1. What is Heat Transfer Printing?

Heat Transfer Printing, also sometimes known as Iron-on Heat Transfer and Digital Heat Transfer Printing, is done by using a heat transfer medium such as heat transfer paper or a vinyl-rubber type material. An image of the artwork is printed on the film side of the heat transfer medium. The image is then heat pressed onto t-shirts and apparel using a special Heat Transfer Printing Machine. The end product will have your customized design transferred on your choice of t-shirt or apparel.

Heat Transfer Mediums

There are two common heat transfer mediums:

  1. Inkjet Transfer Paper 
  2. Vinyl Material (Sometimes also known as printable PU material)

Inkjet Transfer Paper is used for digital heat transfer printing and Vinyl material is used for vinyl heat transfer printing. More details about digital heat transfer printing and vinyl heat transfer printing can be found in the next section below. 

Uses of Heat Transfer Printing

Heat Transfer Printing is a popular choice for customers looking to do class tee printing or cap printing due to easy customization. It has the ability to print colourful designs at a lower cost for smaller quantities, and on many different types of fabrics and materials.

Heat Transfer Printing can be used on a wide range of apparel and merchandise including:

2. Vinyl Heat Transfer Printing Process

For vinyl heat transfer, the design is printed on a vinyl material. These pieces of vinyl are cut out according to the design, transferred on to a transfer paper and heat pressed using the Heat Transfer Printing Machine onto the end product.

Stage 1: Printing

For heat transfer printing, the customer’s design is first printed and cut by our Roland SG300 print and cut machine. If our customer wants 50 t-shirts, 50 copies of the design has to be printed on our vinyl sheet.

Stage 2: Peeling and Transferring

The next stage is the peeling and transferring stage. The excess vinyl outside of the design has to be peeled out, along the cut lines of the vinyl paper cut by the machine. Often, designs can be so intricate in nature that a pair of tweezers, steady hands, a sharp attention to detail and a lot of patience is required to peel out the excess layer of each design one by one.

After the excess of the design is peeled out, the design has to be carefully transferred to a sticky transfer paper without bubbles and bumps formed on the transfer paper.

Stage 3: Heat Pressing

The sticky transfer paper with only the design on it is placed over each piece of t-shirt. Then after setting the temperature and pressure on the heat press machine, heat from the machine is used, for the vinyl on the sticky transfer paper to be transferred to the t-shirt.

Stage 4: Peeling off the sticker

The sticky transfer paper is then removed! Here is a picture of a heat transfer printed t-shirt.

3. Digital Heat Transfer Printing Process

For digital heat transfer printing, the design is printed in reverse on heat transfer paper using a special ink. This ink allows the design to be transferred to the end product using the heat from the Heat Transfer Printing Machine. 

Prepare your designs for digital heat transfer printing. (Video Time Stamp: 0 – 9.40)

First you need to prepare your designs to be printed by your ink jet printer. It is crucial to print a mirror image of the design you want to print for digital heat transfer printing.

Adjust your Ink Jet Printer settings for Optimal Print of your design on your inkjet transfer paper. Jet Pro Soft Stretch is used in this case. (9.40 – 14.32)

Set up Heat Press Machine (Video Time Stamp: 14.32 – 15.00)

Switch on and set up the heat press machine.  Ensure the correct pressure and temperature are set on the Heat Transfer Printing Machine and set the time if your machine allows you to do so.

Cutting off Excess Transfer Paper (Video Time Stamp: 15.00 – 16.48)

Cutting of the excess transfer paper you don’t want on the shirt

Pre-pressing the Shirt (Video Time Stamp: 16.48 – 19.48)

Pre-pressing the t-shirt to remove moisture from the t-shirt.

Heat Press the T-Shirt! (Video Time Stamp: 19.48 – 24.00)

Heat Pressing the t-shirt to transfer the design on the inkjet transfer paper on to your t-shirt.

*If your heat transfer paper does not have a protective layer, place a thin fabric like a handkerchief on top of it.

Peel off Transfer Paper. (Video Time Stamp: 24.00 – 25.00)

When it is time, lift the top layer and remove the t-shirt from the heat press machine. Then peel off the transfer paper, leaving only your design on your t-shirt. (24.00 – 25.00)

Touch Up your T-Shirt (Video Time Stamp: 25.00 – 28.23)

Remove stains and crumples on the t-shirt (If they crop up).

Repeat these steps for multiple designs.

*If you want to print on both sides, remember to place a protective layer inside the apparel or arrange it so only one side is on the platen. This prevents double-pressing on the first side.

4. Heat Transfer Printing at Home

It is also possible to do Heat Transfer Printing at home. The best option would be to opt for digital heat printing as above. In order to transfer the design from the transfer paper onto your garment, use a heat press machine or a home iron to produce the required high temperature.

However, when done using a home iron, the heat transfer printing will be of inferior quality when compared to using a commercial Heat Transfer Printing Machine. As mentioned above, there are also several factors to watch out for, like the temperature, time and pressure needed when heat pressing a design.

 

Important Factors to Take Note

 

Whether heat transfer printing at home or anywhere else, there are three main factors to watch out for when doing heat transfer printing.

  • The time needed to transfer the design. Heat Transfer Printing requires a lot of heat for the design to adhere properly after wash, however using too much heat may also burn your t-shirt or apparel. There is usually a recommended amount of time stated for the heat transfer paper used.
  • The pressure needs to be controlled for the design to remain on the t-shirt or apparel properly.
  • The temperature The recommended temperature is usually stated on the heat transfer printing paper. This is usually between 167’C and 191’C.

You may like to practice using the Heat Transfer Printing Machine on some old pieces of cloth or t-shirts first. At least a burnt hole in these old fabrics will not cause a hole in your pocket!

5. Advantages and Disadvantages of Heat Transfer Printing

Advantages of Heat Transfer Printing

  • Heat Transfer can be used on 100% cotton tees, mixed fabrics as well as dry fit tees.
  • This printing method can be processed quickly for small quantities, saving on your time and money.
  • This printing method allows for individual customisation with different names on each t shirt or hoodie.
  • Heat Transfer is the most economical for orders in small quantities.
  • This printing method allows multiple colour designs to be printed at no extra cost.

Disadvantages of Heat Transfer Printing

  • It can fade away with time if used and washed too frequently.
  • Cannot be used on a few materials, like thin fabrics that burn easily.
  • Heat Transfer yields poor quality results when transferred using home irons. Hence, commercial heat press with commercial quality heat transfer paper should be used to ensure durability.
  • Heat Transfer Printing may not be suitable for certain types of large designs because of the vinyl sticker layer over the tee.

At The Noteway, we use industrial grade media and equipment imported from Europe to ensure the highest quality of heat transfer printing possible. In addition to this, we offer completely free professional designing services if you choose to print with us!

6. Heat Transfer Printing or Silk Screen Printing? 

Heat Transfer Printing

 

Price Considerations

It is more cost-effective when:

  • The design has multiple colours
  • The order is of a small quantity (1-5 pieces)

Variability

Since moulds are not needed, this method allows for designs of varying colours and also for customization of names on class tees and different jersey numbers.

 

Silk Screen Printing

 

Price Considerations

Since moulds are not needed, this method allows for designs of varying colours and also for customization of names on class tees and different jersey numbers.

Variability

Since moulds are required, each varying colour or design requires a different mould.

We have also helped you weigh the option of heat transfer printing with the dye sublimation printing here.

7. Pricing for Heat Transfer Printing

 

The pricing of heat transfer printing depends on several factors such as

  • Size of Printing (Chest Size, Within A4 Size, Within A3 Size)
  • Quantity

Check Out our Heat Transfer Printing Prices!

8. Roland Print and Cut Machines for Sale

Our Roland Print and Cut Machine that we help to distribute in Singapore comes in 2 models – the SG-300 and the BN-20. The SG-300 is more powerful as it can print and cut on a longer roll length and at a higher speed. The BN-20 on the other hand is meant for smaller scale use.

With the purchase of the print and cut machines through us, you will be eligible for 1 set of ink as well as 50 pieces of plain round neck Drifit t-shirts completely FREE of charge. Free training will also be provided to teach you how to use the machine to print on these t-shirts and other items. The machines also comes with a 1 year warranty (Excluding only consumable parts).

Specifications

 

Printing Technology: Piezoelectric Inkjet

Media:

  • Width: 182 to 762 mm (7.2 to 30 in.)
  • Thickness: Max. 1.0 mm (39 mil) with liner, for printing
    Max. 0.4 mm (16 mil) with liner and 0.22 mm (9 mil) without liner, for cutting
  • Roll Outer Diameter: Max. 210 mm (8.3 in.)
  • Roll weight: Max. 25 kg (55 lb.)
  • Core diameter: 76.2 mm (3 in.) or 50.8 mm (2 in.)

 

Printing/cutting width: Max. 736 mm (29 in.)

Ink

  • Type: TrueVIS INK 500 cc pouch
  • Colours: Four colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black)

Printing resolution (dots per inch): Max. 900 dpi

Cutting speed: 10 to 300 mm/s (0.4 to 11.8 in/s)

Blade force: 30 to 500 gf

Blade

  • Type: Roland CAMM-1 series blade
  • Blade offset: 0.000 to 1.500 mm (0.0 to 59.1 mil)

Software resolution (when cutting): 0.025 mm/step (0.98 mil/step)

Distance accuracy (when printing): Error of less than ±0.3 % of distance traveled or ±0.3 mm (±11.8 mil), whichever is greater

Distance accuracy (when cutting): Error of less than ±0.4 % of distance traveled or ±0.3 mm (±11.8 mil), whichever is greater. When distance correction has been performed (when the setting for [CUTTING MENU] – [CALIBRATION] has been made): Error of less than ±0.2 % of distance traveled or ±0.1 mm (±3.9 mil), whichever is greater

Repeatability (when cutting): ±0.1 mm (±3.9 mil) or less

Alignment accuracy for printing and cutting: ±0.5 mm (±19.7 mil) or less

Alignment accuracy for printing and cutting when reloading media: Error of less than ±0.5 % of distance traveled by media or ±3 mm (±0.2 in.), whichever is greater

Media heating system: Print heater set temperature: 30 to 45°C (86 to 113°F), Dryer set temperature: 30 to 50°C (86 to 122°F)

Connectivity: Ethernet (100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T, automatic switching)

Power-saving function: Automatic sleep feature

Power requirements: AC 100 to 120 V ±10%, 5.4 A, 50/60 Hz or AC 220 to 240 V ±10%, 2.7 A, 50/60 Hz

Power consumption

  • During operation: Approx. 710 W
  • Sleep mode: Approx. 20 W

Acoustic noise level:

  • During operation: 65 dB (A) or less
  • During standby: 48 dB (A) or less

Dimensions (with stand): 2,070 (W) x 745 (D) x 1,310 (H) mm (81.5 [W] x 29.3 [D] x 51.6 [H] in.)

Weight (with stand): 147 kg (324 lb.)

Environment

  • Power on: Temperature: 20 to 32°C (68 to 90°F), humidity: 35 to 80 % RH (no condensation)
  • Power off: Temperature: 5 to 40°C (41 to 104°F), humidity: 20 to 80 % RH (no condensation)

Included items: Dedicated stands, power cord, media clamps, media holders, replacement blade for separating knife, User’s Manual, etc.

 

Roland VersaWorks Dual System Requirements

 

  • Operating system: Windows® 10 (32/64-bit), Windows® 8.1 (32/64-bit), Windows® 7 Professional / Ultimate (32/64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo, 2.0 GHz or faster recommended
  • RAM: 2 GB or more recommended
  • Video card and monitor: A resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 or more recommended
  • Free hard-disk space: 40 GB or more recommended
  • Hard-disk file system: NTFS format
  • Optical drive: DVD-ROM drive

*Roland VersaWorks Dual is a 32-bit application, which runs on 64-bit Windows® with WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit).

Options

 

TrueVIS INK

  • TR-CY: Cyan, 500 cc
  • TR-MG: Magenta, 500 cc
  • TR-YE: Yellow, 500 cc
  • TR-BK: Black, 500 cc

Cleaning Liquid

  • TR-CL: Cleaning liquid, 500 cc

Blades

  • ZEC-U5032: For sign vinyl in general, 2pcs.
  • ZEC-U5025: For thick, reflective and fluorescent vinyl, as well as sign vinyl in general, 5pcs.

Blade Holders

  • XD-CH2: Blade holder with blade extension adjuster, made of aluminum
  • XD-CH3: Blade holder with blade extension adjuster, made of resin

Specifications

 

Printing Technology: Piezoelectric Inkjet

Media:

  • Width: 182 to 762 mm (7.2 to 30 in.)
  • Thickness: Max. 1.0 mm (39 mil) with liner, for printing
    Max. 0.4 mm (16 mil) with liner and 0.22 mm (9 mil) without liner, for cutting
  • Roll Outer Diameter: Max. 150 mm (5.9 in.)
  • Roll weight: Max. 6 kg (13.2 lbs.)
  • Core diameter: 76.2 mm (3 in.) or 50.8 mm (2 in.)

Printing/cutting width: Max. 480 mm (18.9 in.)

Ink Cartridges

  • Type and capacity: Roland ECO-SOL MAX (220 cc cartridge) or Roland aqueous pigment (FPG) ink (220 cc cartridge)
  • Colours: Five colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and metallic silver or white) or four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and                    black). (Five colors are only ECO-SOL MAX)

Printing resolution (dots per inch): Max. 1,440 dpi

Cutting speed: 10 to 150 mm/s

Blade force: 30 to 300 gf

  • Type: Roland CAMM-1 series blade compatible
  • Blade offset: 0.25 mm (9 mil)

Software resolution (when cutting): 0.025 mm/step (0.98 mil/step)

Distance accuracy (when printing): Error of less than ±0.3 % of distance traveled or ±0.3 mm (±11.8 mil), whichever is greater

Distance accuracy (when cutting): Error of less than ±0.4% of distance traveled, or ±0.3 mm, whichever is greater

Repeatability (when cutting): ±0.1 mm (±3.9 mil) or less

Alignment accuracy for printing and cutting: ±0.5 mm (±19.7 mil) or less

Alignment accuracy for printing and cutting when reloading media: Error of less than ±0.5 % of distance traveled by media or ±3 mm (±0.2 in.), whichever is greater

Printer heater: Temperature: 35°C (95°F)

Connectivity: USB (compliant with Universal Serial Bus Specification Revision 2.0)

Power-saving function: Automatic sleep feature / AC 100 to 240 V ±10 %, 1.0 A, 50 / 60 Hz

Power consumption

  • During operation: Approx. 90 W
  • Sleep mode: Approx. 5.5 W

Acoustic noise level:

  • During operation: 62 dB (A) or less
  • During standby: 42 dB (A) or less

Dimensions/ Weight: 1009 (W) x 582 (D) x 293 (H) mm (39.7 (W) x 22.9 (D) x 11.5 (H) in.) / 36 kg (79.4 lbs.)

Environment

  • Power on: Temperature: 20 to 32°C (68 to 90°F), humidity: 35 to 80 % RH (no condensation)
  • Power off: Temperature: 5 to 40°C (41 to 104°F), humidity: 20 to 80 % RH (no condensation)

Included items: Power cord, USB cable, blade, blade holder, Roland Software Package, Software RIP (Roland VersaWorks), User’s Manual, etc.

 

Roland VersaWorks System Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows® 8 Pro (32/64-bit); Windows® 7 Professional/Ultimate (32/64-bit); Windows Vista® Business/Ultimate (32/64-bit); Windows® XP Professional Service Pack 2 or later (32/64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo, 2.0 GHz or faster recommended
  • RAM: 2 GB or more recommended
  • Video card and monitor: A resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 or more recommended
  • Free hard-disk space: 40 GB or more recommended
  • Hard-disk file system: NTFS format
  • Optical drive: DVD-ROM drive

*Roland VersaWorks is a 32-bit application, which runs on 64-bit Windows® with WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit).

Application software compatible with Cutting and Print&Cut: Adobe®, Illustrator® 10, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 / CorelDRAW® 11, 12, X3, X4, X5

Options

ECO-SOL MAX Ink

  • ESL3-MG: Magenta, 220 cc
  • ESL3-YE: Yellow, 220 cc
  • ESL3-CY: Cyan, 220 cc
  • ESL3-BK: Black, 220 cc
  • ESL3-MT: Metallic silver, 220 cc
  • ESL3-WH: White, 220 cc
  • SL-CL: Cleaning liquid, 1 pc.

Aqueous Pigment Ink

  • FPG-MG: Magenta, 220 cc
  • FPG-YE: Yellow, 220 cc
  • FPG-CY: Cyan, 220 cc
  • FPG-BK: Black, 220 cc
  • CJ-CL: Cleaning liquid, 1 pc.

Blades

  • ZEC-U5022: For thick, reflective and fluorescent vinyl, 2pcs.

Blade Holders

  • XD-CH3: Blade holder with blade extension adjuster, made of resin

 

The Roland professional print management software, Roland VersaWorks® is included in both printers. It supports Adobe® Illustrator®, CorelDRAW® and other popular design software packages. Choose from a wide variety of layout functions includes scaling, cropping, rotating, auto layout and tiling to optimize your print media. VersaWorks also features Roland Color System Libraries for accurate color matching of traditional and metallic colors, and variable data printing which allows you to efficiently create a series of signs, labels and name badges in which the text and graphics change from one print to the next.

Roland VersaWorks Dual System Requirements for SG-300 Printer

 

  • Operating system: Windows® 10 (32/64-bit), Windows® 8.1 (32/64-bit), Windows® 7 Professional / Ultimate (32/64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo, 2.0 GHz or faster recommended
  • RAM: 2 GB or more recommended
  • Video card and monitor: A resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 or more recommended
  • Free hard-disk space: 40 GB or more recommended
  • Hard-disk file system: NTFS format
  • Optical drive: DVD-ROM drive

*Roland VersaWorks Dual is a 32-bit application, which runs on 64-bit Windows® with WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit).

Roland VersaWorks System Requirements for BN-20 Printer

 

  • Operating system: Windows® 8 Pro (32/64-bit); Windows® 7 Professional/Ultimate (32/64-bit); Windows Vista® Business/Ultimate (32/64-bit); Windows® XP Professional Service Pack 2 or later (32/64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo, 2.0 GHz or faster recommended
  • RAM: 2 GB or more recommended
  • Video card and monitor: A resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 or more recommended
  • Free hard-disk space: 40 GB or more recommended
  • Hard-disk file system: NTFS format
  • Optical drive: DVD-ROM drive

*Roland VersaWorks is a 32-bit application, which runs on 64-bit Windows® with WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit).

Contact Us for Pricing and Related Enquiries!

9. Heat Press Machine for Sale

Our heat press machine is one of the most powerful and durable heat press machines in the market. For pressing on t-shirts, usually the temperature is set to 167 degrees celsius and the pressure is set to 3 on this machine.

Just like the Roland Print and Cut Machine, you will also be provided free training to teach you step by step how to use the heat press. In addition to this, you will get 1 free teflon paper and 50 pieces of plain round neck Drifit t-shirts completely FREE of charge to start pressing and transferring designs on to your t-shirts immediately.

This machine also comes with a 1 year warranty.

 

Contact Us for Pricing and Related Enquiries!

10. Where to Buy Heat Transfer Vinyl and Transfer Paper

At The Noteway, we sell printable PU material (also known as printable heat transfer vinyl), which can be print and cut by the SG-300 Roland Machine with ease. Most importantly the heat transfer vinyl we sell is easy to peel once it is cut!

Each roll of vinyl material we sell is 50 Metres long and 50 Millimetres wide, allowing you to print up to 1400 chest sized designs (10cm x 10cm) or 300 designs of A4 size (21cm x 29.7cm). This means you can print 300 to 1400 t-shirts with just 1 vinyl roll!

In addition to this, we also carry Gold Colour and Silver Colour Vinyl rolls. These rolls are non printable, but can be cut by the roland SG-300 machine. After the gold PU material is cut by the machine in the shape or design that you want, you simply have to peel the design and transfer these full gold designs to your t-shirts. No printing required!

Contact Us to purchase our Printable Easyweed Heat Transfer Vinyl!

11. Heat Transfer Printing Facts and Myths

Fact 1: Bleeding designs in heat transfer printing is unavoidable.

 

If you design is extremely intricately with fine details and thin lines, some amount of bleeding is unavoidable.

This is because even if a powerful machine can cut fine details, the peeling process after the vinyl has been cut is done by hand. As such if the design is too intricate, it is impossible too peel them off without damaging the design.

 

Fact 2: Multiple Colours in design does not increase cost of printing.

 

While printing methods like silk screen printing cost significantly more for multi coloured designs, heat transfer printing remains an exception. No matter whether your design has 1 colour, 5 colours or 10 colours, the cost of your printing remains the same!

Whats more.

Heat transfer printing can print gradient coloured designs unlike silk screen printing. So now you can prepare ultra colourful and vibrant designs without worrying about the cost!

 

Fact 3: Heat Transfer Printing is not the most durable type of Printing.

 

Heat transfer printed designs can usually last up to 50 washes or more if done the correct way at the correct temperature and pressure, with a commercial heat press. However, just like many people already know heat transfer prints are not the most durable, especially when compared to printing processes like silk screen printing and dye sublimation printing which are a lot more long lasting.

Myth 1: Heat Transfer Prints will fall off Fast.

 

If any of your heat transfer prints fall or fade off fast, there can only be 2 reasons:

  1. The heat transfer print is done at the wrong temperature and pressure.
  2. The heat transfer print is done with poor grade equipment and materials typically used for home use (E.g. Home Irons).

So the next time you opt for heat transfer printing, choose an experienced one instead of the cheapest one! Because if your printer is so extremely cheap, there is a high probability that low quality materials and equipments are used in the process. Wouldn’t you want your prints to stay strong even after multiple washes?

 

Myth 2: Heat Transfer Prints cannot be ironed on.

 

Just like mentioned above. If good quality heat transfer print materials are used, your design can be ironed over without damaging your printed design!

Of course if you would like to play it extra safe, you can put a teflon paper over your design before you iron your clothes, or iron your clothes from inside out.

 

Myth 3: Heat Transfer Printing is very easy to do.

 

Though Heat transfer printing can be done on quantities as little as 1, it requires immense care and precision to pull it off well, especially in the peeling and design transferring stages.

The heat transfer printing process has quite a few steps as explained in detail above: First printing and cutting, followed by peeling and transferring it onto a sticky transfer paper, and finally the heat pressing on the t-shirt!

12. Image Gallery of Heat Transfer Printed Products

heat-transfer-printing-in-singapore-the-noteway