Today, I will show you the best way to learn how to make screen print transfers. Maybe you have thought of many images and drawings that you want to transfer to t-shirts, glasses, paper, or any object you want.
In this case, we will use the technique to print on fabric.
For that, we will use a special ingredient called “plastisol”, which is a mixture of a resin (PVC), a plasticizer and other additives that are liquid at room temperature and are used as ink for textile screen printing.
It also leaves a very shiny and beautiful finish on your designs.
This method of printing is applied on paper (instead of printing the ink directly on the fabric), then cured with the adhesive substance and finally transferred with an iron on the garment.
The printing process is similar to any other paper printing process, and as such a vacuum table printing machine should be used.
How to make screen print transfers with plastisol (2023)
Follow me step by step!
There is not a single way of how to make screen print transfers with plastisol, but several. The one we will see here will be the cold way (and the best way, in my opinion).
Also to keep in mind that plastisol works as a water base, gel type, from which we can print 100% cotton (it can also be with 50/50).
Do not try to use it on 100% polyester, because that will migrate the ink, that is to say, the composition of the fabric will completely absorb the ink and it will not be the effect you want.
Another detail is that this type of ink is only applicable in fabrics, you cannot use it on other materials such as paper, glass, etc.
In case you see that the plastisol texture is too hard, you should use a conditioner or thinner to soften it (but try not to overdo it, because if it is too soft, it will stain your garment because it will pass too much ink).
Specifically, the advantage of using these plastisol inks is that they will never dry, and that is thanks to their plastic base, an effect that does not happen with water-based inks and that is why I do not recommend using them for screen print, as well as chart inks since they have a limit of use.
Step by step of plastisol transfer on a t-shirt.
- Step 1:
We will use 1 normal sheet for the plastisol transfer. The size of the sheet will depend on the drawing you want to print.
- Step 2:
We iron 10 to 15 seconds the normal sheet to a heat press, programmed to 180ºC approximately ( this will take out all the moisture). Then carefully remove it from the press and let it cool.
- Step 3:
Place the sheet on a rubber-lined table. The important fact is that on the table should be a Teflon paper the size of the sheet because this type of material withstands heat and so you can use a dryer (if you have an industrial one would be much better, as it will heat more and will make the process faster), then place the sheet and put duct tape on each of the tips, so it does not move and is fixed.
- Step 4:
Place your print-ready drawing on your mesh and then place it on the sheet of paper fixed on the table.
I leave you 15 inspiring examples of screen printing so you have an idea of what designs you can print on your shirt!
You already know that you have to put it in mirror mode so that it comes out on the right side (for example, if you want your design to be seen from right to left, you place it inverted, that is to say from left to right), cover it all with the plastisol of the color you chose and make two to three passes.
You need to use a spatula or something rectangular to apply the paint evenly.
- Step 5:
Dry the entire design and then place the transfer resin or polyamide powder (put it all over the drawing), then shake everything until there is no excess powder left and dry it.
Once dry, place it on the shirt and then iron it for a few seconds. Then place it on the table and pass a cotton cloth over the paper, so that the whole drawing adheres.
Before peeling it off, try to have rubbed it all over the design, so it sticks perfectly.
- Step 6:
Carefully remove the paper from the garment to leave the print on it.
Cold peel transfers produce prints that are generally flexible and resistant to washing but, as with all plastisol prints, they are not resistant to ironing, so be careful with that.
And that’s it, you know how to make screen print transfers!
To see the complete tutorial you can watch this video about Printing a two color heat transfer sheet:
If you want to do it with several colors, you can repeat the same process with each color.
In printing stores they usually use an “octopus”, with several meshes of different colors to make screen print transfers printer at the same time.
The interesting thing about this type of method is that mechanically and practically you only have to put on and take off the paper.
Obviously, you can make several t-shirts in a short time with this form of screen print transfer printer, but the fun is to do it yourself and be inspired by the results.
I hope this article has helped you, surely if you are reading this; you already have some experience in screen print transfer, so you can deploy all your creativity on the garments you want.
Remember also that ink stains, so try to work with gloves and on a surface that is suitable for this type of work.
Enjoy knowing how to make screen print transfers yourself!
I would like to tell you a much easier technique of how to sublimate on cotton by clicking here.
Happy crafts! 😀