Greetings ehMac netizens from a serious lurker with a first-time post.
I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with t-shirt transfers and ink-jet printers. I have an Epson 800 that I want to use to try transferring my 4 year old's digital masterpieces to a t-shirt. In the past, I've tended to stick to oem-type disposables (ie. epson papers and inks) and was wondering if any one type of transfer paper is better than another. Or maybe it's not worth the effort. (I know I discovered this once when printing on a "special" ink-jet specific, pre-cut, wine-label sheet. The ink just smeared off.) Any previous experiences would be greatly appreciated.
I made up a few t-shirts for a public event our community network held back in September. Simple things, just coloured text. Used an HP Deskjet 3420v and generic transfer paper bought at Zellers. The results were fine for our use... only caveat would be that the colour tends to be much lighter when transferred than when printed, so adjust accordingly.
This may not be an issue with those specific combinations of manufacturer's printer and paper. Haven't tried any photos yet on the generic paper.
I've got a trade supplier that can do digital transfers to shirts, photo quality (almost), in small runs, small quantities. Can also do things like mouse pads, buttons, mugs... pretty well anything. They'll do one off's of some things too if that's all you're after. Email me if you're interested.
I've done quite a few. Epson Stylus 600 (very similar to yours) and I used HP transfer paper. I have some pocket T's that I put logos, etc on the pocket. Shirts were a variety of colors. They are still quite visible and durable, if somewhat faded after 5 years, and I wear them a lot.
Remember that you have no "white" ink. White areas will be transparent (shirt color will show).
Bold, solid colors work best; you don't know what will happen color wise with subtle colors. For best results with subtle colors, use white shirts. It still won't hurt to increase saturation and color a bit.
If you've bothered with ColorSync profiles and use the manufacturer's brand of tranfer paper, you may be able to get reasonably good color fidelity.
Wash a new cotton shirt in cold water/mild detergent and dry (no bounce!). Do your transfer and follow the directions for fixing (usually vinegar, but whatever the directions say). You need an iron and you may as well use it; iron the shirts first. If any advice I give conflicts with what the tranfer sheet directions say, you should follow their directions first.
Use factory ink; all bets are off on the generic or refillable stuff. If you currently have generic ink in the printer, you might want to wait until you need a refill, as removing an ink cartridge renders it useless.
Feel free to get out the scissors and cut up the transfer sheet once printed, they will transfer better if they are around an inch larger than the image.
Also feel free to print multiple images on one sheet and cut them up for individual transfers on different areas of the shirt. You can also reuse sheets (where only a small area was printed) if you cut them square (eg. across the 8.5" side so you end up with perhaps a 6x8.5 sheet from what was once a 11x8.5). Good square cuts are much better for paper feeding. Feed sheets manually, 1 at a time.