posted on 2018-10-29 10:07:35
You are entering the wonderful world of making custom t-shirts and garments. It is exciting! You may be wondering which garment decorating method is best: heat transfer paper or sublimation printing? The answer is that both are great! However, the method it goes with depends on your needs and what you are looking to do. In addition, each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. We will delve into the details to help you decide which is right for you and your business.
The basics of heat transfer paper
So, what exactly is heat transfer paper? Heat transfer paper is a special paper that transfers printed designs to shirts and other garments when heat is applied. The process involves printing a design on a sheet of heat transfer paper using an inkjet or laser printer. Then, place the printed sheet on your shirt and press it using a heat press (in some cases, a household iron will work, but heat presses provide the best results). After pressing it, remove the paper and your image adheres well to the fabric. Great, now you have a personalized shirt! That was easy, right?
The decoration of clothes through heat transfer paper is super easy and entails one of, if not the lowest, initial costs in the industry. In fact, many decorators start using nothing more than the printer they already have at home. Some other important notes about heat transfer paper is that most papers work with cotton and polyester fabrics, while you will learn that sublimation only works with polyesters. In addition, heat transfer papers are designed to work with dark or light-colored garments, while sublimation is exclusive for white or light-colored garments.
How about sublimation?
The sublimation process is quite similar to the heat transfer paper. Like heat transfer paper, the process involves printing a design on a special sheet of paper (sublimation paper in this case) and pressing it on a garment with a heat press. The difference lies in the science behind sublimation. Ready to get science-y?
The sublimation ink, when heated, passes from a solid to a gas that is embedded in the polyester fabric. When it cools, it returns to a solid and becomes a permanent part of the fabric. This means that your transferred design does not add an additional layer at the top, so there is no difference in feel between the printed image and the rest of the fabric. This also means that the transfer is incredibly durable and, under normal conditions, the images it produces will last as long as the product itself.
Sublimation not only works on polyester fabrics, but also works on a wide variety of hard surfaces with a multiple coating. This opens up a completely new world of elements that you can customize: coasters, jewelry, cups, puzzles and much more.