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What is a heat transferred print?

Screen printing and offset printing are dirty, messy methods of printing on an object such as a T shirt, coffee mug or baseball hat. The modern alternative is to apply heat transferred prints, clean, neat and the only thing left to dispose of is a sheet of paper. Any personal computer and ink jet printer can prepare the transfer or people in the business can purchase wholesale heat transfers in volume.

The two ways of doing heat transfer are topical; this is a process that puts the ink on a surface, and sublimation. Sublimation is the process that drives the ink right into the fabric through a chemical reaction, thus making the transfer part of the fabric.

An iron on heat transfer is a simple example of a topical transfer. There are companies who produce wholesale heat transfers where the image has been printed to a special paper used for the transfer process. The paper is plastic coated, when heat from an iron is applied to the back of the transfer, the plastic softens allowing it, along with the image to adhere to the T shirt or any other material. Although a domestic iron can do a reasonably good job, in commercial environments a hot transfer press is used. A press has a larger platen so the pressure on the transfer is even and the heat potential is greater. Although a very high heat is used in the transfer process, the ink does not penetrate the fabric; it is simply sitting on the surface. Over time, a transfer made topically will flake and there may be a fading of the inks.

When the transfer is done through sublimation, special inks are used which, when applied with heat and pressure, become one with the fibers. Sublimation is a strange process, material changes from the solid state to a gas, skipping the liquid state. This is what happens with this form of heat transfer, under intense heat the special inks sublimate to gas and enter the fabric.

Not all materials can take a transfer via sublimation. The inks used in the process are water-insoluble; they bond with material which also is water-insoluble, such as synthetic fabrics. If sublimation printing is attempted on non synthetic material, the material must first be coated with a film of polymer.

If you are looking to purchase wholesale heat transfers you are invited to visit the web site of Gulfside Heat Transfers. Gulfside offer low minimum quantizes and fast turn-a-rounds.

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