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Avoid Dye Migration with CAD-CUT Thermo-FILM

by Courtney Matlick, Stahls’ CAD-CUT® Direct

A comparison shot – The design on the left applied properly while the one on the right allowed black dye to migrate through the heat transfer material.

While visiting my local gym last week, I came across a fellow member wearing a maroon shirt with a single-color logo. (Call me crazy, but when you work in the apparel decorating industry, you’re always looking at graphics on shirts and analyzing them). What stood out most to me about this shirt was the color of the graphic. It wasn’t quite white and it wasn’t quite maroon, but had an interesting light-maroon tint to the logo.

I couldn’t resist asking the question, “Is that design supposed to be that color?” Unfortunately, as I suspected, the design was supposed to be white. And it was – until he threw the polyester performance shirt into the dryer. The shirt became a sad victim of dye migration.

In my seminars and training classes, I often stress the importance of understanding dye migration and how it can affect our customers’ businesses and reputations.  If you haven’t heard of this common decorating problem, dye migration occurs when the fibers in polyester fabrics open up and unstable dyes are released and bleed through the transfers. Put simply, red dyes in a jersey would bleed through a white number and turn the number pink. It’s most commonly experienced as you heat press the garment, so it can often be caught immediately after heat application and before you send the garment out to your customer, saving you from any embarrassment or upset customers. Unfortunately, if the right product is not used on the garment , dye migration can also happen after the sale, under the high heat of a dryer or in a gym bag left inside a hot car, as happened with this man’s shirt.

So how do you ensure that your design won’t end up victim to dye migration? Try Stahls’ CAD-CUT® Thermo-FILM® heat transfer material. This material is designed to resist the low-bleed dyes that some polyester performance and athletic uniforms use.  Your design will stay true to its color, giving you the assurance you need that your customers will have a quality product with which they can be happy.

Want to learn more about dye migration? Watch our video, Tip Jar Production: Low Bleed Transfer Film for Dye Migration.


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