HotMask® Polyester Transfer Tapes

Selecting the Right Transfer Tape for Printed Heat Transfer Appliques 
To transfer a print and cut heat transfer applique from its carrier to the garment you should use a polyester HotMask® transfer tape. While many shop owners have used paper application tape to transfer printed heat transfer appliques, you are much better off using the right product for the application. The problem that I have with using paper application tape is that it is paper. And paper can tear, especially on larger appliques. This can slow down production.  

Always peel the carrier or release liner from the backside of the applique rather than attempting to peel the applique from the release liner. 

RTape has developed a  series of self-wound polyester HotMask® transfer tapes are designed  to aid the alignment of the graphic to the garment and protect printed heat transfer material from the high temperatures of heat pressing. These clear film tapes are available in different tack levels and different adhesive formulations.

Weeding and Masking.  After printing and cutting your graphics, weed or remove the excess material from around the printed design.

NOTE: Some ink systems take a while to dry completely. While a print may feel dry to the touch, any ink may take can take an additional ten minutes to a half hour to fully outgas.  If the ink does not cure completely, the masking used to transfer the applique may not stick sufficiently.

Then, mask the printed graphic using the HotMask® transfer tape. RTape has developed different transfer tapes to work with specific heat transfer films. Refer to the chart below to select the right tape for your application.

SEF Material HotMask® Transfer Tape
SEF Flex Film
Tatoo  HM375
Tatoo Nylon HM375
Tatoo Pearl HM375
Tatoo SBB HM375
 ClearFlex No Masking Required
SEF Flock Film 
EcoPrint 485L

To mask the printed Tatoo films, we have developed a high tack transfer tape called HM375 HotMask®. First lightly squeegee the masking over the top of the printed graphic to removing the large air bubbles. Many people find it easier to begin squeegeeing the masking from the center and working their way outwards. After the masking is initially secured, resqueegee the masking using a nylon squeegee with firm pressure. To ensure good pressure always work on a hard work surface. Place the masked graphic to the side and allow the adhesion to build for  thirty minutes.  This waiting period is important, especially with ecosolvent inks, which can take a while to cure.

In most cases, you will print several appliques on the same sheet. After the printed graphic is masked, you can cut the sheet apart to separate the individual appliques. You can leave the masking on the graphic in storage until you are ready to apply the appliques to garment. After the adhesive builds to the optimal level, it will not continue to build.

To transfer printed flock films, you will need a special HotMask®. Transferring printed flock films is extremely difficult, because of the highly textured surface of the flock fibers. Standard application tapes used for vinyl graphics, including ultra-high tack tapes, just don’t work. For this very difficult application, RTape introduced its HM485L HotMask®, which is designed to transfer printed flock films, such as EcoPrint. For information on HM485L, please read RTape Introduces 485L Hot Mask. The article describes the step-by-step procedure in using this product, complete with photos.


During the heat process the Hotmask® protects the surface of printed heat transfer material from heat related discoloration or any other damage.

The polyester (PET) film of the HotMask® withstands heat cycles as long as 60 seconds at 166°C (330° F).

After the heat transfer, HotMask® removes easily without any adhesive residue. For best results remove the HotMask®, while it is warm.

NOTE: HotMask® transfer tapes work well with all competitive brands of heat transfer films for printing as well as being a matched component to the  printable SEF films.


 RTape heat-activated polyurethane films typically require high tack HM375 HotMask®. Depending on the surface structure of the facestock and the desired release value, other brands of heat transfer lms may require the use of HM300 or HM350 HotMask®.

To transfer printed flock films, use HM485L HotMask® The higher tack silicone adhesive is required for flocking material, because of the roughness of the textile structure.

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