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Custom Screen Printed Transfers & More

How To Print Photos on T-Shirts | Direct To Film Transfers Better Than Sublimation?

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Hey friends, Dave here with Transfer Express and today, I want to show you the absolute easiest way to put a photo on any shirt.

Seriously, it’s simple, easy and by far the most cost effective method for a quality result. Forget about sublimation, being limited to just polyester shirts or any crazy at-home printing and cutting and weeding- you don’t need any of those expensive supplies- just a heat press. Ready? Let’s get to it!

Now you can print just photos, or combine photos with other elements like text or clipart, or just upload your artwork and go- either way, I’ll show you how simple it is to do.

Here at Transfer Express, we have a couple different transfers that can help you out depending on the scope of your project, but I want to lay out some basics here on what transfer to use when:

  • For small jobs (I'm talking any quantity under 12) with 2-3 colors in the design or photographic artwork, UltraColor Max is going to be your best bet. There’s no minimum quantity and you can gang sheet or order single images up to 22 x 22”. It prints on cotton, polyester, or cotton/poly blends in any color fabric- lights or darks. It’s priced by the square inch, so smaller designs are incredibly affordable regardless of how many colors are printing in the design.
  • For larger jobs, UltraColor Pro is going to be the best option for you. At higher quantities it’s much more cost effective- which means more profit for you. It’s only available in full 11.5 x 18” sheets, so fill it up with as much art as you can! Again, it works great on any color shirt made of cotton, polyester or blends.
  • And finally, for printing on any material with spandex, lycra or nylon, UltraColor Stretch is going to be the best bet. Built for maximum stretch and rebound, the water-based adhesive is the only solution for printing on those harder-to-print synthetic fibers. If you’re always just printing on cotton, polyester or blended shirts- you’ll likely never need this one.

First I’ll show you how to order and then, we’ll get to printing some t-shirts.

Let’s head over to Easy View online designer to order. All you need to get started is a free Transfer Express account- free is right: we won't even ask for a credit card number to get you started- and we’ll also send a free welcome pack loaded full of samples- so it's a win-win!

Here, for our first example, let’s say we need some shirts for a small group, so we’ll use UltraColor Max transfers here for this design because we are printing such a small quantity. We can import a photo and start building some elements using just text around it. We can easily add text, change the font and even some cool effects, like knocking out this O with a little cloud. All we have to do is find a piece of clipart, overlay it and set our ink swatch to show through.

If you’re interested in learning all the features of the designer, watch one of our full webinars.

But that's the beauty of this transfer - to produce anything this detailed on a t-shirt for just a few shirts you’d be looking at high cost. But you can see here, at just 4 quantity, we’re only paying $7.86 for this image. We can even then group little logos here with our transfers that we can cut off to print on the back of shirts, quarter zips or even hats, and they barely add to our total transfer cost!

The final step before we add our transfer to the cart is a review step here that will identify any issues with your files that may cause an issue. You’ll see areas of concern highlighted in pink. Here we look good, so we’ll click “can be printed as-is" and check out.

If your artwork does have some issues when ordering UltraColor Max, our design team can help! Just select “needs artist attention” - it will convert your order over to a proof for our artists to fix and send back to you.

With turn times at just one business day with UltraColor Max, these are quick, too!

UltraColor Max applies at 290 degrees for 15 seconds and a hot peel.

Here’s another one, but this time we had a graphic designer send us this file ready to go. We can just upload it right here using the upload button and then just size this design to 11” wide or so and arrange them with two per sheet, with UltraColor Pro, so, say if we needed 100 total images, we only have to order 50 sheets! This breaks down to just $6 per sheet, or $3 per image.

Once our transfers arrive, we’re good to print, and with just a press and peel, our t-shirts are looking fantastic- ready for the retail shelves.

You can see here from these examples, photos look fantastic using the UltraColor transfers, whether they are UltraColor Max or UltraColor Pro.

Here we’ll take a photo we took with an iphone and upload it right here, using the artwork upload feature. Almost any file type is accepted, we’re just going to be using mostly jpegs here today. Now it’s worth mentioning for best results- we should try to have artwork that is 300 dpi (or dots per inch) in resolution, at the size you want printed. If you don’t have it, or it's a little low res- no worries, we can have our designers take a look at it.

In the designer here, we can easily add some artwork to accompany our photos and with just a couple clicks- we’re ready to go. With some text added here, this one for a hiking club requires a few different photos and a higher quantity, so we added a few more designs to the sheet to fill out our full UltraColor Pro order and bam, we’re ready to go.

Now that we have our transfers, let’s press!

You can try these UltraColor transfers for yourself! Like I mentioned earlier, samples are included in your welcome pack for just signing up for an account, or always available for free right here.

Here at Transfer Express we’re rolling out helpful tips for all apparel decorators every week, so be sure you’re subscribed on our YouTube channel to stay up to date on the new videos we’re dropping every single week! Until next time, I’m Dave- Happy pressing!

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