Decorating Thin Fabrics with Plastisol Transfers

Thinner fabrics have made their way into the decorating industry with descriptions like sheer, lightweight, tissue tees and burn-out. If you are unfamiliar with the term “burn-out” we’ll take a second to explain. The t shirts with the description “burn-out” occurs with cotton/polyester fabrics that are treated with a chemical that actually burns one of the fibers. It leaves the other fabric fibers opaque. This creates a vintage/worn look that is very popular these days.

 These types of thin fabrics can be decorated with screen printed transfers just like everyday t shirts can. Hot Split plastisol transfers will provide the softest hand that works great with softer, thin fabrics. All other ink formulas will also apply to these fabrics.

With very thin t shirts however, it is important to separate the front and backside of the shirt or you may run into the two sides sticking together. The pressure we apply to the transfer and garment with our heat press may push the ink through the thin fabric to the other side. There are two ways that this can be prevented:

 1)      “Dress” the bottom platen. Split open the front and back of the shirt at the bottom and the bottom platen goes in between. Just like you would dress a child. Check out our blog entry about “Dressing/Threading a Garment“.

2)      Use a reusable cover sheet or Kraft paper to place in between the front and back of the shirt. These sheets prevent any ink from sticking to them.

 As always, it is important to test the materials you are using to make sure you understand how the materials will behave during application.