Heat Transfer 101 – The Basics about Heat Transferred Apparel


What is Heat Transfer and How Does it Work?

Heat transfer is a decoration method for apparel that isn’t too difficult of a process, and can be done rather quickly if the right company is chosen, or the right equipment is available. The initial step is to pick a garment, and then prepare vector or high resolution artwork that one would like to transfer onto that garment. You want to pick the garment first, as that will impact how the artwork is prepared and what colors will look good in the design. The artwork is then output from a high quality printer onto paper that is specifically made for heat transferring; or it is sent to a vinyl cutter. At first, this may seem similar to the cheap paper and home iron method, it is not that simple and much higher quality. The commercial paper that is used in the heat transfer process lasts longer, will not bleed, or fade. The image is then positioned as accurately as possible onto the garment, which has already been placed on a platen. The next step is to use to heat press to transfer the artwork, which is a large heat plate that distributes pressure and heat evenly. The exact temperature and time for transfer is very important, and varies by garment and transfer paper.

Finally, depending on the transfer type, you either hot peel or cold peel. This means that you remove the transfer paper while it is still hot, just off the press, or you set it aside and let it cool before removing the paper. Either way, the transfer is peeled away slowly to ensure that the transfer is fully bonded. Check for quality, and the garment is complete.

Why use Heat Transfer on Apparel?

Heat transfer apparel is a great option for companies seeking to advertise their products and/or services in small batches; or for highly customized products that require elements to be different from one piece to another. Heat transfer is also beneficial for sports teams, as it allows athletes to have their names, numbers and team names on their jerseys, shirts, sweaters, jackets, or any other almost any other kind of garment.

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