Vinyl printing is when a sheet of polyurethane (pu) vinyl is cut to produce a design which is then heat applied to the garments.
Vinyl printing is a method of printing that is generally limited to a 1 colour print. The artwork is required in a vector format which is produced in a software package i.e. Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, this artwork format produces the design in lines as opposed to pixels as in a jpeg image.
The artwork is sent in mirror image to the vinyl cutter, which is very much like a large printer, however instead of using ink it uses a blade. Once the image has been etched into the vinyl, the vinyl can then be removed from the cutter. The excess vinyl surrounding the image can be weeded (removed) from the backing sheet, once this has removed you will be left with your design.
The design is now ready to be applied to the garment using a heat press. The approx temperature of the heat press to apply the image is 160c, this does vary depending on the garment and the vinyl used. The garment is placed on the heat press base plate and the image can then be placed in the appropriate position on the garment, the heat clamp is then closed for approximately 10-15 seconds and then released. The backing film can now be removed from the garment and you are left with your design.
Its best to use dark colored t-shirts for printing as shown below so that the print comes neat.