Plastisol Heat Transfers
Screenprinting tips and advice

Screen Printing Plastisol Transfers

Screen Printed Plastisol Heat Transfers aren’t new, but have almost been forgotten. What are they, well they are Screen Printed Graphics using Plastisol Ink (The Standard Ink for Custom Clothing or Custom Shirts) but printed onto special paper that can be heat applied to T Shirts at a later date or Neck Labels or Neck Tags as they are also known.

Why is this a good thing, well the cost saving is fantastic and you can have shorter runs for fully customising your brand tags! Isn’t that great!

The first thing we have to do is expose the screen. When we come to expose our screens we have to do them in reverse. So basically when we exposing we doing the mirror image with our posies.

The screens get exposed in exactly the same way as we normally do them but but we for this we going to use a 43T mesh. This is to allows the maximum ink to go through the screen. For plastisol heat transfers we have to use a special transfer paper. Here we prefer to use a hot split transfer paper as this releases the best amount of ink from the heat transfer paper to the garment.

Once your screens have been burnt, dried and ready to rock and roll, tape them up and get some ink on the screens!

We have to carefully align the screen with the paper so the print area is using the maximum space when printed on the transfer paper. Normally with this method we only use one stroke of ink as not to make the print look too clunky. The most important aspect of plastisol heat transfers is to get the gel temperature correct. This is where we don’t over cure the ink, otherwise it won’t be able to release from the paper.

To do this we need to do a lot of testing. The ink curing which is the most important, has to be just passed its touch wet stage stage called ‘gelling’. It’s either a very low temperature with a mid length flash time, or a mid temperature with a short flesh time. It’s very important to get this correct otherwise your transfers won’t work well or at all.

Once you’ve mastered the gel temperature, then it’s time to hit your heat press and start testing your heat and pressure ratio. Here we use a very high heat, heavy pressure and a short press time. For example we use 180°C with a heavy pressure for about eight seconds. This allows the ink to transfer from the paper to the garment whilst curing the ink.

Check out the full video on the My T Shirt Printers YouTube channel to watch how it’s made.