Best Transferable paper for T- shirts
When looking into the business of creating unique, quality, and lasting prints for fabrics, there are several things to consider when looking for the best transferable paper for tee shirts. If you’ve chosen the transferable paper method, your inkjet printer and ink of choice are pretty simple items to check off the shopping list. Need a good inkjet printer for creating tee shirts? Check out our article here.
That’s because the secret to great printing is not in the printer, ink, or even the heat press (or Iron). It’s in the paper! The tricky part of buying the right paper is sifting through the many choices that all seem so similar. In a world full of options, how do you decide which paper is right for you?
If you’ve noticed a graphic tee that’s seen better days, it’s likely the image is dry and cracked, peeling, or faded.
To ensure the images you’re printing are going to outlive the wear and tear of daily life, washes, and more, you’ll need to find the best transferable paper to suit your needs. First thing’s first, the basics.
What is Transfer Paper ?
Transferable paper is a special type of paper that’s used to place images onto objects. It’s not exclusive to shirts, either! Images can be transferred to ceramics, cotton bags, hats, pillowcases, wood, and so much more! While it is easy to use and creates stunning images, it comes with a process and a shopping list.
The ink you use for this print method is at your discretion. The only printer it works with is an inkjet printer. Luckily, those are cheap if you know where to look. You’ll also need a heat press machine, which isn’t something you’ll see at the department store, but some online sleuthing can find you a deal. Next, you’ll need your paper which comes in light for light colored fabrics and dark for anything dark.
Note: Light paper and transferring in general works best on white fabrics. Depending on the image and the shade of lighter colors (i.e. pink, blue, cream, etc.), light paper can work just fine.
How to Choose a Transfer Paper
The first decision to make might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s imperative that you stock up on inkjet-compatible paper. Although this paper works best with certain printers, laser printer-compatible sheets are available. Your hunt will be more tasking, though.
The reason laser printers are less trustworthy is because the prints they give have a sort of film around the images. This requires more effort from you when cutting.
If you absolutely must continue with a laser printer, your best bet is to find paper that self-weeds to ensure the bond is secure.
For inkjet compatible papers, here is a list of attributes that you may seek depending on your needs:
Your paper has to adhere to the fabrics you intend to print on. Your focus should be on productivity, not how you are going to fix the piece that just peeled off with the press.
Customers appreciate when a purchase holds up, so durable paper is a must. Heat Transfer Vinyl is among the more durable papers and images last longer. If it’s not an option for you, any paper renowned for its durability will do the job.
Images will accurately reflect digital versions.
For businesses with multiple orders or short-term deadlines, time is money. Self-weeding paper can save you both if you don’t have the luxury of carefully trimming each sheet. For those with a laser printer, this paper is highly advisable as there’s no overprint, reducing the risk of images having residue.
Remember, the best transferable paper is in the eye of the beholder. Whatever suits your needs or those of your customers is not the same for everyone. Our goal is to offer simple descriptions of what certain products have to offer. It is completely at your discretion which is best.
The pros and cons of transferable paper have much to do with the paper itself as well as the process of using it. To recap the advantages, it’s convenient since there is no specific ink or heat press required and you don’t have to invest a fortune into a giant machine as you would with other methods.
The paper is applicable to many items so you aren’t as limited to what can be personalized. There is no specific ink or heat press required, and you’re able to create full-color prints. Those features allow you to save money on products without sacrificing quality.
Chances are, you’ve already looked into the process and decided it’s for you because it’s simple yet effective.
However, there are some setbacks that should be considered, especially when dealing with the paper itself. This product can only be used with an inkjet printer which makes for more investment upfront if you don’t already own one. It’s also a slower process.
You have to be willing to put in the work since the machine isn’t programmable to do a number of items automatically. The refined appearance of images really does depend on the paper, making it somewhat of a disadvantage for those who don’t know what to look for.
That being said, we’re here to help you sort through some different products and make an informed decision through detailed summaries.
Avery T-Shirt Transfers for Inkjet
- Versatile and Transferable
Applicable to most heat-proof materials, and available in light and dark.
Easy to use with a professional, highly opaque finish. Colors stay true to digital version.
Easy to find and easy to use.
Color-shield technology protects colors from wear and washes to keep original brilliance.
- Recommended on 100% cotton or polycotton blend fabrics
- Limited sizes of 11″X9.9″ or 8.5″X11″ and packs of 18 sheets
IRON ON HEAT TRANSFER PAPER JET OPAQUE II 8.5 x 11
- Standard Transferability
Commercial-grade 8.5″X11″ sheets available in light and dark, and sized appropriately for standard printers. Hot peel transfers and 30 second application make for quick, wrinkle-free, easy production.
- Standard Opacity
Works well on all colors, even bringing out the lively details on white fabric!
- High Durability
Coated finish that feels plasticky to the touch protects vibrant images for longer.
- Compatible with Silhouette and other e-cutting tools.
- Limited to cotton, polycotton, and leather fabrics. Some selections include synthetics, though.
- Use tightly woven fabrics only.
- Requires a lot of pressure and easier to adhere with a press rather than an iron.
- Coated prints from dark paper may feel heavy since it includes a white layer to compensate for lack of white ink.
Jetpro Soft Stretch Inkjet Transfer Paper Lights 8.5″ x 11″
- This inkjet-friendly paper that can be applied to cotton, cotton blends, and synthetic fabrics. It is commercial-grade, but comes with instructions for easy use with presses or irons.
- Durable Finish
Coated layer on images last through wear and washes.
- Dependent Opacity
Brighter colored images show better than softer ones on this paper.
- Light fabrics only.
- Needs 25-30 seconds of pressed heat which may not be accomplished with a regular iron. It’s recommended to leave the press for a few more seconds to ensure a true bond.
- Heavy coating may make the product feel stiff for the first wash or so.
While the ultimate decision rests in your hands, my personal winner is the Avery brand papers. This is based on the fact that its reviews have significantly lesser amounts of bad news as you can see by the summary. It’s also much more available in the general population. That saves time if you’d rather buy from a crafts store and not wait for deliveries.
Many products boast longevity and durability as they offer a protective layer on the paper to keep washes from destroying the images too quickly. The important thing to remember when choosing a product of any kind is that it needs to conform to what you require. If you’d like more protection, a thicker film is going to suit you.
If you’re looking for color pop, get something that does well with details. Either way, your options are nearly endless! Our review summaries are conducted with thorough research and a lot of sorting to get you the most information possible. You can always trust our reviews because we are in the business ourselves.
Want to know about some other tee shirt printing methods you can do at home?
Doug has been an entrepreneur for years, starting several businesses. Doug is a web developer, father of 2 great kids and husband to the best wife ever. I’ve been working on building my custom tee shirt business for 3 years.