All that glitters is gold

All That Glitters is Gold

Josh Ellsworth

Josh is the VP of sales, dealer channel for Stahls'. He deals in the sales and implementation of heat-applied, apparel-decorating systems with a focus on customization. He holds skills in the production, sale, and marketing of customized apparel. He presents seminars at trade shows and contributes articles to trade publications, like Printwear magazine.

I wrote last month about turning ordinary graphics into extraordinary works of art. We referenced the looks displayed at the London Olympic Games and how design is being fueled by a range of glamorous materials such as glitter, foil and rhinestones. Pretty much, all that glimmers is gold.

Now it’s time to address glitter. The demand and potential applications for high-fashion glitter heat transfers are everywhere. This can’t really be debated as every shop I speak to raves about the product, reporting growing sales and more referrals as a result of using it. Further, this look is heralded by many shops to be growing in popularity over rhinestones due to its efficient production; specifically, that more garments can be completed per hour.

Glitter transfers come in a few varieties. The most popular and the one referenced here is a true glitter flake heat transfer material that can be cut on a vinyl cutter. The potential applications and fill effects expand as far as your imagination can take you. Here, we will review four top selling applications with some how-to tips for executing on each one.

Spirit packs

Decorating a coordinated kit helps to grow sales. When merchandising in store, on the web or for sales samples; showing coordinated outfits and having a price point for the grouping can drastically increase the amount for the order. The photos below show the versatility of glitter materials in that they can apply to just about any item (so long as you have the right heat press to accommodate them).

It’s interesting to note that the yoga pants in this photo feature a design that is larger than the traditional heat press size at 24" long. Most glitter materials, specifically cold peel materials, allow users to break up the application into sections. For application, simply move the pants across the platen with each section. As always, ensure that each area receives the proper time, temperature and pressure. If a small portion of the application gets double time, it’s not that big of a deal, as the adhesive melts and cures all over again.

Fan jerseys

While flipping through the pages of this magazine and looking through the Printwear archives, it’s inevitable that fan jerseys will appear from multiple wholesale apparel suppliers. The reason is quite simple: they are in demand and selling. But the question is, why would a fan want to be like everyone else and have a flat graphic on their shirt? While price may be a consideration, most want to stand out in the stands.

The glitter design pictured at right helps to execute that vision by displaying a large amount of glitter fill and by incorporating two colors. The glitter transfer material, much like other bling applications, should not be layered directly onto itself for best durability. There are ways to get around this layering hurdle while delivering a two-color look.

This garment showcases one way by simply inlaying the text and trimming away the contour edge from the background “M”. This jersey can also be personalized with a name and number on back. The very nature of the heat transfer film process makes it ideal for personalization and makes variable data cost-effective.

Enhance digital printing

Most decorators have a variety of production processes within their shop. However, most don’t necessarily think to combine them on a single garment. With glitter transfer material, it’s quite simple to enhance a digitl direct print, screen print or screen printed transfer design.

Creating this sort of dimension and applying a treatment to a logo or custom design will separate your business in the bidding process and move away from a situation where price is always the deciding factor. As an added bonus, the pictured garment was dip-dyed for a unique tye-dye effect.

Maximum sparkle

While glitter heat transfer material is not recommended for layering, there are options to “butt-register” other colors against the media for a full sparkle result. Screen printers are aware of how to use a trapping technique in design; it also works when designing for transfer production.

Note here that heat transfer materials have a tendency to shrink slightly under the heat press, so it’s important to execute the initial pressing layers for only a few seconds, and then finish off the print with the final color for the full time, temperature and pressure.

Keep experimenting and creating with glitter transfers so you can showcase samples to customers and grow sales. Try some of these best-use applications and explore high-profit scenarios that benefit the bottom line.