Transfer paper, also known as sublimation paper, is widely used in the textile sector and which type of paper you choose is very much dependent upon your project and desired effect.
The printing process on transfer papers
Heat transfer is the process of printing on to a special transfer paper, using a heat press or home iron to transfer it on to a shirt. It is a similar process as ‘direct-to-garment’ or screen printing, but does not carry the same high cost. Much like the old iron-on available at craft stores, these transfers are like stickers, meaning the image lies on top of the shirt and has a different texture than the surrounding material.
Sublimation paper turns into a gas that embeds itself into anything with a polyester coating. Creating a cleaner, more professional look, it leaves no difference in feeling between the image and the shirt.
Types of Transfer Papers
Inkjet Transfer Paper
This is the most popular transfer paper for home or small business use; providing a cost-effective option for one-off jobs. It is perfect for transferring an image, text, graphic, design, logos, etc., using inkjet or laser printers. The inkjet transfer paper works best on cotton and cotton blend fabrics; however, it can also be used on synthetics.
Sublimation Transfer Paper
Sublimation paper is designed to be used on polyester, polyester blends and other synthetic fabrics. In the sublimation paper process, the ink ‘sublimates’, or become a gas without liquefying first. The process lays down varying amounts of primary colours, plus a clear coating onto the paper.
Plastisol Screen printed Transfer Paper
Also known as hot-split or hot-peel, this method of transferring produces a finished product that is almost identical to screen printing. During the printing process, the image is transferred on to the plastisol paper using a screen printer. A heat press then transfers the image onto the fabric.
While this method is cheaper than sublimation printing, it does require investment in potentially costly equipment such as screen printers and heat presses.
With sublimation paper, there are two key considerations to be pay attention to, when choosing the most suitable paper for your project: how the paper absorbs the ink and how it releases the ink on to the substrate.
Sublimation papers look very similar, and work on the principle of a polymer layer and release agent, but the process can vary substantially from one type to another. It is therefore very important to select the transfer paper that will work best for you.
PG Paper can supply all of your transfer paper needs – for use across manufacturing and retail. Please get in touch if you need any further advice on the best transfer paper for your project. Contact us today at [email protected] or complete our enquiry form.
You may also wish to visit our website at www.pgpaper.com where you can read more about our extensive range of paper, board, tissue and speciality papers available. A Live Chat feature is available on the site – the team is waiting to assist with your enquiry!