Your Guide To Printing T-shirt Transfers

Your Guide To Printing T-shirt Transfers

Looking to create your own custom t-shirt transfers for your T-shirt business? If so, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about creating your own t-shirt transfers. We’ll start with the basics, such as what supplies you’ll need, and then move on to more advanced topics, such as how to create a design online and apply it to a shirt.

What Are T-shirt Transfers?

A tshirt on a wooden surface

Before we get into how to make them, let’s first answer the question: what are t-shirt transfers? T-shirt transfers are simply images that can be printed on some kind of heat transfer paper and then ironed or heat-pressed onto a shirt. They are a great way to add custom graphics or text to a shirt, and they can be used on both dark and light-colored fabrics.

Types Of Heat Transfers

There are several types of print transfers available. Your options include heat transfer vinyl (or HTV for short), sublimation transfers, rhinestone transfers, and screen printed transfers. Each one excels in different ways. Below, we briefly cover how each type works.

Direct-to-film transfers (DTF)

Direct-to-film Transfers (DTF) are a type of heat transfer that involves printing your design directly onto the film instead of onto transfer paper. This type of transfer is becoming increasingly popular because it results in a high-quality print and can be used on any color fabric, including 100% cotton.

Sublimation Transfers

A model posing for a shoot

Sublimation involves a dye that turns into a gas when heated. This gas permeates the fibers of the shirt and permanently dyes them. As such, sublimation is limited to polyester or polymer-coated shirts. It also requires a special printer type, ink, and transfer paper. The advantage of sublimation is that it results in a very high-quality print that won’t fade, crack, or peel over time. The drawback is you are very limited in terms of fabric and will only work on white or light color shirts.

Rhinestone Transfers

Rhinestone transfers are exactly what they sound like—transfers made with rhinestones instead of ink or vinyl. They add a touch of bling to any design and can be used on any color shirt. However, they are more time-consuming and expensive to create than other types of transfers.

Inkjet Transfers

Inkjet transfers use regular inkjet printer ink and transfer paper. The advantage of this type of transfer is that it can be used with any type of shirt, including 100% cotton. However, the disadvantage is that the print quality is not as high, and the image may fade, crack, or peel over time, especially if it is frequently washed.

LaserJet Transfers

Laserjet transfers are similar to inkjet transfers, but they use laser printer ink and transfer paper. The advantage of this type of transfer is that it has a higher print quality than inkjet transfers. However, like inkjet transfers, laser jet prints may fade, crack, or peel over time if they are frequently washed.

Screen Printed Transfers

Screen printing is carried out by printing ink directly onto transfer papers via screens. This process produces one of the most durable types of transfer and can be used on any color shirt. However, they require a bit more work to create than other types of transfers.

Heat Transfer Vinyl Transfers

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a type of vinyl that can be cut with a cutting machine and then pressed onto a shirt using heat. HTV comes in a variety of colors, finishes, and thicknesses. It’s also the most popular type of transfer because it’s relatively easy to use and results in a high-quality print.

Drawbacks Of Other Heat Transfers Compared To DTF Transfer (Direct to film transfer)

A model posing for a shoot


Other types of heat transfers can be quite a hassle to set up and apply. Compared to DTF transfers, other types of heat transfers require you to use hoops or frames, which can be time-consuming and difficult to manage. Plus, when using hoop transfer methods, there is always a risk of the fabric slipping, which can lead to misprints.

DTF transfers are faster and easier to make than other types of transfers. With a standard heat press, you can have a full-color image on your shirt in just minutes, which makes it the ideal choice for quick projects compared to screen printing or sublimation.


Other types of transfers also tend to have lower-quality prints compared to DTF transfers, as they often use laser or inkjet printers instead of direct printing processes. This can lead to prints that are less vibrant and fade over time.


The image quality and vibrancy may be lower, but their durability is the biggest drawback of other types of heat transfers. Unlike DTF transfers, these types of transfers will fade, crack or peel over time, which means that you’ll have to replace them more often. DTF prints are extremely sharp, even on dark fabrics, and the image won’t fade, crack or peel over time.


Other types of heat transfers are also more expensive regarding materials and equipment since they require extra supplies like frames or hoops. This makes them much less economical than DTF transfers which only require the transfer paper and a heat press.

Since the process of DTF transfer is relatively straightforward and doesn’t require extra materials, there’s no need to invest in costly equipment or supplies like you would with other types of transfers. This helps keep costs down, making it a great option for those on a budget.

Wide range of applications:

Other types of transfers may not be suitable for all fabrics or colors. This means you’ll have to be more selective when choosing the right type of transfer for your project. Plus, they often require larger heat presses which can add to the cost.

DTF transfers can be applied to any fabric, including cotton, polyester, and blends. They are also perfect for various apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags, etc. This makes it very versatile because you don’t have to be limited regarding fabric choices.

Fewer Colors:

With other types of heat transfers, you’re limited to using fewer colors and simpler designs which may not be as eye-catching or vibrant.

With DTF, you can create prints with unlimited colors and complex designs, including gradients and halftones. The colors of the DTF transfers are far more vibrant than those of other types of heat transfers because they rely on high-quality inks and direct printing processes rather than inkjet or laser printers.


The other types of transfers require additional materials such as frames, backing boards, and other tools, making them unsuitable for many applications. DTF transfers, however, require no extra materials or tools and can be applied to almost any type of fabric or color, so it’s much more versatile and easier to use. This includes light or dark colors, cotton, polyester, rayon, and blends. Plus, they work with a variety of heat presses. You can print just about anything with a DTF transfer!

Overall, DTF transfers are faster, more economical, and give you better quality than other types of heat transfers. They can be applied to a wide range of fabrics and colors and require no extra materials or tools, which makes them even more convenient. They are incredibly durable, and the colors remain vibrant after repeated washing. For those who need quick and high-quality prints, DTF transfers should be your go-to choice.

3 Tips For Producing Quality Heat Press Transfers

A model posing for a shoot in a  t-shirt

Here are a few tips to help you produce great custom transfers, no matter which type you choose:

1. Make Sure Your Artwork Is High Quality

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to make sure your artwork is high quality before you even begin thinking about transfer types. If your artwork is pixelated or fuzzy, it’s not going to look good, no matter which transfer you choose. We recommend starting with vector files (like .ai or .eps) for the best results.

2. Use The Correct Settings

If you’re using a heat press, it’s important to use the correct settings for your garment and transfer type. If you use too much heat, you risk ruining the garment or making the transfer material bubble. Not enough heat, and the transfer won’t adhere properly.

We recommend testing out the settings on a scrap piece of fabric before applying the transfer to your garment. That way, you can avoid any costly mistakes.

3. Store Transfers Properly

Once you’ve applied the transfers to your garments, it’s important to store them correctly so they don’t get damaged. We recommend hanging them up or storing them flat to prevent them from wrinkling.

If you have to fold them, make sure to do so carefully along the seams. And always iron them before wearing them to ensure the best possible results.


A model posing for a shoot in a  t-shirt

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding between printing methods. It all depends on your specific needs and preferences. Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down your options and make the best decision for your project!

Need DTFs For Your Printing Business? Shop From Limitless Transfers

A model posing for a shoot in a  t-shirt

Limitless Transfers has a variety of DTF transfers for you to choose from. Our DTF transfers come in a wide range of colors and sizes, so you can find the perfect transfer for your project.

How It Works

Submit Your Design: Use our easy-to-use Design Studio to upload or create custom designs, edit existing artwork, or start from a blank canvas!

We Print Your DTF Transfers: With our innovative CMYK+W DTF printer and heavy-duty rip software, you can get the most precise colors possible while still keeping intricate details. The transfers are hot peel so that you can churn out a large number of products quickly!

Get it Delivered to Your Doorstep & Create!: We know that time is money, so we pride ourselves on our quick turnaround time. Your product will ship within 24-48 hours of your purchase. Just cut out the transfers and start profiting!

All our transfers are made with the highest quality materials and have been tested to ensure they last. Shop now!

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