Nowadays, there are various ways on how we can customize textiles, especially shirts, on method is using transfer papers. Now, transfer papers can be classified in to two types, the light transfer paper and the dark transfer paper. Light transfer paper is basically used for light colored shirts, mainly white ones, or surfaces with light or pale colors. Both are papers in which you can print your design on the paper surface through an inkjet printer. And we have the dark transfer paper which is used to print on any fabric or surfaces with dark colors or isn’t white. And the differences don’t stop on the colors of the surface alone. It also has something to do on how it is used and places on the textile surface.
With light transfer papers you print the image, in reverse or mirrored, then putting the transfer after having the printed side on your shirt, with your image facing down directly in it and the back part of the backing sheet is facing your direction. After having positioned it you then apply pressure through your heat press. After is cools down, you carefully remove the backing sheet and now you have your image imprinted on your shirt.
On the other hand, when using a dark transfer paper, the image is now printed on the positive side, simply put; you print your image like you would normally do. As it is; the design. After having printed the image, the coating that comes with the paper will be peeled off and it’s placed directly on the surface where you want it imprinted, your design should be facing you, as you set it on your heat press, with the parchment paper sheet over it. After setting it down on your press and it has cooled a bit, you remove it and that is now how you do imprints using the dark transfer paper.
However some people who are using transfer papers are not that careful when using this process. They commit errors which should be avoided if you plan on using these special papers. Some print in the reverse side of the dark transfer paper and then would try to press it on the garment as you would do for light transfer paper. There’s reason why they’re differentiated so one thing that works for the specific type of material would not work for the other. Because the backing sheet, will be left stuck in your print. Even if you did manage to remove it, the image would be covered the coatings, because what you are doing is that you are pressing the inked side against the garment, leaving the opaque side seen, and not being pushed on the fabric.
Another problem is that some people forget to use parchment paper sheets which causes to melt the sheet on the heat press, leaving sticky residue that makes pressing hard and can potentially ruin the machine.
So overall, the gist of things is that, dark transfer papers are used on dark colored fabrics, example would be are the obvious black, navy or dark blues, deep reds, basically anything where you need the design to look as vibrant as possible, showing rich colors. But if you left out white borders on your design, you would have to be reminded that it will be very visible on the garment, and if that’s not the look that you are going for, you have to cut as closely as possible to your design. So, this method is best to do on blocky and stocky designs, basically those designs without many elements and are simplified.
And white transfer paper is highly recommended for white shirts, and really pale colored garments, and you can print on it designs with a bit more detailed since the opaque white borders will quite blend in with the whiteness of the shirt. Also the processes involved in using these methods are that it will be cost efficient in the long run because you don’t need special printers for this, just an Epson inkjet paper and you’re good to go! Also inkjet-type printers can be converted to CISS type so they can cater to different inks as well for your usage.
Now there you have it, a rundown of how to use these two types of transfer papers. So consider your design and the colors of the medium that you would be printing in to, before making your decision!