screen-printed heat transfers

What to Know Before Using Screen-Printed Transfers

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.

Zach Ellsworth has been working in heat print technology for the past 20 years. Zach is currently serving as the director of fulfillment technology at GroupeSTAHL, where he’s focused on making it even easier for businesses to implement heat print technology at scale.

Many decorators use screen-printed transfers as a top choice for fulfilling any order. With quick turn times available from transfer manufacturers, it's feasible that a decorator can submit artwork one day and be printing the next. The simplicity of the process, coupled with the limited space that a heat press consumes, makes heat transfer technology a countertop profit center.

When you consider screen-printed transfers for your business, there are a few key things to know.


There are many different ink formulas on the market, and not all transfers are created equal. Be sure to experiment with different methods such as plastisol, water-based, performance, soft hand, and effects.


Screen-printed transfers are just that: screen printed. So, you will need to have a certain quantity of prints planned to make them profitable. For instance, 12 pieces of the same logo is a good starting point for most companies, but they become most affordable as quantity goes up.


Screen-printed transfers can only go as far as your heat press will take them. The ability to print where screen printing can't go is one advantage of heat printing. Consider printing areas such as cuffs, collars, over the seam, and the like. Get creative and ensure that you have the right attachment for the job. Accessories are often available for your heat press that can not only make printing transfers easy but also efficient.


Screen-printed transfers have rules too. Like any other transfer, there are specific melting points for each type. Be considerate of the garment you intend to decorate with the prints and ensure the transfer settings will not scorch the blank. If planning to print on T-shirts, bags, and performance wear with the same transfer, then go with a low temperature, performance wear formula.