Transfer printing's uncanny ability to mimic the look and appearance of traditional screen printing makes it a new printing technique that you will want to get familiar with. You can use transfer printing to achieve bold, opaque prints across a variety of garments like t shirts, hoodies, hats, so it's worthwhile to take some time to understand how to prepare artwork files to get great results.
How Does Transfer Printing Work?
Transfer printing is a new printing technique that uses digital printers to print your artwork onto a paper or film and the print is then transferred to a garment using heat and pressure. Sounds a little bit like alchemy huh?
* 300 dpi at the size you want printed. For example, a 10" wide print would be 3,000 pixels wide.
* .PNG file
* Unlimited colors, set the color space of your file to RGB
Due to the nature of how transfer printing works, there are aspects of your print files that you will want to pay careful attention to.
* All pixels should be @ 100% opacity. Artwork files with pixels less than 100% opacity will achieve inconsistent results.
* Isolated fine lines & isolated small lettering may not transfer. Special care should be given to fine lines and lettering within your artwork file, so that they are not completely surrounded by transparent pixels.
*Try to avoid "sharp points" in artwork files as they may not transfer perfectly.
Artwork Strategies For Great Results:
* try to connect key design elements whenever possible
* add a stroke to lettering to make it more bold
* avoid isolated details smaller than 2mm as they may not transfer onto the garment
Results May Vary Depending on Level of Detail:
Below images show how the bigger the detail, the more likelihood of successful transfer. You can see at very small scale like 0.5mm, small shapes do not transfer 100% of the time. However, nearly all the details transfer at 2mm and above.
(Tiny details may not consistently have good results)
(Extra small details may not consistently have good results)
(Small details should be at least 2mm thickness to consistently have good results)
A lot of the dots, squares and lines transfer well at small sizes but things with sharp edges (such as asterisks, even crosses, sharp points or angels) do not transfer as well. This means that sometimes your artwork may be missing fine details in the final garment.
You can see a similar chart above is transfer printed on a tshirt for scale and reference. Just like above, the first row features shapes that are 0.5mm, then the next row shows 1mm, followed by shapes of 2mm, then 3mm, and finally 4mm.
Small details may be lost during the printing and transferring process because during the transfer process when we peel off the film leaving the ink on the garment, those sharper edges give some resistance and sometimes do not transfer onto the garment, they stay on the film. You can see above that the asterisks didn't transfer at all at 0.5mm and even at 1mm had some difficulty. However at 2mm thickness, the asterisks produced great results!
Lesson is, the bigger the shape, the better the final print result will be! We recommend all stand-alone details be at least 2mm in thickness for successful transfer.
We cannot refund or remake garments where fine details in the artwork did not transfer onto the garment successfully. Please avoid small details whenever possible.
If you have small stand alone details in your artwork, we recommend adding a stroke (or outline) around the detail to give the details more thickness and allow them to transfer more successfully and consistently. Notice how the white outline gives more thickness to the letters below and allows them to transfer successfully. The border or outline allows for a better final quality result.
Recommended Font Sizes:
* It really depends on the specific font, but in general, the more bold your font, the smaller you can go
* Make sure that all parts of the font are at least 2mm thick
* If fonts are less than 2mm, we recommend adding a stroke or outline to the font to make it thicker (you can add a similar color to the garment itself or a contrasting color)