Screen Printing … You have most likely heard this term before, or the related term “silk screening”. It refers to the technique invented by the Chinese thousands of years ago. Even though this process has been used for centuries, it still remains the gold standard in transferring images onto garments, both in terms of quality and durability.
Screen printing is a very complex process using a lot of cumbersome equipment and supplies, but it basically describes the process of applying ink onto objects using screens. The process has proven to deliver clean, crisp designs that will hold up to repeated wear and washes.
The set-up is the same if you order one shirt or one hundred shirts, which is why there are price breaks when you place a larger order. Because most people do not have the capital or time to utilize screen printing equipment, a popular alternative is having designs screen printed onto special release paper, known as plastisol transfers (or screen printed transfers).
This method still requires some equipment, but it has immense advantages over direct screen printing. Of course, there are also some disadvantages which we will discuss as well. However, the Screen Print Transfers is a viable alternative to direct screen printing and is helping thousands of people start their own business with efficiency, flexibility and lower startup costs.
Screen printed heat transfers are not new to the garment decorating industry. The process has been used for years because it is simple, clean and repeatable for anyone who owns a heat press.
What makes Screen Printed Transfers different is how they are created. It takes all of the benefits of screen printing and combines that with the efficiency and flexibility of heat transfers. Screen printed transfers are made using a special ink and uses the same process as direct screen printing. The special ink used is called Plastisol, which is a mixture of pigment (color) and PVC plastic. Rather than screen printing directly onto a garment, the plastisol is layered in reverse onto a special heat release paper to create the desired image.
(Watch the first 2-minutes of video below to see plastisol transfers in action:)
There are also different types of plastisol transfers that will create different finishes. There are two main types, Cold Peel and Hot Split, and each one relates to how and when the transfer backing paper is removed.
With hot split transfers, the transfer is removed immediately off the garment once the heat source is removed (once the heat press opens). This method transfers the majority of the ink to the garment while leaving some ink on the paper as the ink is still hot and fluid. This method creates a lasting bond and results in a soft, brushed matte finish.
In contrast, Cold Peel transfers require the transfer paper to be removed from the garment after it has time to cool following pressing. Cold Peel transfers result in a glossy finish.
Other transfer types include Hot Peel, Puff and Process Color transfers.
Because these plastisol transfers are created using screen printing techniques, they must be ordered from a manufacturer or vendor with the proper equipment and experience to complete them. However, using a screen printed transfer requires little equipment and experience.
Essentially the only start up equipment that you need is a heat press, along with blank garments and transfers. Getting a quality heat press machine from the start will make this process both profitable and efficient for you. You might be tempted to get a cheap heat press, but I’d advise you against that.
We hear from people every week that go the cheap route. They usually call back saying their heat press doesn’t heat evenly, or that it stopped working. It’ll cost you more in the long run … Don’t do it. Cheap heat presses will cost you more money in ruined shirts and wasted transfers.
With regards to the heat press, you need a combination of evenly placed heat AND pressure to fuse the plastisol inks onto the surface of your blank apparel. You will want to keep these key elements in mind when selecting a heat press. Each machine will have a different method of setting the temperature, time and pressure, so select a machine that is user friendly and easily calibrated. As you can see, a heat press is very simple to use and transfers leave all of the messy work to the screen printers!
The advantages to using plastisol transfers are endless! Not only do transfers go onto most fabrics, but they can also be put onto any color of garment. The process utilizes the same ink as used in direct screen printing, it creates the same results as direct screen printing in terms of image and quality, yet it offers much more flexibility than direct screen printing.
Designers are not limited to one or two colors or by the size or finish of a garment (such as baseball caps). Designers can offer complex, even photographic designs, that results in graphics that are indistinguishable from traditional direct screen printing. It is even a preferred method for decorating baseball caps because of the complications involved in printing on a curved surface.
Another great point in their flexibility is that instead of having 20 XXL shirts with a design already preprinted that you won’t be able to sell, transfers give you the ability to keep your transfers in inventory, and heat press the designs onto the appropriate shirts as they are ordered.
This is also true when it comes to t-shirts with team numbers or years on them. Transfers allow you to keep these individual numbers or letters on hand, and then configure them properly once a custom order is placed.
In addition, the garment and order flexibility, screen printed transfers offer a low startup cost. Since the only equipment needed are blank garments, transfers and a heat press, you can literally get started right away with your very own tshirt business.
Transfers are of course less messy since the process doesn’t involve cumbersome screen printing equipment and inks. This lack of unnecessary equipment, and knowledge of how to use said equipment, allows you to focus on your business and designing artwork for your garments, even right out of your home living room.
Of course, there are always disadvantages. The first disadvantage is your biggest expense, the heat press. While these machine can run upwards of $2,000.00, there are less expensive alternatives, such as buying a used heat press machine, or finding a reputable brand on sites like Amazon or Ebay.
In addition to price, heat press machines are heavy and they do heat up to very high temperatures. While it doesn’t happen often, burns can happen and it is extremely important to exercise caution when using a heat press machine, and to be aware of your surroundings at all time.
To summarize, screen printed transfers are changing the t-shirt industry by offering affordability, customization, flexibility, less equipment, and better efficiency for your business; all while still producing quality designs that are indistinguishable from traditional screen printing techniques.
By using the same techniques that screen printers have used for thousands of years, screen printers are able to print the design onto special release paper to be used at a later time on various garments. This means clothing businesses aren’t left with two-hundred designs in various sizes and colors that don’t sell as much. Instead, you can put the design onto any size tee as it is ordered.
Plastisol transfers leaves all of the cumbersome equipment and disposal of inks to the screen printers so you can focus on creating your art work and running your t-shirt business. Plastisol screen printed transfers are a huge benefit to the t-shirt industry by offering a high quality product that will keep customers coming back for more.
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Custom Screen Printed Transfers (Plastisol) versus Iron-On Transfers… Watch the video to see why Screen Printed Transfers are so superior.
If you’re interested in learning how to start and build your own t-shirt business, check out our tee shirt business startup course:
If you have additional questions about the custom Plastisol transfers, feel free to leave your questions and comments below. If you found this video helpful, please click on the “like” button below as well!
TshirtRiches is an online video based training program that shows you step-by-step, how to turn your t-shirt design ideas into a real-life business, market it more effectively and turn your t-shirt brand into a 24/7 money-making machine.
TshirtRiches’s comprehensive curriculum will help you turn your t shirt design ideas into reality.
There are multiple core learning modules, plus a dynamic library of Master Classes and Advanced Trainings. When you’re making an investment in your business, it’s important to know what you’re getting. That’s why we share our exact curriculum, so you can make sure our t-shirt business start-up course is right for you!
Your training is released to you in modules within our private, members only website.
Each module is filled with step-by-step training videos, done-for-you templates, resources and ‘take action checklists’. You’ll watch and learn from your computer, iPad, iPhone or mobile devices. Our goal is to make your online learning experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
I understand many of you will want access to all of your training modules at once, but that’s not how we roll. And here’s why…
I’ve been at this for a few years now and many people will come into this program and just consume so much content at once and take very little action. I’m not interested in just selling courses — it is my goal to actually help you become successful and help you realize your fullest potential.
The TshirtRiches curriculum was carefully crafted so you’d complete each module and complete the corresponding action plans. Each phase has been setup to maximize your results and long-term success.
Because we know how easy it is it get overwhelmed these days, the first two modules will be released in phases during the first 2 weeks. This will give us time to work with you to help you layout your core business foundation. Because the first 2-week implementation time is so intensive, we’ll unlock access to the remaining modules and training after this phase. After-which, you’ll have access to all of the modules and you’re free to access at your leisure.
After seeing many people go through our program, we’re proud to say this method has worked best. If you’re the type of person who must jump ahead and get to the good stuff because you know this stuff already, then this program may not be for you.
After the 2-week intensive, you’ll have lifetime access to the course and you can revisit any of the modules in any order you like, as often as you’d like.
TshirtRiches includes dynamic support structures to keep you on track every step of the way.
Under each training section, you’ll have the opportunity to comment and get responses to your questions. If you have technical issues, or if you’re simply having a challenge and you need help, simply e-mail with us with the contact details listed in the members area of the website. Our customer service hours are M-F, from 9 a.m. EST – 5 p.m. EST.
The tuition for the TshirtRiches online training program is $379. You can pay in full, or take advantage of our 4-payment $99 option plan.
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YES! Test drive TshirtRiches for 30 days, 100% risk-free! Our mission is to help you realize your full potential and help you turn your t-shirt ideas into a profitable business. That’s why we invite you to participate in the TshirtRiches training program for a full 30 days and if you don’t feel we’ve delivered on our promise within those 30 days, we’ll happily refund your money.
Important Note: We require your completed homework from all available modules before we process your refund. Why? Because we know that when you take action and complete the course work, you’ll get the results. It’s that simple.
If you’re just wanting to access the program so you can ask for a refund later, don’t bother signing up. But if you do sign-up and do the work and don’t get the value, then we don’t deserve your money. Just submit your completed homework within 30 days of the program start date, and we’ll cheerfully refund your money.
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Many of you wanted to see what a custom transfer looked like and many of you also wanted to see what a transfer looked like when printed onto a t-shirt. So, based on the feedback, I put together this inexpensive little package that I ship out once a week and if you want one, I’ll send it to you.
Click the video below to see what comes in the t-shirt sample pack…
It’ll include a t-shirt with a heat transfer already printed on it — this way, you can see the quality that you’ll be able to duplicate with your designs as well. I also encourage you to wash this t-shirt a hundred times until you’re satisfied the design isn’t going anywhere… You’ll tear the t-shirt up before the design will come off 🙂
In addition to a printed t-shirt, I’ll also pull out “one” random ‘heat transfer’ design and will include it in your package so you can see what an actual ‘heat transfer’ looks like. This transfer is what the various companies can make for you with your own design.Continue reading
Here’s a Cheaper Alternative to Making Your Own T-shirt Designs
For many of you, starting a t-shirt business is a dream and passion you’ve been contemplating for a while. And when you finally make the decision to move forward, many seem to think that screen printing their own t-shirts is the route to go. In this post, I’ll attempt to explain why I think screen printing your own t-shirts suck, and why t-shirt transfers rule!
I get a ton of questions about using the heat press method, versus the screen printing method; and for the first time ever, I express my hatred for screen printing!
Lot’s of people seem to think screen printing is easy and cheap. It ain’t easy! And I often wonder why anyone getting into business would want to fool with all the ‘processes’ required to screen print a t-shirt…
Watch the video below to see what I mean… You have to go through all this drama to make new designs — while you’re watching this video, just imagine the cost to get all this stuff… and imagine how much MESS you gotta clean up when you’re done!
You had to go through all that drama to make a 1-color t-shirt. Imagine the process if you had 3-4 colors on a design! You’d have to do everything you just did in the video above 3-4 times!!!
In fact, here’s another video about this very thing…
I imagine most people wanting to start their own t-shirt business to promote their own line of t-shirts/designs don’t want to have to go through all of this… Now if you’re in the business of making t-shirts for other businesses, then I can see why you need to go the screen printing route. But for the individual who wants to promote their own line of tees, there is a cheaper and faster alternative that provides the same quality!
Another thing about screen printing is you must order a huge inventory in order to get a decent price break. Not only that, to have a decent amount of inventory, you’d have to order a bunch of small, medium, large, and extra large tees to have on-hand.
Then you’ll need to get it in white, black, gray, navy blue, green and so on…. You have to get all these sizes and colors because you don’t know beforehand what someone will order, therefore, causing you to purchase a huge inventory to have on hand when someone orders. Before you know it, you’ll have 2,500 t-shirts sitting in your garage hoping someone orders everything you got.
I like custom t shirt heat transfers better because you don’t have to print up a huge inventory of tshirts that’ll just sit on a rack. I like this route because I can print on demand. I like this route because I don’t have a big nasty mess when I’m done. Plus I can print t-shirts in a spare bedroom, or at the kitchen table.
NOW… the transfers presented in this video are NOT the same ones you find at the local Wal-mart. And no, these aren’t the type of transfers you run through your printer that’s connected to your home computer.
These transfers are a special paper whereby a screen printer takes your design and makes an actual screen as shown in the first video; but instead of printing your design onto a t-shirt, they put the design onto this ‘special release’ paper (transfer sheet), that allows you to transfer the design at a later date (on-demand).
So… instead of having 2,500 t-shirts pre-printed up and waiting for someone to purchase, you get these transfers and make t-shirts as the orders come in.
This is a very quick process with no messy inks to cleanup. You can literally make a t-shirt in less than 10 seconds.
This method also works on any colored t-shirt and yes, that includes your ability to print onto black colored tees as well!
The designs transferred onto the t-shirts are the same inks used by screen printers. Ironically, if you took ‘these’ tshirts to a screen printer. The vast majority would not be able to tell you it was done with a heat transfer. The inks are identical and there’s no misty film going around your design when you use this process.
I have t-shirts I printed 10 years and they still look great… just a slight wear from washing and drying over 10 years, but what shirt wouldn’t show stress after 10 years of wear and tear?
The cost is fairly inexpensive… Like screen printing, it’s based on the quantity you order and the number of colors in the design.
You can actually get these for as little as .50 cents a transfer (with the design on it)… but again, it’s all based on quantity and number of colors.
Many companies can have your design put onto this ‘release paper’ and shipping out to you within 24 hours of ordering… Some offer same day service.
This is why I love the t-shirt heat transfer method.
The biggest expense you’ll have is getting the heat press machine. If you don’t mind getting a used one, you can find these on craigslist.com for as little as $200-$400. If you want new, expect to pay around $750 and as much as $1,999; all dependent upon what you’re wanting. They come in different sizes and I recommend getting nothing smaller than a 16×20 (which is what I’m using in the video).
Fact of the matter is this, the t-shirt transfers are actually made from the same inks used in screen printing. In fact, the transfers are made the same way t-shirts are.
Bottomline: The t-shirt transfer process is simple. Someone else does all the work and sends you the completed transfer. It’s not messy, it doesn’t take a long time, you don’t have to wait for your inks to dry, etc….
In addition to a printed t-shirt, I’ll also pull out “one” random ‘heat transfer’ design and will include it in your package so you can see what an actual ‘heat transfer’ looks like. This transfer is what the various companies can make for you with your own design.
Let me know what you think, share your comments or ask questions…Continue reading