Digital Transfer For Non-Wearables

Digital Transfer for Non-Wearables

You have what it takes

Article Author: Theresa Brisch
Publication Name: Printwear Magazine
Publication Date: October 2007

Even today, when I am exhibiting at a tradeshow, I find it remarkable how many digital transfer paper users are shocked when they visit our booth and learn that certain laser-transfer papers can be applied to non-fabric and non-wearable substrates such as wood boomerangs, ceramic mugs, metal spatulas, aluminum candy tins, and crushed stone tiles. This, in fact, has been possible for over 15 years. We are continually trying to educate digital transfer users that laser toner can be applied to non-fabric substrates without a special coated surface being necessary.

So how is it possible to transfer onto non-fabric, non-wearable substrates? It’s achieved by using either a heat-pressable toner-release transfer paper or a water-release decal-paper process. Let’s take a look. . . .

 Note 1: The author makes the point that, when applying straight digital
transfers — that is, inkjet or laser printed — versus sublimation,
the requirement for polyester content or coating goes away.





This paper is designed to release the laser toner from the transfer-paper coating when the product is at room temperature. No chemical peel agents are necessary for this type of transfer paper. Depending on the product, a dense-rubber application pad may be required. This special pad protects the toner from burning and the product from melting if it is a plastic- or vinyl-like substrate.

Flat non-fabric non-wearable substrates can either be transferred onto with the image on top of the substrate or underneath the substrate. Whether to transfer upside-down (with the transfer underneath) depends on the thickness of the product, the type of heat press, and whether the substrate is breakable. For example, a mirror or flat-glass item can be pressed upside down to reduce the chance of breaking. Some heat presses either can’t close, don’t accommodate substrates thicker that one-half inch and/or are not able to have the pressure lowered enough to insert breakable items and the rubber pad, without breaking the item. In such cases, do not put the rubber pad on top of the breakable item. Alternately, I suggest laying plain paper on your lower platen, centering and taping the transfer onto the glass/mirror (using the heat-resistant mug tape), placing the item with the transfer image down, and the back of the mirror face-up; cover the mirror/glass with plain paper to protect your upper platen from the sharp glass edges. Depending on the thickness of your glass/mirror, the pressing time is approximately two minutes at 350°, and peel cold.

Note 2: There are two types of heat-pressable laser-toner release transfer papers:
natural toner-release and multi-surface transfer papers.






Multi-surface transfer paper


Note 3: As your enthusiasm for digital transfers on
non-wearable substrates grows, never lose sight of the fact that they’re also
excellent for embellishing the rest of your product offerings—that is, apparel.






Water-release decal-paper process

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