Last week, I introduced all over printing techniques. The post focused on sublimation, its benefits, and what to consider when prepping artwork.
Today’s posts continues on the topic, specifically, how to print and apply your designs using transfers. You can either order a custom transfer or print it yourself. The process involves digitally printing the image in reverse using dye-sublimation ink on compatible heat transfer paper.
The transfer is then heat pressed onto the fabric, which activates the ink and causes it to change from its solid, printed state to a gas that bonds with polyester fibers. If you opt to have another company do the printing, you will need to send them a digital Photoshop® software file for the front and back and one for each sleeve. The files dictate the colors.
Pressing also can be handled in several ways. Oversized flat beds and large, roller presses are available, but they are expensive, with the latter being found mostly in larger operations where they are used for applications like beach towels. An option is to contract out the pressing. Although all over printing of finished garments can be done on a standard heat press, it requires multiple applications. What helps in application of oversize images is that typically, the transfer paper has a slight tack. This doesn’t affect printing because the inks are ink jet sprayed on and nothing touches the surface; but it helps keep the transfer in place on the garment during pressing.
After application, you simply raise the upper platen and peel the carrier sheet off hot. Then you can flip the shirt over to do the other side. All over printing lends itself to various markets and has met with success in the racing, resort and wildlife arenas, to name a few as well as bowling and tournament shirts. If you’re looking to stand out with unique designs that command attention and are willing to explore a different type of approach, this may be the edge you’re looking for.
Photographed: Motorcycle Sublimated Shirt