Screen Printed transfers and DTF (Direct-to-Film) transfers are both popular methods to apply designs onto various fabrics, but they differ in terms of the making process, application purpose and pricing.
Since DTF has grown in popularity in recent years, this short read will look into why Screen Printed Transfers might still be the right option for your printing business!
Screen Printed Transfers
Screen printed transfers are often used for printing medium to large quantities or single-color designs. Screen printing is older than Direct-To-Film, has proven itself throughout the years and results in higher-quality prints in many use cases. This type of transfer is also gaining popularity amongst screen printing shops to save time, money and space while maintaining print quality.
Screen printed transfers are made using the same method as traditional screen printing and Ton Atelier uses high-quality plastisol inks. Each color is printed through a screen mesh. However, instead of printing directly on the garment, it is printed on transfer sheets which can then be applied to garments.
- 🎯 Color accuracy. Because each ink is mixed based on a pigmented formula, screen printed transfers offer the highest color accuracy in terms of Pantone colors. If your customer needs a specific yellow, you should look into this type of transfer.
- ⬜ Brighter whites. Plastisol ink is brighter than DTF ink. This is why white screen printed transfers appear to be brighter than DTF.
- ☁️ Softness. Screen Printed Transfers are much softer to the hand feel. It’s an especially popular choice for decorating t-shirts during the summer period!
- 🤑 Cost. You save money on longer runs. Since the initial setup fee is high and demands extra labour, screen printed transfers are less cost-efficient for smaller jobs. However, for longer runs it is more economical to order plastisol transfers.
- 🔨 Durability. The durability of screen printed transfers has been tested throughout the years. It has been on the market since the ’70s!
- ✨ Special Effects. With screen printed transfers, it is possible to create puff prints, metallic prints, and shimmer prints!
- ✅ High-quality results. Using screen printed transfers offers you the highest quality print. Your transfers are printed on equipment costing 100k+ dollars!
- Setup cost. As mentioned previously, the initial cost for small runs is affected by setup fees. Ordering less than 20 sheets may be more expensive.
- Colors limitation. Since each color is printed separately, we limit our transfers to 6 spot colors per sheet.
- Size limitations. Since screen printed transfers are printed on flat bed printers, they cannot print extra-large gang sheets. Our transfers are limited to a maximum size of 12″ x 16″.
- Longer production time. Screen print transfers require more time before shipping out. Ton Atelier’s currently has production times of 4-5 business days, but we work hard on keeping it as low as possible!
When should I use Screen Printed Transfers?
- Save time. If you are a screen printing shop, you know how long it takes before printing the first t-shirt. From color separation, to film output, to ink mixing, screen making, registration and so on. Our customers tell us that they save over two hours daily using our screen printed transfers to fulfill their orders.
- Repeat orders. Repeat orders that require the setup of screens can be exhausting. Especially when it’s small batches. Screen printed transfers allow you to be ready whenever your customers re-order.
- Print on fleece. Printing on fleece can be very challenging and can create imperfect output. Using transfers, you will get the softest and highest quality print result on hoodies and crewnecks.
- More colors. When we start screen printing, we mostly get a 4 color carousel. However, it gets outgrown pretty fast. If your job order requires more color than what your press can print, look into transfers instead of turning down orders!
To sum it up, Screen Printed Transfers still play a big role in the printing industry and aren’t going anywhere. It brings out vibrant colors and a soft feel. They’re awesome for big orders, special print effects, and when you want your colors to pop. But, just like any hero, they have their quirks— they might cost more for small jobs and have some size limits. Yet, when you need to save time, handle repeat orders, or make specific fabrics like hoodies look amazing, screen printed transfers are your go-to sidekick in the world of printing.
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