What Is a Screen Print Transfer and Where Can I Get Them?

If you are a small business owner who creates t-shirts and heat transfer vinyl is beginning to become too much, you are in the right spot! Did you know with screen print transfers you can make a shirt from start to finish in less than one minute? Even if you are starting out and don't want to invest in a Cricut and HTV, keep on reading.  

Two years ago when I started my business, I was hand-making all my shirts with HTV. this meant cutting my designs out on the Cricut (HOURS of work!), and weeding (even MORE hours!). This method worked for a while until orders started picking up. I realized I was spending too much time and energy on the making process and not focusing on other aspects of how I could grow my shop. Ultimately, I made the decision I needed to eliminate steps in my process that were time guzzlers. I eventually found out about screen print transfers, and although I was leary about trying them, very soon after, I realized it was THE best possible decision I could have made.

Here I am applying a transfer! This T-Shirt

My Main Concerns With Making the Switch:

I had some concerns with switching from HTV to screen print transfers. Number one being a loss of control. With my Cricut, I was able to cut out any design I wanted in just a few minutes in the comfort of my own home/shop. This allowed me to not worry about overselling and gave me a lot of freedom to add tons of designs to my store and it even let me have my shirts “made to order”. I knew in the end screen print transfers would save me so much time, but I didn't want to lose this freedom.

My second concern when making the jump was pricing. I was first just looking into custom transfers and finding that prices were outrageous compared to my trusty HTV. I was very fresh to the screen print transfer world and wasn't quite understanding what they were, how they were different than sublimation etc. Once I gathered all my information, I shortly realized that transfers were the way to go and they would save me so much time and money.

What is a Screen Print Transfer?

Screen print transfers, also known as plastisol transfers, are a type of garment transfer that has been printed using plastisol inks onto a special release paper. Since these are transfers and not printed directly on the shirt, you will need a heat press for application.

Essentially the process of creating these transfers is the same as if you were to screen print directly onto a garment. Instead of printing on the garment, the design is printed onto the paper which is later applied using heat (hence the name screen print transfer).  

They can be used on multiple different fabrics including; 100% Cotton, 100% Polyester, and Cotton Poly Blends.  

Screen print transfer
This is a transfer from Supacolor (11.7" X 11.7")

Screen Print Transfer Options: Custom & Pre-made

When looking into screen print transfers, you can go two different routes. You can purchase custom transfers which can seem expensive, but remember how much time they will save you (time is money people!). 

  1. Custom Transfers Pros and Cons:

-Pros: your design is original and you can put your own art on your shirt which means no one else will be selling the same thing as you. It also saves you so much time 

-Cons: ordering customs prints can be expensive. You often need to reach a minimum amount to order (for example, you must order 25 or more), There is also usually a set-up fee which is an additional cost ranging from $10-30 dollars. Since these transfers have to be made to order, the processing time is a lot longer than ready-made transfers.

  1. Pre-Made Transfers Pros and Cons: 

-Pros: EXTREMELY affordable. Prices range from just a few cents to a couple of dollars. There is no minimum order and sometimes even free shipping! Shipping is also quick since they are already made.

-Cons: Since these transfers are premade, they are accessible to anyone and everyone. This means they are not original and someone else may be selling the same shirt as you.

Lets recap… If you are looking for THE most affordable option, I would suggest purchasing pre-made transfers. They are simple to use and you don't have to deal with the hassle of creating a design, converting the file, and uploading it to be printed. If your goal is to have original designs and put YOUR artwork on your apparel, I would invest in the custom transfers.

Where to Buy Transfers:

  1. Custom: Supacolor & Transfer Express are the two I use!
  2. Pre-made: there are so many pre-made transfers out there. I even sell some on my site Mock-Ups By Meg for only $1.75! Other places to look are Etsy or simply type in “ready to press screen print transfers”. 

Let's Talk Prices:

As I mentioned above, pre-made transfers are WAY less expensive. I went onto Supacolor's website and compiled a price sheet for you guys so you can easily see what the pricing would be for each size of custom print. There is a minimum order of 10 transfers. The more you order, the more the price goes down!

The total price at the end is going to be the MINIMUM amount you will spend. For example, if you want to buy 11.7" X 11.7" transfers (these are usually ones I get), you will be spending $8.37 per transfer. The catch is, you must buy at least 10 of them so that now bumps up your cost to $83.00. On the flip side, you could purchase a pre-made transfer (12" X 12"), only buy two to test them out and you would be spending around $3.50 if each transfer costed $1.75. 

Wrapping it Up:

All in all, choose to do whatever feels right for you and your business! I hope this post was able to give you some insight into what screen print transfers are and how to use them. I will never stop raving about these because they have completely changed my business for the better. If you have any further questions, please comment below and I will try to get back to you ASAP!

*A little side note: I have just recently added screen print transfers to a store I opened called Mock-Ups By Meg. I opened this shop to help other small business owners on their journey. Here I upload customizable templates, size charts, line sheets, and mockups, and now I've branched out into including screen print transfers. I will always be 100% transparent with you guys, and I have gotten so many comments about where I am ordering these transfers from since I do outsource them. I am holding that information near and dear to my heart. It took me months of research to find the perfect wholesaler to bulk-print my transfers. It is okay to withhold certain information and as much as I love helping you guys out, there are some things I'd rather keep to myself. I hope you understand and I thank you for always supporting me!


  • Hi Meg! Thank you so much for all the valuable info! Just a question though, what are line sheets and what are they used for?


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