Printing Hot Split Transfers

Printing Hot Split Transfers
July 11, 2020

Important note: If you are new to transfers, please first read the blog “Beginner’s Guide to Transfers” before continuing on through this blog.

If you are here it is assumed that you understand the basics of screen printing transfers. Hot split transfers are not the most popular form of plastisol ink transfer any longer. However, it does have its uses as these transfers are super soft and matte finish for a direct print look. If you want to print hot split transfers, here is your shopping list:

  • Hot split transfer paper
  • 380 Series ink
  • 86-110 count screen mesh

The ink and paper work together but you have to heat the ink to the paper correctly. We call this gelling. To gel the ink properly, you will need to play with your conveyor dryer heat and settings. In a perfect world we would simply tell you the time and temperature. Due to the huge number of variables, we can only guide you.

The goal is heating the ink until it is dry to the touch but no further. The best way to do this is hot and fast. We want the ink to be dry on the surface but very much not cured where it meets the paper. Print on the paper and send it through your conveyor dryer quickly. Check the ink and see if it is still wet. If it is dry, speed up the belt until it isn’t. If it is wet, speed the belt up just a little bit more until it isn’t. Gelling a hot split transfer is that simple. Just get the ink barely dry to the touch and it will split evenly.

Heat application is simple but you must peel the transfer immediately after the press is lifted. 375ºF for 9 - 12 seconds, firm pressure is recommended. If you did a good job gelling the ink, this will work great. If your ink deposit onto the paper was good, this will create a durable print. If not, you will find this print to wash poorly. If the print is detailed and cannot use coarse mesh, back it with a clear base such as our 496 Clear Base. This will add thickness to the print which will make it far more durable.

That’s pretty much the hot split transfer way. This is a simple but delicate process as over-gelling the ink will cause inconsistent splitting from the paper. A thin ink deposit will do the same. Hot split transfers are typically only recommended for transfer printers. However, you can do this if you are willing to take your time and get the dryer set up correctly.


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