Heat transfer printing is the name given to any kind of printing that uses heat to bind a design to a fabric. The design is printed out onto a material coated with heat-reactive adhesive, called transfer or sublimation paper. When a heat press is applied to the transfer paper, the adhesive reacts to the heat and sticks to the surface of the fabric beneath, creating a printed textile. You see this typical with sports jerseys but it can be used for a variety of garments!
Heat transfer printing is easy and cost effective, so it’s great for smaller batches of personalized printing. It can also be used to transfer detailed photographic designs, which screen printing can’t do. Digital transfer printing can also be used to get great results on items like bags, hats and more.
It’s also possible to combine the heat transfer process with digital techniques, to get the best of both worlds. With digital heat transfer printing, a design is created using computer software and printed onto white transfer paper. The design is then cut out using a machine called a plotter, which follows a digital outline to get accurate results. The finished transfer is placed on the desired spot on the garment or accessory, and is then heat-treated to bind it to the fabric.
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