August '21

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3 8 H O T G R A P H I C S R E P O R T 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Q: What is the ideal soft substrate for a heat transfer? Armitt: Many fabrics are suitable for heat transfer printing, with the most perfect sub- strate for a heat transfer being cotton. It can take a lot of pressure and doesn't sustain heat marks. Nearly any garment that is intended to be worn or carried — from cotton Ts, blended fabrics, and 100% polyester, to some nylons and acryl- ics — can be printed with heat transfers. The key consideration is the garment's ability to han- dle the pressing temperature required to trans- fer, and it will ideally also have a surface where the transfer can get a good grip, particularly on clothing that requires washing. SUITABLE SUBSTRATES A Q&A ON THE VARIOUS SUBSTRATES THAT WORK WITH HEAT TRANSFER BY GRAPHICS PRO EDIT STAFF From cotton T-shirts to athletic uniforms, heat transfer is a great way to personalize apparel of all types. Some substrates work great, some may pose different challenges. We sat down with Bill Armitt, co-founder and direc- tor of product development at SupaColor, to discuss the different substrates that can be decorated using heat transfer vinyl, some of the challenges decorators might face, and how they can ensure a quality end product. Nearly any garment that is intended to be worn or carried can be printed with heat transfers. (All im- ages courtesy SupaColor) There is no real one-size-fits-all transfer. Test your products and select the transfer best suited for each one. Q: When working with a polyester garment, how can decorators ensure a qual- ity final product? Armitt: Not all polyesters migrate. One way decorators can test for migra- tion is to spray some water onto the fabric, then use plain white photocopy paper and press. If you see any color transfer onto the paper, then there's a good chance it will migrate. Some transfer suppliers also supply a test strip that you can press and leave for a few days (over a weekend). This will show a decorator the best transfer type to order. Be careful as migration does not always happen immediately — sometimes it can take days or weeks. I always stress that if you are worried and are asking that about migration, always opt for something such as a Blocker option. A Blocker may cost a little more, but it will let you sleep at night. One fabric I suggest always ordering a Blocker for is anything that has a sublimated pattern or design in it. Sublimation is heat pressed, so when you press your transfer over the top, it heats up again and will migrate into the print.

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