Fabric and Heat Transfer Collaboration

InstaGripTransferWorkwearWhen pressing heat transfers onto variable fabrics and apparel types
it pays to take that extra moment to determine how the transfer becomes an integral part of the garment before establishing a purchase order and for sure before the transfer application to the garment by heat press takes place.

Although highly important its not just the (TTP) Time, Temperature & Pressure that guarantees the transfer adhesion to garment, there are some other variables that you need to view concerning the transfer and heat press combination upfront of applying the transfer.

The heat transfer whatever its foundation formula is not the first consideration when preparing the transfer for application to the garment. The first consideration has to be the fabric and garment type.

The fabric should always be aligned with choice of heat transfer as the transfer ink and fabric surface condition if not compatible can mean the
difference between success or failure.

knowing what fabric and heat transfer type work in collaboration will save much pain and heartache over the long haul, as you may now have the face of your customer staring at you when the transfers are creating problems mainly because the heat press and fabric combination was not aligned at the initial stage?

Choosing the fabric to combine with the heat transfer characteristics
is not a big deal at all, but many people still only guess at what the end result is going to look like following the transfer application onto the garment.

Insta Graphic Systems for instance is always on hand to provide customer
advice and recommendations as to the compatibility of fabric with heat transfer finishes and their application to garment.

Insta Launches New Website

Insta Launches updated website

Insta Graphic Systems, Cerritos, Calif., recently launched a new responsive, e-commerce-enabled website featuring streamlined navigational tools and an online storefront.

The new website allows customers to navigate and find products faster and easier. It features a search tool and a “shop by category” listing for Insta heat transfers and heat presses.

“Insta realizes how important it is for our customers to be able to find the information they need on our website and we’ve worked hard to incorporate functionality and technology into the site,” says Janet Wells, president of Insta Graphic Systems. “Now, customers using mobile devices can also enjoy an enhanced user experience due to the newly deployed responsive interface.”

The machine category now also lists an expanded line of parts and accessories, grouped by machine model to ensure customers can order the correct parts for their machines.

Insta’s in-house team of designers plans to continue improving the website on an ongoing basis to address site design, functionality and user interface, according to the company.

Join Us: ISS Atlantic City FREE Seminar


Direct-To-Garment Seminar March 22nd

Join us at the upcoming ISS Atlantic City Show March 23-25, 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The show will be an informative event, so be sure to attend!


Insta will be participating at a joint  seminar hosted by Equipment Zone and Epson on March 22nd, the day before the show opens, from 10 am – 5 pm. The seminar covers Direct-to-Garment Printing how-to’s and valuable tips and tricks. Don’t miss out on this FREE seminar! Register here.


Check out Insta’s heat press equipment at these partner booths as well:


Coastal Business Supplies,Booth 1027

Digital Art Solutions,Booth 713

Equipment Zone, Booth 224

IT Supplies,Booth 536

Love Unlimited NY, Inc, Booth 237

Melco, Booth 119 

Nazdar Source One, Booth 729 

Specialty Materials, Booth 1205 

Small Transfers – Large Potential

taglesslabel1Heat Transfers can be used in multiple ways for the imaging of textiles and one area of apparel decoration is ideally suited for heat transfer embellishment: Micro sized heat transfers.

Small micro graphics, tagless labels, identification / hang tags, badges, emblems to name a few are ready made for the micro size heat transfer treatment.

With the advancement in recent years of the transfer carrier substrates and the fusible inks, it is now possible to obtain excellent fine line definition graphics that can easily reproduce the original graphic to a transfer image that can be applied to multiple fabric surface materials and withstands repeated washing.

When considering micro heat transfers it is important to take into account the graphic style and the selected fabric type that will be used. Tiny line weights and higher definition of the graphic will need to be in aligned so the transfer can become an integral part of the fabric weave and thread thickness once the transfer is applied to the garment.

The choice of transfer to suit the fabric type and finish will also need to be evaluated and qualified, so that the transfer print merges with the garment successfully.

In summary, when choosing small image transfers, it is crucial to choose a transfer that can hold fine detail, has good stretch capability and is durable enough to endure multiple washes.

Ultima transfers from Insta Graphic Systems is a transfer that has been specifically designed for micro transfer imaging. Ultima is a great way to obtain transfers that are ideally suited to transfer micro images – Small Transfers, Large Potential.


Peel Your Way To Profits

In a recent article published by Impressions magazine, our very own Chris Pluck gives us some tips on how to benefit from Heat Transfers. peel-your-way-to-profits

Heat transfers are fusible money makers.

Most apparel decorators are familiar with direct screen printing and heat transfers, but many are uncertain about which method is best for their businesses. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each decorating process, there are occasions when heat transfers offer the better solution.

Direct printing involves screen printing a design directly onto a garment, whereas heat transfers are printed on specialized transfer paper. For the latter, the design’s colors usually are printed in the opposite order of a direct print, with the darker colors printed first and the lighter colors printed last. Transfers also are printed in reverse, or mirror image, so the design is displayed correctly when transferred onto a garment.

Applying a transfer to a garment is fairly simple, but requires a good heat press that maintains consistent temperature across the platen. Investing in a quality heat press is essential, since the finished garment’s quality depends on it. Fusion between the transfer and garment typically occurs between 325°F-350°F, but this depends on the transfer and garment types.

Heat-Transfer Benefits
Transfer paper costs much less than a garment, so the cost of replacement — in the event of a misprint or reject — is relatively low. Another advantage of printing transfers is that multiple graphics can be arranged on one sheet and printed at the same time, provided that the same colors are used throughout. This can mean many copies of the same graphic or a variety of different graphics.

This often is referred to as “ganging” and results in a more economic use of time and resources. The designs then can be individually cut and packaged for later use. This especially is useful when printing athletic or team numbers, letters or logos, where there are several renderings of the art or different designs all using the same team colors.

In addition, transfers allow for on-demand order fulfillment, effectively reducing a shop’s inventory requirements. Different garment sizes or styles can be purchased based on a customer’s ordering preference. Inventory planning is easier because if the customer wants to purchase particular sizes or styles, the shop does not have to carry unnecessary products while hoping customers eventually will purchase them.

Garment trends come and go, but shops often don’t want to risk following them for fear of being stuck with excess inventory. On-demand transfer orders allow quicker adjustment to trends, and shop owners can order only as much of the trendy garment as the customer needs.

Transfers also can be held in inventory or as a stock item, for example, then applied to a garment at a moment’s notice, thus guaranteeing a quicker turnaround. They also are great for fulfilling smaller jobs or recurring orders, eliminating repeated setups.

Printing/Ink Parameters
Heat transfers also can be applied to hard-to-print locations on garments, such as across seams or other areas that would be difficult via direct printing. These locations are becoming increasingly popular for artwork placement. Transfers also are ideal for use as tagless labels. Furthermore, they can be applied to non-garment items, such as laundry bags, totes, neoprene joint braces, backpacks and many other items that would be difficult or impossible to screen print.

What if consumers don’t like a particular design? With direct printing, the shop would incur the possibly-substantial expense of slow-moving or unsold finished garments. With transfers, the loss is limited to the cost of the unused transfers alone.

Just as there are various inks available for different substrates, transfers can be printed with different inks to yield the best results. If the fabric stretches, a transfer with stretch capabilities can be used. There also are 3-D or other specialty inks that work well on transfers and can add interest and value to the print.

The applied transfer’s hand often is just as soft as that of a screen-printed design. Typically, there is less fibrillation and a smoother surface because of the heat press’ temperature and pressure, combined with the transfer paper’s smoothness. And in terms of durability, there is little to no difference between a screen-printed design and a heat transfer.

Garment decorators also can outsource transfer printing to reduce overhead costs and their footprints.

Heat transfers offer many benefits, both in flexibility and cost savings, and allow shops to manage inventory easier and carry fewer in-stock items.

Chris Pluck, business development director for Insta Graphic Systems, has been in the imprinted textile industry for more than 30 years. He has a background in screen printing and offset lithography technologies, and was instrumental in establishing inventive heat-fusible printing products and print application methods. For more information, visit instagraph.com

Heat-Transfer Tech

In an article published by Impressions magazine, Chris Pluck shares with us some of his knowledge on heat transfer technology.


Heat transfers are produced by printing transfer ink onto a substrate transfer paper or film. Once the ink has been applied to the substrate, it is then gelled under a dryer. The finished transfer is then pressed onto the garment and, once applied, the final product is ready to wear.

Using heat transfers can be advantageous to a direct textile screen printer because they eliminate the possibility for misprints, which can result in garments being rejected. Such mistakes can be costly because the ink is applied to the most expensive part of the overall product: the garment. Alternatively, heat transfers can help keep printed product rejects to a minimum.

With an array of transfer inks available, there are many finishes and textures to suit each fabric type. Transfers can produce soft, yet durable printed images. In some instances, they can compete with — or even beat — the hand of screen-printed graphics. When printing short print runs or samples, transfers can provide an easy way to get quick-turn images to customers, who can then apply them to garments.

Following are four things you need to know about heat transfers.

1. Differentiation from Screen Printing: Textile screen-printing inks are applied directly onto a garment or fabric surface, then immediately cured under a dryer. When the printing and curing are completed, the garment is ready to 
wear. With transfers, multiple designs can be printed simultaneously. Once completed, the transfer sheet can be cut into single transfers, packed and sent off site for application to garments.

Heat transfers can be printed singly or as multiple graphics and don’t need to be applied to garments until necessary.

This means the transfer customer can choose from a range of “stock” transfers and wait to purchase the garment 
until required.

Applying transfers to multiple garments is a clean and 
efficient process, as the transfer should be pressed onto the garment in a sterile environment away from the print shop.

2. Formula for Success: It is important to know in advance the fabric type to which you will applying a transfer. Every fabric has its differences, so you must understand that no one transfer type is a good fit for all fabrics. For example, if a garment has a high degree of fabric dye migration or high stretch and elasticity, it must be paired with a transfer type that will enable the transfer and fabric to work harmoniously.

Another important factor for successful transfer application is a quality heat press that has a proven track record of success with various garment types. It must be well made and able to successfully reproduce controlled temperature and pressure parameters during the transfer-application process. These features may mean the difference between a lasting transfer or a reject.

With the introduction of large-format heat presses, allover transfers now can easily be heat pressed onto garments to produce stunning visual images.

3. Special Effects and Textures: Glitter, shimmer, 
metallic and other shiny finishes can be produced to enhance a transfer’s design. Embossed transfer images are available to create 3-D effects, as well as faux leather and suede finishes.

Combinations of transfer flat ink, and special-effects and textured ink, can easily be used in a single transfer print to produce super finishes. Multiple surface finishes, which are important to the visual look, feel and texture of the finished transfer image, also can be aligned with each transfer graphic concept.

Some of the best glitter, metallic and shimmer graphics can be produced using transfers, as the transfer paper used with these shiny inks usually is a high-gloss type, which in turn provides the same gloss effect to the glitter or shimmer once applied to the garment.

Other special effects, such as phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark and puff embossed images, also are available to use for transfers.

Sublimation and offset transfers also 
can be produced. Depending on the ink type, they can help to create photorealistic graphics or spot-color design finishes that can be used in sports numbers, lettering, corporate logos and tagless labels, to name a few.

4. Transfers for Workwear: One of the latest innovations involves heat transfers for industrial workwear or garments that need to withstand rigorous laundering processes.  These types of transfers are capable of resisting high-temperature washes and — in some cases — up to 50 industrial wash cycles. They make it possible to imprint uniforms and workwear that traditionally have been embellished with embroidery or appliqués, thus significantly shortening the turnaround cycle.

In addition, the use of these durable transfers goes beyond apparel, gracing such items as backpacks, canvas bags and more.

If you haven’t tried printing your own transfers or using them to customize garments, give it a shot.  You may find that it perfectly complements your current product offering.


Chris Pluck, business development director for Insta Graphic Systems, has been in the imprinted textile industry for more than 30 years. He has a background in screen printing and offset lithography technologies, and was instrumental in establishing inventive heat-fusible printing products and print application methods. For more information, 
visit instagraph.com.

How to Order Custom Heat Transfers


In an article recently published by Printwear, Chris Pluck gives us some tips on how to order custom heat transfers.

When ordering custom heat transfers for your shop, be sure to specify what the intended application of the transfer is. This will include fabric type, garment/product type, and the color of the garment or product.

Garment, product, and color all must be qualified because even though the garment is 100 percent cotton, not divulging the color information could lead to problems later.  What if you want the transfer to be used on different colors of the same fabric? What if the garment is black? In the case of dark colors, for example, the transfer may need a white underbase built in for opacity.

Another example of this is a polyester garment that has been overprinted with a camouflage graphic, like the image above. The dye used in the camouflage print will penetrate through screen-printed inks, especially white ink, and destroy the transfer-printed graphic color. This fabric detail is important for the printer to know to create the right type of transfer for your shop.

To remove the potential of the camouflage color migrating into the transfer, the addition of a dye-bleed blocker may be necessary. Even though this may add to the overall cost of the transfer, your transfer would otherwise be worthless.

Similarly, let your printer know if the fabric is stretchy or contains a great deal of Lycra, as the transfer needs to have stretch properties to work well on the garment.
Thus, the more information you can provide regarding the garment, product and color, the better your resulting custom transfer will be.

Chris Pluck, Insta’s Business Development Director, has been in the imprinting textile industry for over 30 years.  He has worked in Europe as well as the US, focused in screen printing and fusible transfer systems.

For more info on Insta’s products, visit us at www.instagraph.com or contact us at sales@instagraph.com.