We use heat transfers vinyl (HTV) selectively, for specific situations where screen printing is either not possible or would be too expensive. We can heat press practically any item, with some limitations. Most logos can be created with HTV transfers too, with some limitations there also. The main reason we prefer screen print over HTV is longevity– A screen print will last the life of the garment, where the digital print of a transfer will begin to fade after prolonged washing (say 20 to 30+ washings). The best uses of thermal transfers are:

  • Difficult Substrates: Items with double layers, unusual fabric materials, nylon materials, spandex items, swimwear, items which are not heat-resistant, items with reflective Scotchlite material, and oddly shaped items which cannot be screen printed.

  • Special Look Required: There are lots of specialty transfer materials which we have available, such as Scotchlite, metallic, prism, patterned, hologram, and glow in the dark, just to name a few.

  • Small Quantity Runs: Our single color plotter cut and full-color digital printed, CAD-cut transfers are available in quantities as low as 1 piece.

  • High number of colors or full color, even photographic designs: Screen print setup costs become costly with big color (6+ colors) designs, especially at low quantities. HTV is a great alternative, especially for recurring small reorder jobs with lots of colors.


More About Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfers vinyl, or HTV, can be an alternative to traditional screen printing. There are two general types of transfers used at AT:

  • Digital printed, CAD-cut transfers (for full color or multi-color designs)

  • Solid-color, CAD-cut transfers (includes 3M Scotchlite Reflective material)

We commonly use transfers in the following situations:

  • High number of colors in a design, but low quantity of items needed.

  • Difficult item to decorate, for example a waterproof jacket.

  • Projects where reorders are frequent, but in small quantities.

  • Where a full color or photographic image is desired, but cost to screen print would be too high.

Transfers, like screen print & embroidery, have their limitations. The main limitation is the minimum size a design can be cut from various transfer materials. Some fabric materials will not accept transfers, but most will and we have specific materials for specific applications.


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