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How do white toner printers create their designs?

Answer

When toner transfers first came into the market, they weren’t a good fit for everyone. They only worked well on white or light-colored garments.

These CMYK toner printers could produce beautiful colors, but the lack of white toner stopped a lot of businesses from investing. Years later, the first white toner printers were available. This new technology caused a surge in the toner transfer market, and finally, decorators could print transfers for both light and dark garments that looked amazing.

A common question that remains is how do these printers work? Or what is the process to produce a garment with a white toner printer?

The white toner transfer system works with most textiles like polo shirts, hoodies, hats, jeans, jackets, cotton, polyester, and blends. The instructions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but here's how some systems work.

Basic steps

Step 1: Create images/text in graphics software (GIMP, Corel, Adobe, or via freelancer)

The cool thing about white toner printers is that they can use artwork in multiple different formats. You don't have to learn any unique production methods to produce beautiful full-color designs.

Step 2: Print the design on the first transfer sheet

This transfer sheet is also called the 'A sheet.' It’s best to use the recommended papers for your system. This process allows the colors to lay down just as well as the white toner, which helps the colors stand out on dark garments.

Step 3: Add the adhesive layer to the entire transfer with a heat press

Once the design is printed, and the white toner is applied to the image, the next step is to add adhesive to the image areas so the design will adequately adhere to the shirt. You’ll do this by joining or marrying the two papers together and then heat pressing the adhesive or 'B paper' onto the print. The adhesive will attach to the areas that have toner and will not adhere to the transfer sheet itself. At this point, you can store up your transfers for later use, or sell them as is.

Step 4: Heat apply the completed transfer to your garment

The beauty of white toner transfers is that you can get multiple smaller designs on one sheet. You can store your printed designs for later use.  You can use the same transfer setup for various garments, and you don’t need a custom jig for each placement on your garments.  

Depending on the system, decorators can use the same paper for polyester shirts, polos, and cotton T-shirts. Ideally, they'll have one paper that works for various types of garments and nearly every kind of print.  Additional options and accessories are available for productivity and specific finishes, but generally speaking, its one printer and one paper for almost any garment or hard good.

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