Keeping Your Inks From Bleeding Is Easy And Here's How
When creating custom printed inkjet transfers there are a number of variables you'll need to control in order to achieve the best results. The proceeding information will help you understand these variables, thereby reducing your need for trial and error.
1 - It's critical that you are using a high quality inkjet paper. Our "TransferJet" inkjet transfer paper is such quality. We have tested many others, some made by the largest mills and yet their transfers do not hold the inks as well (they bleed out) and the blacks do not remain as black after the first wash.
2 - The factory inks your printer came with are not engineered for transfer printing. While some will not bleed as easily as others it's critical that you use inks that are engineered and intended for transfer printing. Our "ArmurInks" are engineered specifically for such purpose.
3 - Set your image resolution to no more than 200 DPI. See below for more details on this topic.
4 - Make one shirt and wash it by itself before producing a larger amount. This will help you from making costly mistakes and will allow you to take corrective action before you make a quantity of shirts. When the instructions are followed you will get excellent results!
5 - Use cotton/polyester (blend) shirts. You can use "TransferJet" on 100% cotton or 50/50 cotton-polyester, the print results are the same. However, 100% cotton tends to fray (prematurely) in the wash and cotton/poly is more durable for this type of transfer printing technology and bonds much better to the fibers.
Other Important Information
For garment application we recommend increasing the pressing time.
The transfer coating and inks will penetrate deeper into the fabric fibers.
For optimum results we recommend 15 to 30 seconds at 350-360F.
The longer the time the lower the temperature.
The printers paper setting should be set to plain paper! Photo Paper or matte coated settings will cause more ink to be laid down and can cause the inks to bleed.
Why is limiting or controlling image resolution so important?
For inkjet printers: the resolution or Dots Per Inch (DPI) of your image determines the amount of ink the printer will print to your transfer. Printing images on textiles like t-shirts, mouse pads, tote bags, or caps with resolutions higher than 200 dpi will not look any better than higher resolutions. It will only cost you more in inks, take longer to print and can cause the inks to bleed. Textiles such as t-shirts, mouse pads, tote bags, caps, etc will not show a benefit from more than 200 DPI (Dots/pixels Per Inch).
For laser/CLC printers The same holds true. If you lay down too much toner, the toner tends to flake off the transfer paper. Printing at a resolution above 200 DPI will only cost more in toner, take longer to print, cause the toner to flake and can create washability issues.
Is 150 or 200 DPI enough information to capture all my details and image characteristics?
YES! First keep in mind your are ultimately printing onto a fabric. Fabric does not display or hold more than about 200 DPI. When you apply your heat transfer to a shirt or mouse pad, the inks spread and absorb. This is why a lower resolution file does not affect your image quality as much as it would if you're printing on paper. You will not see any noticeable difference once applied to the fabric.
Why can't I set the image resolution in my printer control driver panel?
Printers do not have the ability to set the exact DPI. Typically printers have selections such as Draft, Text and Photo Quality. Even when set at the lowest quality or Draft, this is still above 360 DPI.
Paper Printing vs. Transfer Printing Keep in mind printers are designed to print on paper. Paper holds much more resolution (DPI) than what's needed for heat transfer printing and because these transfers ultimately end up on a fabric surface the resolution should not exceed 200 DPI.
What software will allow me to control image resolution?
Photo/Image Editing Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements (which comes with some Epson printers) allows you to set the DPI of your image before you print, as well as other image enhancing features.
If your program does not have the ability to set the DPI of your image, you can use the program below. InkSaver 2.0 is an inexpensive but an amazing program that will save you big money on your ink costs and will help to control your inks from bleeding.