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17 Screen Printers Name Misconceptions About Heat Transfer Printing

“It has come a long way and most people don’t know that it has.”




17 Screen Printers Name Misconceptions About Heat Transfer Printing

What are the biggest misconceptions about heat transfer printing?

  • That it’s easy! We have a DTF machine here and it is not easy. There are a lot of moving parts on that thing and they don’t always work together. It takes a really good tech-head to keep it constantly outputting. But once you have your finished transfers, it’s a snap to transfer it to garments. And it holds up really well. — Matthew Pierrot, GetBOLD – T-shirt Printing and Embroidery, North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Low quality and peel off. — Jeremy Picker, AMB3R Creative, Denver
  • That they are bad quality. They have their place in the decoration method and we use and sell them for certain requirements. — Jodi Taylor, PSI Screenprinting, Queensland, Australia
  • That it’s the cheapest way to get 12 shirts done. — Joel Alvarez, Silk Dreams, Miami
  • It feels fake and it does not last. — Shaun McCarthy, GL Imprinting, Syracuse, New York
  • That it’s cost effective for orders. Screen printing is still the cheapest method for 90 percent of the jobs we see in our studio. I think heat transfer has a place, especially for jobs such as team wear and cheer, where you might get a very detailed, multi-color image on polyester garments. However, I will always have it as a complementary process to the core screen print service. — Chessie Rosier-Parker, Squeegee and Ink, Newbury, Berkshire, England
17 Screen Printers Name Misconceptions About Heat Transfer Printing
  • That they feel like plastic and don’t hold up to washing. If done well, customers really don’t notice a difference. — Alison Banholzer, Wear Your Spirit Warehouse, Huntingtown, Maryland
  • It’s not printing. Customers need to be informed that it will look and feel differently than screen printing or sublimation. We always show them samples to look at and feel the difference, so they know what they’re getting beforehand. It works well for certain situations, but is not a silver bullet many vendors and Cricut moms are putting out there. — Charlie Vetters, Organic Robot Designs, Greenfield, Indiana 
  • It’s the same as it was in the 1970s. It has come a long way and most people don’t know that it has. — Jim Heiser, Bullseye Activewear, Brunswick, Ohio
  • That they look cheap or dated. — Dee Reeve, The E. B. Wood Group, North Tonawanda, New York

  • That they’re difficult to do and hold detail. — Charlie Taublieb, Taublieb Consulting, Greenwood, Colorado
  • That the quality is inferior to screen printing. Worse, the general public views it as their granny’s iron-on and are immediately turned off by the terminology. The technological advancement of the inks and processes such as DTF and DST are going to majorly disrupt the industry and solve a lot of headaches for a lot of companies. — Scott Garnett, King Screen, Roanoke, Virginia
  • That heat transfers are a logical replacement for most screen printing. I am not familiar with the best transfers in the industry today. And I have no doubt the process may be dramatically improved from three to five years ago. But in my experience, our better customers will not accept transfers, period, for normal prints. We have many customers who buy simulated process who will not accept DTG because of the feel. Heat transfers are great for many things. For example, better for foil than direct printing. Great for small quantities of glitter, numbers, names, etc. But no matter how hard people try, heat transfers are not a replacement for high-quality screen printing for corporate or demanding clients with larger volume orders. — Larry Mays, Mays Marketing Group, Erie, Pennsylvania
  • That it’s better than a screen printed shirt. — Rene Cantu, 361 Printing & Embroidery, Port Lavaca, Texas
  • That it won’t last many washings and lacks durability. — Andrew Gold, 247 TEE SHIRTS, Miami
  • That it is shabby and low quality. Just like any other decoration method, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. — Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting, Mesa, Arizona
  • That it’s cheap and low quality. With the rise of Supacolor, Stahls, and others, the quality is really great and it’s relatively simple to apply to garments. — Gavin StGeorges, Proud TShirts, Miami



Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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