T shirt printing, here, usually needs artistic and technical skills to accomplish. The kind of equipment used does not matter as long as the artwork looks good. However, not all of us have both the creativity and the technical knowledge. There is, however, an easy solution to this: thermal transfer.
Thermal transfer involves using special thermal paper, one side of which is coated with plastisol. The paper reacts when heat is applied. Water may be needed to moisten the fabric and to speed up the transfer.
Designing The Artwork For Your T Shirt Printing Project
The most important part of t shirt printing is the artwork to be transferred onto the t shirt. A good imaging software is right for this job. Doing a hand painted design is also good, but this takes some artistry to do.
Creating the design digitally is the first step. Make sure the lines are darkened and the colors have depth and intensity. This helps in transferring more coverage of the ink on the fabric in case there is not enough applied heat.
You can print the design on the thermal transfer paper using inkjets with ordinary ink. The plastisol will take care of imprinting and curing the design into the fabric’s threads. You can also use dye sublimation ink or solvent ink instead.
If you have a laser printer, you can use either a color laser or a black and white one, depending on the demands of the design, or a normal toner with or without oil. Just make sure the design is fully printed on the plastisol-coated thermal paper. There should be no faded areas or bleeding in the image.
A good alternative is to buy a ready-to-print design. Many shops and websites sell thermal transfer papers with artworks already printed on them.
Cut out the blank areas of thermal paper to avoid printing the square edges. Now, all that you need to do is prepare the t shirt and iron the design over it.
The Thermal Transfer T Shirt Printing Process
When you have finished printing the design on thermal transfer paper or when you have chosen and purchased your ready-to-print thermal paper, it is time to print the design on fabric. Prepare the shirt on the iron board. Place a cardboard inside the t shirt to protect the other side from the transfer and the intense heat.
On top of the t shirt area where you want the design printed, position the paper with the back facing up. The plastisol-coated side where the image was printed on should be facing down on the fabric. Anchor the paper on the fabric by taping it down.
When you are finished setting up, it is time to iron the design over the fabric. Heat the iron up, but make sure it is not too hot that it will burn the paper. The best way to do this is to place a thin piece of cloth over the paper.
You can sprinkle or spray a bit of moisture on the plastisol to make it stick to the fabric. The moisture also serves as a shield to the iron’s heat. Iron the paper for at least five minutes to make sure all the areas of the image has been transferred.
Wait for the thermal transfer paper to cool down before taking the paper off the fabric. Prematurely taking off the paper will ruin the way the ink sticks to the fabric. Now your t shirt is ready to be worn. Congratulations for finishing this do-it-yourself t shirt printing project!