Materials to Get Started with Ink Jet Transfers
- Printer: Most ink jet printers will work! This is your usual househould printer. The most popular are the HP Envy series, Epson printers, and Canon printers.
- Be mindful of the size a printer can print. If hunting for a new printer, most people say to get a printer that can print larger than 8.5x11.
- The HP Envy series is best known for how vibrant it prints.
- Epson printers are all around good. The Epson EcoTank 15000 prints the largest and can be used for sublimation if you choose that route.
- There are some websites that suggest to make sure your printer uses pigment ink.
- For white/light colored shirts: Jet Pro SS or Red Grid. I use Jet Pro SS and order mine from eBay from The World of Papers. They offer it in a variety of size packs. If you’re new and just want to test it out, you can buy a pack of 25 for around $15 here. Or you can buy larger packs which is more cost effective if you know you’ll be using there a lot. Make sure you get the 8x11.5” size if that’s the size your printer takes. You can also buy from Amazon.
- For darker colored shirts: 3G Jet Opaque, Blue Grid, Blue Line, or Jet Opaque II. I recommend Blue Line which you can find here on Ebay from World Paper. 3G Jet Opaque is the most popular brand used however.
- Heat Press: There is a way to do this with an iron, but you will ALWAYS have better results with a heat press. This is the one that I use here. However, you may not need one that has all the other attachments. This is a one without the attachments and cheaper here. Heat Press Nation also sells popular heat presses.
- Parchment Paper: This is your everyday baking parchment paper. You’ll also use this to protect your garment while pressing to keep the ink from smearing. Make sure you don't have wax paper, the two are different and will not work the same.
- Editing Software: I use the free Silhouette Studio software. You can download it for free here. You don’t need a Silhouette in order to use it! I think it’s very user friendly. You can also use programs like Cricut Design Space, Photoshop, Gimp, etc. (Cricut Design space will only allow you to print up to 6.75 inches x 9.25 inches. The other program mentioned above allow for greater print margins.)
- Blanks: I order my baby/kids blanks from AJ Blanks, ARB Blanks, Blanks Boutique and The Laughing Giraffe. I also love the Garanimals brand from WalMart. For bodysuits, I don't recommend using Carters or Gerber, though some do use them. These bodysuits are ribbed so your design will not transfer nicely. You’ll have white slits throughout your design since the fabric is ribbed.
- Adult Shirts: Check out Jiffy.com
- Material: When using ink jet transfers, your material can be 100% cotton, cotton blends, or synthetic blends.
No, it's not necessary. However, you might want one if you plan on pressing on dark color shirts/materials. If you don't want to use a border around these designs, you can use the "print and cut option" these machines offer. This will allow the machine to cut your design out perfectly after printing them.
Why would I need one of these machines if I used paper for darks only?
When using paper for lights (like Jet Pro SS) the back of the transfer paper is see-through. So the white shirt provides as a background for the design, keeping your design vibrant once pressed.
When using paper for darks (like 3G Jet Opaque) the back of the transfer paper is WHITE. This allows your design to remain vibrant because if it were see- through like the paper for lights, the color of the shirt would show through your design. So you must cut off all of the white around the design. If you don't, you will see the white where you didn't cut it on your shirt. A lot of people like to add a square or circular background to layer behind their design. This allows them to easily cut with scissors around the design. But others don't like to use a background. This is where using a Silhouette or Cricut's "Print & Cut" feature will cut around your printed design exactly, to eliminate the white around the design.