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T Shirt Printing & Transfer Paper Types Update 2021

Transfer paper is a paper sheet or a translucent film used to transfer the image onto the desired surface. It is mainly used in textile printing of fabric, canvas, clothes or t-shirts. The technical name of the transfer paper is the sublimation sheet. Many types of sublimation paper available are used in different kinds of t shirt printing techniques.

Sublimation Productive Printing
Sublimation Productive Printing

The following article will address all the printing techniques in which the transfer paper is used and explain its purpose and selection criteria.

Before we get into the details of the type of paper needed for a particular kind of fabric or t shirt printing technique, let us bifurcate the process of transfer printing paper.

Transfer Printing Method

The heat transfer process is printing t-shirts or textiles by using transfer paper with a heat press or iron to transfer the image onto the fabric. It is the same process of t-shirt printing as a screen or direct to the garment, but it is less expensive. 

T Shirt Printing Via Sublimation Machine
T Shirt Printing Via Sublimation Machine

Transfer paper or sheet is similar to the print stickers available in craft stores. They use them to heat press and iron the print image on the sticker onto the t-shirt. 

In the case of sublimation paper or transfer paper, it turns into a gas. It embeds itself as an image through the polyester coating on any surface. With the quality of print and colour vibrancy, the result is much precise and professional.

Related: Dye Sublimation of T-shirt Printing

How Many Types Of Transfer Paper Are There?

There are several methods of transfer printing and types of transfer papers available in the market. We will inform you about the most frequently used t-shirt printing methods and which kind of transfer paper or sublimation is appropriate to use with it.  

See More: Things You Should Know Before You Buy Heat Transfer Paper

Inkjet Transfer Paper

Inkjet transfer paper is the most common and popular type of paper transfer for small scale businesses or to experiment with t-shirt printing at home. It is for single time activity and is highly cost-effective. You can use it to transfer an image, logo, design or graphic onto your shirt using inkjet or laser printers. The cotton and cotton blend fabrics are the best choice of fabric, using the inkjet transfer paper. It also works fine on synthetic blends.

Transfer Paper Factory
Transfer Paper Factory

Sublimation Transfer Paper

Sublimation paper is a perfect solution to use for polyester and synthetic fabrics. It also works well on polyester mix blends. The image on the sublimation sheet becomes a gas and, without liquifying, becomes a part of the t-shirt fabric.

Read More: Does Polyester Shrink? Myths and Facts

The print quality depends on the primary colours in a print and the layer of colour coating on the sublimation.

Iron Sublimation Machine
Iron Sublimation Machine

Plastisol Screen Printed Transfer Paper. 

The plastisol Screen printing is divided further into two particular categories.

  1. Hot Split
  2. Cold Peel 

Hot Split

In Hot split transfer paper applied on the t-shirt, the transfer sheet must be removed immediately after the heat press is opened. The plastisol sheet or sublimation splits so that the portion of design/colour stays on the t-shirt. The hot split transfer is similar to the direct handprint.

Hot Split T Shirt Design
Hot Split T Shirt Design

Cold Peel 

The cool transfer sheets apply in the cool-peel plastisol method. That lets the heat transfer subdues fully [about 30 seconds] before the paper is removed—all the ink from the paper transfers to the garment. The cool-peel transfer results in a glossy surface and is mostly used for sportswear t-shirt printing. 

Cold Peel Sports Uniform
Cold Peel Sports Uniform

Final Words

Every T shirt printing method requires a particular type of transfer paper sheet, which is also known as sublimation. This article discusses the popular types of printing methods and the kinds of transfer paper used in each technique.

Image source: Shutter Stock

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