March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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92 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 Inkjet digital transfers must be trimmed be- fore application to avoid having a white border or box around the design. (Image courtesy Stahls') Know Your Options D igital transfers are a great alter- native for shops that don't offer screen printing or for those that offer smaller quantities with quick turnaround. You can get started for a relatively low investment and upgrade your equipment as you build your business. Here, I offer an overview of the four types of digital transfers. INKJET TRANSFERS Inkjet transfers are created using wa- ter-based inks, and the image is printed in reverse on clear media for white garments. To use inkjet transfers, you need a printer, transfer paper, inkjet inks, and a heat press. A cutter with an optical eye is optional. Light-colored shirts are printed with a clear transfer paper. Because inkjet inks are translucent, printing on a colored shirt results in some color shift. For example, if you print green ink on a yellow shirt, it will look blueish. Dark shirts use an opaque transfer paper, and the design is printed on a white under- base. Unless the paper is self-weeding, you must cut out these transfers to prevent a white edge around the design's perimeter. Inkjet transfers adhere to cotton, polyes- ter, and blends. Examples include apparel, tote bags, and backpacks. These transfers don't adhere to hard goods, such as mugs and plaques. Entering this market takes a low capital investment, depending on the equipment you need to buy. An inkjet printer costs as little as $150 and a heat press is priced as low as $400. It's possible to start crank- ing out transfers for less than $1,000. However, starting low can impact quality, versatility, and labor. If you want to print on dark garments or produce intricate Steven Jackson is a technician and trainer for Stahls' Equipment, St. Clair Shores, Michigan. As an 11-year veteran in the decorated apparel industry, Jackson has in-depth knowledge of heat-applied graphics and trends. He conducts a monthly Roland Ver- saCAMM hands-on workshop and is the site administrator for, an educational industry website and forum. Visit his YouTube channel at StevenJacksonIW. Email him at Options GROW YOUR BUSI- NESS WITH DIGITAL TRANSFERS B Y S T E V E N J A C K S O N

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