There are several differences between inkjet and laser heat transfer papers. When starting to
make heat transferred shirts for the first time it is important to consider the pros and cons of
each style of paper. There are hundreds of choices when it comes to heat transfer papers and
First it is always important to follow the vendor's instructions and test your transfer paper
thoroughly before you distribute any products. When heat transfers are applied properly,
they can look great and last a long time. The trick is to know how to work with them.
Inkjet heat transfer paper is generally easier to work with and will have brighter colors as well
as better coverage. This is simply due to the way inkjet printers work and how much ink they
actually lay down on the transfer paper. Another advantage is that you normally have more
control over the quality of the print with an inkjet printer. Because inkjet printers lay down
more ink it is not always necessary to use RIP software to get nice colors and good results.
Many inkjet heat transfer papers can be used with an iron achieving acceptable results. And
of course color inkjet printers cost less than color laser printers.
One of the problems associated with inkjet heat transfers is that they can bleed before they're
washed or when first washed. You don't want to spill, drop or spray any kind of liquid including
Scorch Out onto the virgin transferred image. This can damage or ruin the image. After they are
washed for the first time they will not bleed further. When you wash them for the first time it is
good to use extra water for the size load being washed. That way it provides plenty of water to
dilute any bleeding.
Laser transfer paper can be a little more difficult to work with and generally needs a more
professional application. Better results are achieved at higher temperatures and with more
pressure during transferring. Also because laser printers lay down less toner compared to
ink with an inkjet printer, the colors may appear less brilliant and/or have less coverage on the
fabric. It is not recommended using laser heat transfers without a heat press. A pneumatic press
with 60 psi pressure is ideal.
It is also important to note some laser heat transfer papers are not compatible with laser toners
containing oils. Be sure to check with the vendor of the transfer paper for specifications.
The benefits of laser heat transfer paper are that they do not bleed at any time and when applied
properly, they are more durable and less prone to fading. The most obvious con is that a color laser
printer cost more money than an inkjet printer. But in the long run toner is cheaper than inkjet
All heat transferred shirts tend to fade with the first wash and will continue to fade over time as
they are washed. It is important to notify your customer of the limitations of the product you are
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