Screen print transfers are an increasingly popular printing method. Over the past 40 years their use has grown rapidly, and so has the technology behind the method. Improved ink, paper, and equipment technology have allowed product decorators to create higher quality products than ever before while offering greater versatility at the same time.
These technological improvements allow screen print transfers to be applied to virtually any garment available with the right press settings. Heat press transfers can be applied to cotton, polyester, and blended garments in addition to many other popular products (like hats, bags, and towels).
The heat press itself is a major reason why screen print transfers are such a viable decoration method. A typical screen printing setup can cost between $10,000 and $60,000. A heat press, however, will usually only cost between $1,000 and $4,000. In addition to the significantly lower cost, a heat press will take up about 1/10th of the space of screen printing equipment. Combine the low cost and space requirements with much improved technology, and the heat press has become a more than viable alternative to screen printing. With the ability to deliver consistent time, temperature, and pressure, a heat press is perfect for decorators that are new to the business, or want to expand their offerings but do not have the space typically required to do so.
In spite of the technological advances, perhaps the reason most responsible for the rise in popularity of screen print transfers is the small learning curve compared to other print methods. With a quality press, and the appropriate variable settings, screen print transfers are easy to apply. The most difficult part of the process is accurately placing the transfer on the garment, and that difficulty can be mitigated by using a ruler or right angle tool. The heat press itself requires no previous experience to operate outside of learning how to change the settings, which is fairly easy. This ease of use makes screen print transfers the perfect decoration method for businesses, schools, and organizations looking to in-source their printing.
Another valuable quality of screen print transfers is their versatility. Pressing transfers allows a product decorator to print on-demand while offering clients large volume prices. Should a client need more garments of the same design at a later time the decorator is not required to maintain printed inventory that may or may not sell. In other words, screen print transfers eliminate the need (and risk!) of holding printed apparel inventory.
When you add it all up, the product decoration industry is definitely moving towards the transfer model. With the ease of use, improved technology, and versatility offered, it is not hard to see why.