-dye, your garment’s color is still white. As you wash your apparel, your tie-dye can fade over time. This is important to keep in mind, and it may even change your opinion over which colors to use in your design. At first, a mostly white transfer image may look fantastic when applied to a tie-dyed garment, but as the dye fades from your garment, your all-white transfer image may become hard to read later on. When creating custom items, it’s always a good idea to advise your customers to wash their tie-dyed garments inside out to preserve the vibrancy of the tie-dye, as well as the vibrancy of the transferred design. 

Chelsea Borgmann

Chelsea Borgmann is a marketing guru who's previously held positions at Shirt Kong, Coastal Business Supplies, and Imaging Supplies Warehouse. She has 5+ years of experience working in the digital marketing and social media fields. Borgmann has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in magazine writing and multi-cultural studies from Mizzou.

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