In some cases where screen printing is not possible, a custom-cut adhesive vinyl sticker or heat-transfer vinyl (HTV) may be the solution. The vinyl is cut using a plotter, a computer-controlled machine that uses special blades and measured pressure to cut vector images out of vinyl sheets or rolls and then transferred onto the item you want decorated.
Adhesive Vinyl is essentially a sheet or roll of sticker material that is adhesive on one side. This can come in a number of colors, finishes and special effects (reflective, holographic, metallic). This works great on glass or similarly smooth, non-porous surfaces, is semi-permanent and weather resistant. We used adhesive vinyl transfers for our front door signage (pictured above). In some cases, the vinyl may also be used as a single-use stencil mask for painting. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to create multi-color or layered adhesive vinyl transfers.
Some synthetic fabrics like nylon or acrylic as well as fabrics with stretch such as athletic/athleisure apparel may not lend themselves to standard printing method due to their sensitivity to high heat. Since screen printing ink requires curing at high temperatures, those temperatures can create unwanted chemical reactions that affect ink colors or end up damaging the apparel itself. In these cases, a heat transfer may be a more desired decoration. Heat-transfer vinyl is similar to the adhesive vinyl as it comes in sheets or rolls but the adhesive is on the backing rather than the vinyl itself. Heat-transfer vinyl is specially made to bond or fuse with the material it is being pressed on with a more controlled level of heat and pressure. Unfortunately, we are unable to create multi-color or layered adhesive vinyl transfers.
We can convert certain images to vector shapes that are then cut out of thin sheets of cardboard. These sheets are ideal for simple stencil graphics that will be used once or twice but may start to break down after a few uses. Stencils also require your graphic to have “bridges” to prevent parts of the stencil from falling away completely after they’re cut. Unfortunately, our plotter is not equipped to cut thicker materials such as plastic, acrylic or silicone which may be better suitable for a reusable stencil. In most cases, we can screen print directly onto whatever flat surface you are trying to decorate if a stencil is not ideal.