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Troubleshooting Heat Transfer Problems

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When you print garments with screen print transfers there are a few common problems that occur from time to time, and it is important to know what to do when they happen.  




Kraft paper is your best friend when printing.  Kraft paper is primarily used to press a transfer for a second time to give you peace of mind that the print has cured.  Kraft paper lasts for hundreds of prints, but should be thrown away when it starts to darken or begins to crease. 



One problem that can occur when you use older and/or darkened Kraft (or parchment) paper is a dulling of the print.  Kraft paper typically lasts hundreds of presses, but printing on dark shirts can darken the paper, which in turn causes the future prints to appear dull. Parchment paper will yellow and become wrinkled over time, and should be thrown away to avoid damaging a print.




Parchment paper is primarily used for sealing glitter and metallic transfers after they have been printed.  Once you print a glitter or metallic transfer, peel the transfer paper off and place parchment over the print.  Press again for half of the original press time. When using parchment paper to seal a glitter or metallic design, each sheet should be thrown away after just one use. 


Although screen print transfers are easy to apply, you will run into some problems from time to time. The three most common problems that you will encounter when printing are poor opacity, poor adhesion, or poor release.  All these issues can be corrected by making small adjustments to the heat press variables: time, temperature, and pressure. 


Poor opacity most often happens when printing with white ink onto dark or red shirts. To achieve a more opaque print try decreasing the pressure and/or time. This should allow the white to appear much brighter. 


Adhesion problems typically occur when there is not enough of one or more of the variables.  First, try increasing the pressure. If that does not work, then try increasing the press time by just a few seconds.  If you still are having problems, then increase the heat by 5 degrees. 


A poor transfer release occurs when there is too much pressure or heat, and some ink sticks to the transfer paper.  This can also cause poor opacity. For a better release, try decreasing the pressure first, and if that does not help, then decrease the heat as well. 


The last thing to watch out for is pressing charcoal and some gold-colored shirts.  For some reason, when pressing onto these colors, the print can bleed through to the other side of the garment.  To avoid this problem, thread the garment before pressing rather than laying it onto the platen. 


It is a great idea to test old or sample transfers with sample garments that are made up of the same materials and color.  With a little bit of practice, you will rarely run into any problems pressing shirts with our screen print transfers. If you have any other questions, then please visit our FAQ page, send us an email, or give us a call. 

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