What is the difference between screen print and Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer
Let’s get right down to it. When a design is produced using the screen printing method, actual screens are used in the process! Essentially, this screen is cut to make a stencil for the design. Ink is then spread over the screen, passing through to the object underneath only in the areas you want it to be. Only one color per screen can be used – so depending on the number of colors in the design, you’ll need multiple screens to produce the final item.
The heat transfer printing method applies custom designs to items like t-shirts or tablecloths through a process that uses a combination of heat and pressure. Common kinds of heat transfer printing include vinyl heat transfer and digital print heat transfer. With the vinyl heat transfer process, a machine is used to cut out designs and letters in pieces of colored vinyl. A heat press is then used to transfer each vinyl color of the design onto the object being printed. With digital print heat transfer, the desired graphic is first digitally printed on special heat transfer paper using a solvent ink. This type of ink allows the design to be transferred from the paper to the item being printed when pressed with heat. With both these types of heat transfer, a heat press machine will be needed to transfer the graphic, either vinyl or digitally printed, from one surface to another. It’s the magical combination of heat and pressure that transfers the design!
The difference between adhesive vinyl (decals) and heat transfer vinyl?
Adhesive vinyl comes in several brands, thicknesses, tons of colors and even a few different sizes. Adhesive vinyl is run through your die cutter with the vinyl facing up and the paper carrier sheet down. You cut your design out and pull away the extra vinyl which is a process called “weeding”. After you are left with just your design you apply transfer tape to the design. Then when you are ready to apply the decal, you remove the paper backing, apply the decal and then lastly pull off the transfer tape.
Heat transfer vinyl (commonly called HTV) is not sticky and instead is fused with heat to fabrics, such as shirts, tote backs, coats, scarves, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. It is designed to be applied with a heat press but can also be done with an iron. HTV is cut with the clear shiny side facing DOWN and the duller back of the vinyl facing up. Your design is then mirrored (flipped horizontally) so that you cut through the vinyl only and weed away the extra. Then you flip your design over and apply it to your garment and then remove the carrier sheet. No additional transfer tape is required.
What are your requirements and guidelines for art files?
All files must be at least 300 ppi or Vector Format. If your file is not 300 ppi, you cannot just increase the resolution of the file. This is called “upsampling” and will result in a blurry image. If you are creating your file in Adobe Illustrator or another Vector-based software, just size your image to the size you want it to print.
Accepted File Types
We accept the following File Types:
- Illustrator (.AI)
- Vector (.EPS)
- Photoshop (.PSD)
We prefer .AI or .EPS files first because Vector images can be scaled without affecting quality. We prefer .PSD or .PDF second & .JPG or .TIFF last.