4 Reasons Why Screen Printed Transfers Are Our Favorite Heat Transfer

When it comes to heat transfers, there’s a range of different types of transfers available for garment decorators to choose from. All have different pros and cons and choosing the best one for the artwork and type of job you’re printing requires some knowledge on what the benefits are with each printing method.

Some heat transfers are cut out of material like vinyl, others are printed on computer printers like inkjet heat transfers, among others. Then there are ink transfers such as those printed by Transfer Express, screen printed transfers. Screen printed transfers have many advantages over their counterparts and here’s why we think screen printed transfers reign supreme over other heat transfer methods.


We love screen printed transfers because they can offer the ability to print multiple colors on one transfer sheet, for one application. Very little labor is involved at the heat press. As opposed to other heat transfer methods where colors are cut separately from each other and need to be aligned together in separate application steps, a screen printed transfer prints all colors needed on the same transfer sheet so no additional work is done during heat printing. Whether your design is two colors or full color, a screen printed heat transfer has all colors ready on one sheet.


Since screen printed transfers are printed on a release paper, a single sheet that is 11.25″x14″ can allow space for several designs on the paper. We call this a “gang sheet“. Like in the image above, a transfer sheet on the right has several designs on the sheet that can decorate a shirt, pants, shorts, uniforms, bags etc. With other decorating methods, each design must individually be set-up, cut out of material in separate colors, weeded, and applied onto the apparel. With a screen printed transfer, the designs come printed on the transfer sheet and all you need to do is cut them apart before application. Simple as that!


When designing heat transfers, a decorator must pay attention to the small detail involved with the artwork and the relationship to the type of heat transfer method being printed. Most printing methods have artwork requirements including the thickness of lines being printed or cut out of material, and also the void spaces or show-through areas that are open to the shirt underneath. In the case of small text, an ink transfer can print fine detail, like in the case with lists of names, typeset names on a family reunion shirt, or handwritten signatures. Other printing methods don’t have the ability to print or cut this fine detail or would require extra labor time to weed around each individual word. This is why screen printed transfers are best for small detail like text.



As with the previous reason why screen printed transfers are amazing, the ability to print detailed designs, like text, is also why these plastisol ink transfers can print distressed looks and detailed graphics like the distressed background patterns in the images above. Any open area you see as the shirt color, is the actual shirt showing through, making for a very soft print. Some transfer types like inkjet transfers are printed on a sheet of adhesive or other material and the apparel decorator needs to cut the image around the outside, but you may still feel adhesive in the areas that are the shirt color. Other heat transfer types that are cut out of material would require the material to be weeded away from the void areas, and in the case of distress or detailed art, it just isn’t possible or might take additional labor time. Just one more reason screen printed transfers are on the top of our list!

What other reasons are screen printed transfers your favorite type of heat transfer?