Common Problems when using TrimFree

Common Problems when using TrimFree

Most users have had no problems using TrimFree and are aware of the limitations of TrimFree.  However there are a few users who have had nothing but trouble with this paper.  So here are some of the most common problems and solutions to using this paper.

Printing TrimFree
When printing TrimFree Transfer Paper, we recommend that you feed the sheet in one at a time through the bypass tray.

Toner Offsetting – One of the most common problems when printing this paper is toner offsetting on the page.   TrimFree will not run in plain paper mode for almost all printers.  It is likely to run in Heavy 1 to Label 2 mode.  When you run TrimFree in plain mode, you will notice that the majority of the image is not printed at all (refer to above image) and sometimes you get toner on your fingers when you rub it against the image.

Good Print - Printed on the OKI Printer on Labels 1 Mode

Toner Offsetting
Toner Offsetting - Printed on OKI in Plain mode

If you are getting Toner Offsetting remember to run a few sheets of blank paper through the printer to get rid of the excess toner left in the fuser (if the excess toner is not completely cleaned from the fuser unit, all consecutive transfer paper prints will likely be unsuccessful).  Then try the next heavier paper mode.  Keep repeating until the problem is gone.

Faded or patchy image after printing – This problem is quite rare.  If your image looks faded or had white patchy spots in the solid colors and it is not a result of toner offsetting.  It is likely that the paper setting is set too high.  Normally when you set the paper setting too high, the paper will jam in the printer.  But in rare cases, it may just produce faded or patchy images.

To fix faded or patchy images, simply print on a lower paper setting and this will fix it.  It is always recommended to run a few sheets of plain paper whenever you get a failed print.

Pressing onto the Garment.
TrimFree is a one step heat press process and can be mastered with practice.  The extra repress step with a silicon sheet is to ensure better wash resistance.  When pressing TrimFree, ensure that you follow the instructions given to you.  In the rare case where you received no instructions, please contact Joto for instructions.

Some of the most common problems when pressing TrimFree are:

Polymer Window on the unimaged areas.

If you get a polymer window or partial polymer window on your image where there is no toner, there are two possible reasons for this.

1.)    When peeling, the wait was too long.  We recommend peeling the paper 5-10 seconds after heat pressing.  This wait will vary depending on the fabric.  For lighter thinner fabrics like tank tops, you could almost peel the paper immediately.  For heavier thicker fabrics, such as sweaters and hoodies, you need to wait the full 10 seconds to peel.  Waiting too long to peel will result in some polymer window being left behind.  And if you wait too long, the backing paper may stick to the shirt and peeling the backing paper off will be next to impossible.

2.)    If the temperature is too high or the press time too long, it will also leave a polymer window on the shirt (see above image).  TrimFree is designed to be pressed at 330F for  30 seconds.  If you press TrimFree at 375F or 25 seconds, it is most certainly going to leave a polymer window where there is no toner.

Polymer Window - Black image printed on blue to better show polymer window when too much heat is applied (375F for 25secs)
Perfect Black Only TrimFree Image (330F for 30 seconds)

So if you get a large visible polymer window, check your press temperature to ensure it is not too high.  And check to make sure that you have not waited too long to peel.  Most times if you have waited too long to peel, and there is a bit of polymer where there’s no toner, you may be able to lint brush the excess coating off.  But there is no fixing a pressed image where too much heat has been applied to the transfer.

Incomplete Image Transfer
If you get an incomplete image transfer, there are 4 reasons why this could be:

1.)    You used drop shadows, gradients or skin tones.  This is not a defect in the paper, it is a limitation of the paper because of how drop shadows, gradients, or skin tones are created using toner.   TrimFree will only print solid colors consistently.  Either print the photograph on regular laser transfer paper such as CL 135 or edit your graphic so that it contains solid colors only.  Sometimes it is difficult to see that a graphic has gradients, but if it does, there’s a chance that TrimFree will not image the gradient portion.  With some gradients, TrimFree will print fine, but we always suggest you test first.

2.)    You didn’t wait long enough to peel the backing paper off.  As mentioned before, different fabrics will require different wait times depending on how thick it is.  Thin fabrics will require less wait time and thicker ones will require more.

3.)    You didn’t apply enough pressure when pressing.  Pressure will also affect the transfer and is more evident in light colors such as yellows, beige, etc.  Also with insufficient pressure, it will affect the wash resistance of the final product.

4.)    The toner may be incompatible with the paper.  However this is rarely the case as most of the time, images will transfer fine even with incompatible toners, but will not wash very well.  To the best of our knowledge, we know that HP and Brother brand toners will not work with TrimFree.  But because there are so many different brands of OEM toners and third party toners, there may be more on the list.  If you are using third party toners, with approved brands of printers, please test to ensure that the third party toners are compatible with TrimFree.

Incomplete Transfer - This is a combination of not enough pressure and not waiting long enough to peel

Wash Results
After Pressing TrimFree to your garment, we also recommend you do a wash test before commercial production.  Most of the time the wash is superb and no problems are encountered.  However sometimes there are problems and here are the top 3 reasons why you may get poor wash results.

1.)    The number 1 reason that bad wash results occur is from using an incompatible brand of toners.  HP and Brother toners are incompatible with TrimFree.  They may transfer fine, but once washed, almost the entire image will wash out.  This problem is amplified more when you put the garment through a dryer.

2.)    Insufficient pressure.  Like all laser transfer papers, you need a lot of pressure to fuse the transfer paper coating onto the fibers of the shirt.  With insufficient pressure, the image will still transfer to the shirt perfectly, and you will only be able to tell after you have done a wash test.  One of the easiest ways to correct insufficient pressure is to put the press onto a lower table so you have more leverage.  The ideal height of the bottom platen of the press should be around your stomach.  Using an automatic press will also ensure heavy and consistent pressure

3.)    Using bleach, harsh/corrosive detergent or fabric softener to wash the garment may give you poor wash results.  Most transfer papers are not designed to withstand rough wash cycles.  Even with normal t-shirts, putting it through rough wash cycles and the dryer will reduce the life of the fabric.

If you have any troubles with TrimFree, feel free to contact us at 1-800-565-5686 with a picture of your problem ready to send to us by email.  All of our sales reps will be able to assess what might be causing the problem.

TrimFree Laser Transfer Paper


There has been a lot of talk about TrimFree on the web and I have decided that I should do a post to clarify any questions that transfer paper users have about this paper.  Also, on our next post, we will try to explain some of the problems that a small number of users have been experiencing.

TrimFree Shirt image

TrimFree is a self-weeding laser transfer paper for white or light colored fabrics.  What does this mean?  Although transfer papers have improved, greatly reducing the visibility of the unimaged areas of the design, it is still necessary to trim the paper to minimize the amount of polymer background that is transferred to the garment.  When using TrimFree, trimming is not necessary because it will only transfers the areas on the design where toner is present.

Here is a comparison between normal laser transfer paper and TrimFree.  It may be difficult to see the polymer background, please click the images to enlarge

TrimFree and Regular Laser Transfer Paper comparison Laser and TrimFree Transfer Paper comparison

TrimFree can be used to image some dark colored shirts such as red, orange and royal blue when the image just contains black toner.  Additionally, TrimFree can be used to image garments using foil.  As with red, orange and blue fabrics you only use black toner for this application.

Here are some examples below:

TrimFree on Red Shirt with black toner only Gold Foil TrimFree Shirt TrimFree with Rainbow Foil TrimFree with Gold Foil on Black


TrimFree is the latest advancement of laser transfer paper; however it has its limitations.  On images that have drop shadows, gradients or skin tones the user may find that these areas of the image don’t fully transfer.  Knowing this limitation will allow you to properly assess the image prior to printing to determine if TrimFree should be used or if a laser transfer paper for light shirts is more suited.

In general, we suggest that TrimFree be used when the image consists of solid colors such as logos or vector graphics.  This is not to say that you can never use TrimFree when the image contains drop shadows, skin tones, or gradients but we do suggest you test the image prior to printing your full production.

Below you will see one with drop shadows, gradients, and skin tones.  The drop shadow was dark enough to show, however the skin tones didn’t transfer as well.

TrimFree with skin tones

With photographic images we recommend using a laser transfer paper for light colored fabrics.  The majority of photographs are square making any trimming quick and easy.


TrimFree will work well on most printers but there are some printers that use a type of toner that will either press poorly and/or give you unacceptable wash results. The reason for this is because the self trimming aspect of the paper is a chemical reaction between the toner and the paper coating when heated.  The coating fuses with the toner to adhere to the shirt.  So the success of the paper depends on the composition of the toner.  With some of the printers we do not recommend, the image will print and transfer fine but the wash results will be poor.  On others, it is just very difficult to get good printing results.

Our testing has shown that Okidata printers and Canon Copiers provide the best results when using TrimFree.  Both of these brands will give very good printing, pressing and wash results.  Alternatively, we have found that Brother and HP will not provide good results when using TrimFree and are not recommended by Joto.

Regardless of the printer or copier being used we always recommend that you test the paper with your printer to ensure you can achieve the printing, pressing and wash results that will meet your customer’s expectations.  To aid with the testing we offer sample packs free of charge for you to evaluate prior to purchasing the paper.


Foil application can only be done with TrimFree transfer paper.  It cannot be done with other laser transfer papers because they release a polymer coating even where there is no image.  As stated above, TrimFree only releases where there is toner and it is the toner/coating that hot stamp foil sticks to when pressed.  The foil that is used for TrimFree can be bought at any screen printing supplies shop.  It is the same foil that screen printers use and is applied the same way, using a heat press.  Click the following link to watch how TrimFree and foil are applied.

TrimFree with Foil Video
Click to Watch Video

We have also posted a tips and hints cheat sheet about how to use TrimFree and to solve some of the problems that a small amount of users are experiencing.  TrimFree Tip Sheet

We have done a number of TrimFree shirts for personal birthday parties,  hockey teams and the response was fantastic!  The key to the success of applying TrimFree is knowing the limits of this paper and doing some minor testing on your own so that you can familiarize yourself with this new technology.  The ones who are able to master TrimFree will have a definite advantage over his/her competitors.

By Dickson
Joto Paper