I’ve been heat pressing t-shirts for over 15 years now and have literally sold hundreds of thousands of t-shirts to people all over the world. And in my professional opinion, I believe heat transfers printed from a home inkjet printer are sub-standard.
The quality isn’t great, and the artwork tends to peel, crack and immediately fade after it’s first cycle through the washer and dryer.
Selling this type of quality to your end-customer is suicide. It’ll destroy the reputation of your business before you even get the chance to launch a successful business.
I highly recommend against this method of printing.
However… For those of you who insist on doing it your way, here are a few options that’ll get you better results than the typical heat transfer paper purchased from local hobby supply stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Wal-Mart, or JoAnn’s.
The quality produced from those cheap heat transfers is total crap. You will be disappointed with what you press onto the shirt — especially the Avery brands. I honestly don’t know how they can get away with selling these.
If you’re going to do it yourself, go with high heat pigment inks. This method will require specific types of inkjet printers and special inks.
Here’s a package I purchased from one of the leading pigment ink suppliers…
What you see in the picture above are replacement cartridges at the top… These cartridges will replace the cartridges that come with your inkjet printer.
You’ll use the syringes to pull the ink out of the bottles and inject them into those cartridges. These cartridges will replace the inkjet cartridges, thus providing you with high heat pigment inks that will now print onto the transfer paper, and then you’ll press onto a t-shirt.
If you insist on making your own transfers at home, this process will give you a much better quality print versus the typical ink that comes out of your inkjet printer.
Regarding the ‘Best Inkjet Printer’? Epson so far has been a top recommended seller.
However, they’re starting to lock-up the chips within their printer that prevents you from swapping out the cartridges. The other manufacturers have not done it yet, but it’s reasonable to think they will start doing it based on how the results pan out for Epson.
If you’re interested in learning more about high heat pigment inks, check out the following websites… I recommend you give them a call and get firsthand information on which inkjet printer to go with. Technology is constantly updating and changing.
*Please Note: I do NOT recommend this process because the quality is not there. I have NO recommendations on which printers to use. If you wish to know that, contact these companies below and ask them. I cannot help you with this because this is NOT my area of expertise. I still get a bunch of questions about which printer or paper to use. Ask these 2 companies below (I will ignore those questions moving forward).
Regarding the best type of paper … Do a search for Red Grid Transfer Paper.