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How to make DTF transfers?

How to make DTF transfers

While DTF printing hasn’t been in the market for an extensive period, it has swiftly gained recognition as one of the most versatile and cost-effective textile printing solutions. Wholesale DTF transfers and apparel decoration with DTF transfers have emerged as popular and thriving business opportunities for custom printing entrepreneurs. If you’re contemplating expanding your business into DTF printing, knowing how to make DTF transfers is an essential skill. In this post, we’ll delve into the essentials required for printing DTF transfers, provide insights on how to print DTF transfers effectively and share pro tips to elevate your print quality.

What’s DTF transfer?

DTF transfers, or Direct-to-Film transfers, are a type of printing method used in the apparel decoration industry. With DTF transfers, designs are printed onto a special PET film using DTF printing technology. Once printed, the design is transferred from the film onto fabrics through the application of heat and pressure, typically using a heat press.

Preferred by apparel decoration businesses, DTF transfers offer exceptional performance and features:

  • Versatile Fabric Compatibility: DTF transfers adhere to various fabrics, including cotton, nylon, treated leather, polyester, and 50/50 blends, catering to both light and dark fabrics.
  • Photo-realistic Details: DTF transfers produce superior print quality with vibrant colors and intricate details.
  • Cost Efficiency: Printing DTF transfers can save up to 50% on white ink costs, and supplies are more affordable compared to direct-to-garment printing.
  • User-Friendly: DTF transfers are easy to print and eliminate the need for pre-treatment, weeding, or screen creation processes required by other printing techniques.
  • High-Quality Results: DTF transfers boast durability, washing fastness, stretchability, and a soft-touch feel, ensuring overall excellent quality.

How to use DTF transfer film?

Due to its exceptional versatility and high-performance capabilities, DTF transfer has found extensive applications across various industries and scenarios. Its ability to seamlessly adhere to different types of fabrics and deliver outstanding results has made it a preferred choice in textile printing, apparel decoration, promotional merchandise, and beyond.

Below are several trending ways to utilize DTF transfers:

  • Apparel Decoration: DTF transfer is ideal for customizing garments like t-shirts, hoodies, caps, and jackets with vibrant and durable designs.
  • Promotional Merchandise: Businesses can use DTF transfer to create branded promotional items such as bags, hats, and accessories to increase brand visibility and attract customers.
  • Sports Apparel: DTF transfer is commonly used to customize sports jerseys, uniforms, and athletic wear with team logos, player names, and numbers.
  • Fashion Industry: Fashion designers and clothing brands utilize DTF transfer to add unique designs, patterns, and graphics to their clothing lines, creating trendy and personalized garments.
  • Corporate Gifting: Companies can use DTF transfer to personalize gifts for clients, employees, and partners, adding a thoughtful touch to their promotional efforts.
  • Event Merchandise: DTF transfer allows event organizers to create customized merchandise such as t-shirts, tote bags, and hats for concerts, festivals, trade shows, and other events.
  • Home Decor: DTF transfer can be used to decorate household items like pillows, curtains, and tablecloths, adding a personalized touch to interior decor.

Essentials to print DTF transfers?

To begin printing DTF transfers, you’ll need several essential items, including equipment and supplies.

DTF Printer: A DTF printer is indispensable for DTF printing, as it utilizes specialized inks and media not compatible with regular inkjet printers. Selecting the appropriate model depends on factors such as film width, business size, daily production capacity, machine size, budget, and desired features. If you’re unsure about which printer to choose, DTF Station offers a range of options, from starter versions to industrial-grade models, each with its own set of features to suit your needs.

Model

Prestige A4


Prestige R2


Prestige R2 Pro


Prestige L2


Prestige XL2

PhotoPrestige R2 Pro DTF Printer
Max. Printing Width21cm30cm30cm45cm(18″) 60cm(24″)
Printing SpeedA4(1140/5min)6Pass 2.5-3.5 sqm/h
8Pass 1.5-2 sqm/h
10 Pass 2.5-3 sqm/h
12 Pass 1.5- 2 sqm/h
6Pass 5.5 sqm/h
8Pass 4.5 sqm/h
6Pass 9.5 sqm/h
8Pass 7.5 sqm/h
Net Weight (kg)15kg40kg56.5kg139kg 154kg
Main Board & Printer HeadEPSON/
EPSON L805
Hosonsoft /
Dual EPSON F1080
Hosonsoft /
Dual EPSON i1600
Hosonsoft /
Dual Epson I3200
Hosonsoft /
Dual Epson I3200
Daily Output70 pcs
(7.87″ x 11.81″ design size, 8 hrs per day)
Around 160pcs
(Based on 12”x14” design size, 8 hours per day)
Around 160pcs
(Based on 12”x14” design size, 8 hours per day)
6pass: 400pcs / 8pass: 300pcs
(Based on 12”x14” design size, 8 hours per day)
6pass: 650pcs / 8pass: 500pcs
(Based on 12”x14” design size, 8 hours per day)
SizePrinter Size
580*530*200mm
Packing Size
650*470*280mm
Printer Size
795*330*442mm
Packing Size
970*670*670mm
Printer Size
853*643*530mm
Packing Size
970*670*670mm
Printer Size
1160*750*1416mm
Packing Size
1200*1000*711mm
Printer Size
1336*658*1400mm
Packing Size
1470*1100*720mm

DTF film: DTF film serves as the carrier for designs and significantly influences the final prints and performance of DTF transfers. With numerous film options available, selecting the right one for your business can be daunting, particularly for beginners. To navigate this process effectively, you can check our DTF film guide, which offers valuable tips on choosing, using, and storing DTF films.

DTF Film Roll On Film Holder
DTF Film Roll On Film Holder

DTF InkDTF printers utilize a distinctive water-based ink specially formulated for DTF printing applications. To ensure optimal performance and quality output, it is highly advised to use inks that are specifically recommended by your DTF printer supplier. By adhering to these recommendations, you can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your DTF printing operations, guaranteeing vibrant colors, durable prints, and overall superior results.

Powder Shaker: The hot melt adhesive powder plays a critical role in securing the adhesion between the design and the fabric. Users have the option to apply the powder manually or with the assistance of a powder-shaking machine. While manual shaking offers simplicity in powder application, an automated powder shaker ensures more even and efficient powder distribution. Moreover, advanced models may even incorporate film-curing capabilities, further enhancing business productivity and efficiency.

DTF Powder Shaker

DTF Curing Oven: The DTF film curing process serves a crucial purpose in ensuring optimal adhesion of the ink to the material, enhancing longevity. By subjecting the ink to heat and drying, it fosters stronger bonding with the material, resulting in durable prints. Additionally, this process enhances color vibrancy and overall print quality. While some users opt for the hover function for curing, employing a dedicated DTF curing oven offers a more efficient and expedited curing process.

Phoenix Air DTF Curing Oven

How to make DTF transfers?

With all the necessary equipment and supplies at hand, it’s time to embark on the process of printing DTF transfers. This typically involves several key steps, including design preparation, printing, powder shaking, and film shaking.

  • Design Preparation: In this step, you’ll utilize graphic design software on a computer to prepare your design. It’s crucial to confirm that the design is appropriately sized and has the correct resolution to prevent distortion or pixelation in the final print. Additionally, for printing techniques involving a design carrier sheet or paper, remember to mirror the image during the design creation process.
  • Film Printing: During this process, the design is printed onto a specialized DTF film using a compatible printer equipped with DTF ink. Prior to commencing printing, conducting printing tests and calibrating the settings is crucial for optimal results. Utilizing recommended ink and printer settings is essential to attain vibrant colors and sharp details. Incorrect ink or settings usage may lead to subpar print quality, color discrepancies, or ink smudging.
  • Powder Shaking: Apply a layer of adhesive powder evenly over the printed design to enhance ink adhesion during transfer. The proper application of adhesive powder not only enhances ink adhesion, improves the overall print quality, and prevents ink bleeding but also promotes transfer accuracy.
  • Film Curing: After printing, the DTF film undergoes a curing process to dry and set the ink. This step typically involves exposing the film to heat using a heat press or curing oven. Proper curing ensures the ink adheres firmly to the film and prevents smudging or bleeding during transfer. Inadequate curing can result in ink transfer issues, such as poor adhesion to the substrate or premature fading of colors.

Tips to enhance DTF transfer quality

While the process of printing DTF transfers is relatively quick, simple, and straightforward, it does require some skills and techniques to achieve the ideal results. Here are some best practices for DTF transfer printing:

  • Tip 1: Always opt for high-quality printing equipment and supplies to achieve vibrant colors, good adhesion, and durability in your DTF transfers.
  • Tip 2: Utilize vector images with high contrast and resolution to ensure minimal loss of quality during size adjustments, resulting in rich colors and fine details.
  • Tip 3: Familiarize yourself with fabric performance by testing different designs and selecting graphics based on fabric characteristics and testing outcomes.
  • Tip 4: Employ tools or software to generate halftone graphics, conserving ink and providing a softer hand feel in your prints.
  • Tip 5: Regularly calibrate your DTF printer to maintain accurate color reproduction and print quality, and perform routine maintenance tasks like printhead cleaning and lubrication.
  • Tip 6: Conduct printing tests before mass production to check for color accuracy, sharpness, and durability, and perform regular quality control checks to address any issues.
  • Tip 7: Consider pre-heating the film before powder shaking if it’s receiving excessive ink, as this can reduce powder usage and prevent a plastic-like feel in the final print.
  • Tip 8: Practice patience when peeling off the cover sheet of DTF transfers, and allow sufficient cooling time for the ink to settle, resulting in better prints.
  • Tip 9: When heat pressing, start with lower temperatures and longer times, gradually adjusting as needed, to prevent overheating and ensure optimal transfer results.
  • Tip 10: Pre-heat the apparel before heat transfer to eliminate wrinkles and excess moisture from fabric fibers, ensuring smooth and consistent printing.
  • Tip 11: Adhere to washing and caring instructions for your DTF transfers to maintain long-lasting and vibrant print results.
  • Tip 12: Follow recommended storage practices for DTF transfers to preserve their performance and quality over time.
  • Tip 13: Implement these durability hacks to ensure that your prints not only withstand the rigors of time but also maintain their quality and vibrancy for longer periods.

FAQs

How to press a dtf transfer?

The heat press settings for DTF transfers may vary depending on the type of fabric being used, but you can utilize the following settings as a reference to begin your calibration:

MaterialTemperatureTimePressure
Cotton320-350°F (160-180°C)10-15SMedium to Heavy
50/50 Blends320-350°F (160-180°C)10-15SMedium to Heavy
Synthetic & Polyester Fabrics280-300°F (140-150°C)10-15SMedium to Heavy

How do you make a dtf transfer at home?

To create DTF transfers at home, you’ll still require all the essentials outlined in this post. Given space constraints, it’s advisable to begin with an A4 or A3DTF printing solution. From our DTF Station product line, we recommend the Prestige R2 A3 DTF printer, accompanied by the Phoenix Air Oven (featuring a built-in smoke purifier) and the Prisma Palette A3 heat press machine. If you have more room available and desire the convenience of an automated process, consider adding the Miro 13 powder shaker to your setup.

How to remove a DTF transfer from a shirt?

If you encounter issues with the application of a DTF transfer on your garment, fret not; there are methods to rectify the situation. Fortunately, there are simple ways to remove a DTF transfer from a shirt, although it may require the use of a solvent. For a visual guide on how to do it, check out the video linked here.

How to start a DTF transfer business?

This is a topic that might take a few posts to cover every aspect of the topic, hopefully, we will cover this topic in our future posts.

Why is my DTF transfer not sticking?

Several factors can contribute to DTF transfer failure, extending beyond the quality of film, ink, powder, and the nature of the substrate. Insufficient temperature and pressure during the transfer process, failure to pre-heat the garment adequately, incomplete curing, inadequate powder application, and premature peeling are all potential culprits. To troubleshoot and identify the root cause of transfer issues, it’s essential to systematically test each factor. By methodically assessing these variables, you can pinpoint the specific issue affecting your transfers and implement targeted solutions for optimal results.

Why is my DTF transfer cracking?

Moisture and curing are prevalent factors contributing to DTF transfer cracking. To mitigate these issues, ensure that the substrate is thoroughly pre-heated to eliminate any moisture before the transfer process begins. Additionally, incorrect curing settings can lead to cracking over time, emphasizing the importance of employing a slow and low curing approach for the ink. It’s also worth noting that certain inks may not perform optimally with specific substrates, necessitating comprehensive testing to determine compatibility. By addressing these factors and fine-tuning the curing process, you can minimize the risk of DTF transfer cracking and achieve durable, long-lasting results.

Conclusion

With this guide, you’ve unlocked the key to mastering DTF transfers like a pro. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned professional, the tips and techniques shared here will help you achieve exceptional results in your DTF printing endeavors. Remember to follow the essential steps outlined in this guide, and don’t hesitate to experiment and refine your techniques. With dedication and practice, you’ll soon be producing high-quality DTF transfers that impress your clients or friends. If you have any additional ideas or tips to contribute, feel free to drop them in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

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