Cold Peel Transfers
Cold peel transfers are a great way to reduce inventory & expand your offerings! Below are a few pros and cons of cold peel transfers as well as a basic overview of the process.
Benefits of Cold Peel Screen Transfers
- Don’t need to keep inventory of printed garments – because you are printing your design onto paper, you don’t need to worry about keeping an inventory of printed t-shirts ready to sell. When a customer decides on what they want, you can transfer the design directly onto the garment of their choosing.
- Easy to make detailed tag prints – Cold Peel transfers transfer all of the ink that you printed onto the garment, so you can print with a 255 mesh screen and get a full transfer onto your garment. This makes it easy for you to make custom clothing labels without investing in tag printing equipment.
- Easy to do – the process for making one-color, cold peel transfers is just putting your design in reverse on the screen, printing directly onto transfer paper, sprinkling transfer powder onto the design, shaking it off, and drying it. More on this later.
- Expand your Offerings – Cold peel transfers make it very easy to transfer not only onto tags, but also hats, jerseys, and other garments that present challenges when printing direct.
- The Transfer Look – Cold peel transfers, as our International Coatings representative says, looks like the old Farrah Fawcett transfers. They feel stiffer than direct prints and have a glossy appearance. Some customers may want the look though – if you are doing tone-on-tone designs, a glossy black on a black t-shirt would be a great effect.
- Added time – you are essentially doing the printing process twice. First you are going to print onto the paper, and then you are going to press the design onto your garment. It is less efficient than direct printing. Also, you have to wait until the transfer and garment have cooled before peeling away the paper.
Printing screen transfers is easy. All you need is your regular screen printing setup, maybe a vacuum pallet if you want to be most efficient, transfer paper, and transfer powder. Set up your dryer to about 300 degrees and run the paper through the dryer to pre-shrink it.
Burn your screen in reverse so that the image prints backwards and set it up on your press. If you are doing a one color design, print the design, sprinkle powder onto the wet ink and then shake off the excess. Run the print down the dryer – if your temperature is right the powder should look like melted sugar.
If you are printing multiple colors, make sure you are using the right paper. While T75 paper works well for one-color prints, you will want T105 for a cold peel, multicolor transfer. Multi-color jobs are printed in reverse, so the top color should be printed first, and the base color should be printed last. After each color you print, run the paper down the dryer. Before you dry the last color, sprinkle the wet ink with transfer adhesive, shake off the excess, and run down the dryer.
Because you are drying each layer of ink, using a vacuum table will improve your registration quality versus using a regular platen.
When you are ready to transfer, set your heat press to 350 degrees, medium pressure, at 15 seconds. Press the transfer onto your garment and then let it cool. Once cooled, peel the transfer paper off – all of the ink will transfer over.
Fortunately, both transfer paper manufacturers as well as ink manufacturers have guides on how to use their products for transfers. International Coatings inks & adhesive powders work very well, and we sell Arjo Wiggins transfer papers.