Decal and Transfer Printing Production Key Terms
Understand various transfer printing processesA decal (also called decalcomania) is a transfer made of plastic, cloth, paper or ceramic with a design printed on it. Makers then transfer the design to another surface. The four main methods of transferring designs are:
1. Slide off - where the image slips off the backing sheet onto the surface.
2. Face down - where the maker places the decal, printed in reverse, against the surface. When the paper backing is removed, the design sticks to the surface.
3. Duplex or varnish - where the maker uses a coat of tacky varnish to transfer the design from the face-down design.
4. Face up - similar to the slide-off decal, but it is on the inside of a glass surface and can be viewed through the glass.
Dry rub-off decals
Water transfer imagingWater transfer imaging or printing is also sometimes called curve coating printing because it is used on rounded, irregular or textured surfaces. This process must be used on surfaces that are water resistant, such as fiberglass, plastic, stone or ceramic.
Heat transferIn the heat transfer process, the decal is placed face down on the surface. Heat and pressure are then applied to the back of the decal until it is imprinted. This can be done on a large scale using a machine or on a smaller scale using an iron.
Foil stampingFoil stamping can provide a glittery look on fabrics or other surfaces. These transfers are done with several types of machines (a hand press, a pneumatic stamper or a foil fuser) that use heat and pressure to attach the foil. The choice of machine depends on what surface you are attaching the metallic design to.
Screen printingIn screen printing, a squeegee is rolled across a finely woven screen to force paint into the openings between the mesh. For silk screening, or serigraphy, a stencil is made by coating parts of the mesh with an impermeable substance. The ink only penetrates the uncoated parts of the screen.
Simplex or duplex paperTwo kinds of paper can be used for decals - simplex or duplex. Simplex, or single paper, is an earlier style of decal paper. It consists of one sheet of heavy, porous paper. Duplex, or double paper, has one layer of non-porous paper with a sheet of tissue attached. Both types of papers are coated so the image will separate easily during the transfer process.
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