What is Considered a Light Colored Fabric?

“For use with White, or Light Colored fabrics.”  You often see this in the instructions of light heat transfer papers.  What does this mean?  Where is the boundary between light colored shirts and dark colored shirts?

The answer isn’t that simple.  It really is a case by case basis.  When determining whether your colored shirt will work with your light transfer papers, you need to determine the type of image it is.

All Black Images
If your image only has black in it such as simple black text or simple line graphics, etc.  It is likely to work on a darker colored shirt such as red and blue shirts.  For most light transfer papers, you will still have to trim around your image to reduce the polymer background.

Photographs/Graphics with solid, non-neutral colors such as reds, deep or dark blues, and greens.
These images can be printed onto colored shirts like pink, beige, or light blue.  But keep in mind that there may be a bit of color distortion depending on the image and the shirt color.

Photographs/Graphics with gradients, drop shadows, light or neutral colors such as grey, light blues, and some yellows.  
These images should only be printed on white fabric only.  This is because colors will distort significantly due to the large amount of white used in the graphic.  Wherever white is used (in gradients, drop shadows, and to produce light colors such light blue), the shirt color will show through and mix with the image.

Black Only Image
Examples of a Black Colored Image on white, pink, and a dark colored fabric.
Black Colored images work well with the colored fabrics shown above
Colored Image
Examples of a Colored Image on white, pink and red fabrics
This colored image works well with both white and pink colored fabrics. On the red fabric, the yellow mixes with the red and the image cannot be printed well on a dark colored fabric.
Photo comparison
Examples of a Light Colored Image on white, pink, and red fabric.
This image only works with a white colored fabric. This image will not print well with most colored fabrics

On light transfer papers, keep in mind that any white areas of any image will become the color of the shirt, as most laser and inkjet printers do not use white ink.  The white comes from the paper.  When using light transfer papers, the white base paper is peeled off leaving the ink and a transparent coating on the shirt.

If unsure whether your image will work on a colored shirt, it is a safer bet to use a dark heat transfer paper instead of a light one.  Dark heat transfer papers will work on any colored fabric.  However, dark transfer papers tend to be a little bit thicker and costs a little more than light transfer papers.

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The difference between Paropy CL Dark Premium and CL Dark II

Have you ever wondered why Joto carries two laser dark transfer papers?

CL Dark Premium and CL Dark II may seem like the same paper with the same purpose, but they are not.  There are a lot of similarities in both papers. They both are for dark fabrics, which mean they are both a white opaque printable film with a backing sheet,  they both require cutting of the image or graphic, and both work in oil and non-oil laser printers and copiers.

The main difference of the paper is that one is applied at a significantly lower temperature than the other.  CL Dark II is applied at 255F for 10 seconds and CL Dark Premium is applied at 385F at 25 seconds.  Because of the lower temperature and time required, CL Dark II can be applied to more heat sensitive fabrics such as non-woven bags like the ones used at trade shows and grocery stores.  In addition, CL Dark II has the ability to produce two different finishes depending on what protective sheet you use when pressing.  When using a silicone sheet you will achieve a matte finish.  A gloss effect can be produced when using a gloss finishing sheet or when using our MuliTack tacking sheet.

With all the useful features of CL Dark II, why don’t we call that the premium paper?  Well it’s simple, the CL Dark Premium washes a little bit better, and the hand is also a tiny bit better than the CL Dark II.  Because most customers will be using laser dark transfer papers for shirts, the lower application temperature of CL Dark II is not that significant.

Having said that, the difference in hand and wash resistance although is better with the Dark Premium it does depend on the type of laser printer you are using.  We offer to sample customers both types of paper for their testing to ensure they can properly evaluate the image quality, hand and wash results on their piece of equipment.

The bottom line is that we want to give our customers the option to choose the right laser dark paper for their business.  Some people may want CL Dark II simply because the lower temperature and time works better for the products they are imaging; others may choose the CL Dark Premium because they found it washed better when tested.

Heck if you can’t decide, stock both the laser dark papers and let your customers decide which one is better!