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Heat Transfer FAQ

What Is A Stock Transfer?

A Stock transfer consists of an image printed in reverse (i.e. mirrored) and applied to a piece of high release paper. The image is usually printed onto the paper with plastisol inks which have the characteristics of being flexible enough for stretching and durable enough for wearability. The transfer is typically used for decorative purposes and applied to garments, mugs, mouse pads, and other surfaces. The image is applied to these items using a heat press machine which uses high temperature (typically 385 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressure to transfer the ink from the paper to the garment. The process of transferring an image from the paper to the garment typically takes typically 8-12 seconds and does not require a drying or curing process once applied. Transfers are available in a variety of sizes, processes, and colors. Most transfers produced today are known as hot split transfers where the ink splits between the transfer paper and garment when heated. Other popular transfer types include puff (ink that puffs), glitter (ink that sparkles), foil (ink that shines), and sublimation (used for mug transfers).

Can I Print Transfers on Any Color Garment or Material?

No, some transfers are intended to be printed on light color (i.e. white, ash, yellow, light blue) garments only while others can be printed on dark and light color garments. Each transfer we offer will indicate which color(s) to which it can be applied. Like color, not all transfers can be applied to all materials. Virtually every transfer we sell can be applied to 'normal' printable items....from 100% cotton to those that contain 50% polyester/50% cotton. However, printing on a mug, mouse pad, or a cap often requires a transfer specifically intended for those surfaces.

What Equipment Do I Need to Print a Transfer?

All transfers that we sell can be applied with a professional heat press machine. They will not work using a household iron. These machines are available in a manual or automatic format and have standard voltage requirements (U.S. 120 volts, International 220 volts). A standard manual heat press costs approximately $500 and will endure years of use. Automatic heat presses generally cost in excess of $2500. A manual press requires the user to apply pressure to a handle attached to the heating area in order to lock the heating area in place for transferring. The automatic presses handle this process automatically.

How Much Do Transfers Cost?

Most of the transfers we sell range in price from $.39 to $3.75 each. Most full size transfers intended for t-shirts and sweatshirts average $1.50 each. Cap and mug size transfers are typically under $1.00 each while larger/oversized transfers using creative processes are in excess of $3.00. Although size often determines the price, transfers created by a well-known artists or which use a new technology can inflate the price.

Using Transfers vs. Direct Printed Garments

With the improvements in technology used to produce transfers, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a garment printed directly with a screen printing press and one printed using A Stock transfer. In most cases, the Stock transfer has a soft feel (or hand as we say in the industry) and is as durable. The advantage to using transfers lies in your ability to run your business with limited inventory. Because you don't typically print the shirt until it's sold, you can offer hundreds (even thousands) of designs to your customers just by keeping minimal stock of the transfers which cost considerably less than a pre-printed shirt. Imagine if you wanted to offer 300 different shirts to your customers. If you carried pre-printed garments, you would have to inventory each design in a minimum of four sizes and keep on hand at least 2-3 pieces of every size. That amounts to inventorying over 3600 shirts. For most small business, this is not realistic. To carry the same 300 designs using transfers you would only have to inventory four sizes of blank garments and 2-3 pieces of each design. This is a more realistic scenario for most small business owners.

How Long Do Transfers Last?

That's a tough question to provide a definite answer. Everything from the quality of the heat press, to the garment fabric, application process, washing detergents used, drying temperatures, etc, etc. will all factor into the life of the design. It can be years or it can be less. No guarantees are made or implied as would be the case in most any clothing product.

How Do Transfers Hold Up When Washed?

Special care is normally not needed to wash a garment printed with a transfer since it has the same characteristics as a pre-printed or direct printed shirt. However, we recommend washing the garment inside-out and in cold water to prevent the cotton fibers from peeling away from the garment. It is normally the cotton fibers peeling away which cause fading in a printed shirt regardless of whether it was printed with a transfer or directly printed.

How Does a Transfer Feel When Printed?

Transfers normally have the same textures and feel as a pre-printed garment.

Can I Print the Same Transfer More than Once?

No, once applied to a garment, mug, cap, or other surface, the transfer cannot be reapplied again.

Can I Customize, Add, or Change an Existing Transfer?

You cannot alter the image of a transfer already adhered to the high release transfer paper. However, you can accessorize transfers with lettering, other transfers, or with custom transfers produced on a computer after you press your transfer onto the garment.

Can I Make Custom Transfers Using My Computer?

Yes, there are a variety of Stock transfer papers available today which you can print on using your computer printer. The 3 most popular Stock transfer papers available are: color laser copy (CLC), and inkjet paper. The CLC paper must be used with a color laser copier such as a Cannon Color Laser Copier System. The latest transfer paper to hit the market is inkjet paper. This paper can be used with most inkjet printers such as those manufactured by Canon and Hewlett Packard. Keep in mind, you must have the correct printer and software to use these papers. The software must be able to print a mirrored image as well as give you the ability to create graphics. Some of the more popular software programs on the market are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, and Corel Draw.

Can I use a home iron?

No. Our designs are produced using professional inks that must be applied with a heat transfer machine.

Do you make custom transfers?

Yes. Learn more about our custom transfer products.

Can I buy less than 12 pieces of a transfer design?

Yes. We have no minimums on any of our stock transfer designs. You may purchase as little as one piece.

How do I order the transfer machine promotion?

These orders must be placed on our website or sent to us by fax. If you have a problem getting the promotional price on the transfer machine please don’t be concerned. The price will be adjusted prior to shipment.

Do you offer high quantity discounts?

Yes, we do provide discounts on non promotional orders. Please call us for details.