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What Is DTF Printing?

What Is DTF Printing

What’s DTF Printing?

DTF is short for direct to film printing, is a modern digital printing technique to transfer a design directly onto a garment or other substrates. Instead of printing directly on garment like DTG, DTF print designs on PET film first and then transfer the design to garment or substrates via heat press. This process offers several advantages over traditional printing methods, making it a preferred choice for many businesses.

How Does DTF Printing Work?

How does DTF Printing Work: Step-by-step Guide
  • Step 1: Print design on film
  • Step 2: Apply powder (either Manually or with shaker machine)
  • Step 3: Melt/cure the powder via curing oven or heat press
  • Step 4: Transfer design onto fabric with heat press
  • Step 5 – Cold peel/ hot peel, peel the carrier sheet off the garment or fabric.

What Are Suitable Fabric Materials for DTF Printing?

While DTG works best on 100% cotton, DTF works on many different garment materials: cotton, nylon, treated leather, polyester, etc.

  • Polyester fiber: Polyester is a synthetic fabric with a wide range of applications including sportswear, casual wear, swimwear, outwear, including lining.
  • Denim: Denim has always been very popular especially for denim jackets, jeans and skirts.
  • Cotton: Cotton fabric is more comfortable than polyester thus are popular choice for clothing and household items, such as decorative lining, bedding, children’s clothing and different professional items.
  • Leather: DTF printing is also suitable for leather and PU leather including leather bags, belts, clothes and shoes.
  • Nylon: Nylon fabric cannot be dyed or printed in high temperature environment, so direct jet printing is mostly used for printing, and acid dyes are also used. The difficulty of acid dyes lies in the unstable color and poor color fastness after printing. These problems have existed for a long time. While this won’t be a big problem for DTF printing.
  • Blended fabric (50/50 blend): Blended fabrics are fabrics that are composed of two different materials. For digital textile printers, each material requires different types of inks, we must use inks that are suitable for the main materials that make up the fabric. This also means that the ink won’t stain another material, resulting in lighter colors and white exposure, so printing blended fabrics is best done with a DTF printer to ensure color consistency.

What Are The Advantages of DTF Printing?

  • Versatility on Materials: DTF can be applied on a wide range of materials including, cotton, nylon, treated leather, polyester, 50/50 blends and more (light and dark fabrics).
  • Photo-realistic Details: As a modern digital printing process, DTF allows for high-resolution prints with vibrant colors and fine details.
  • Cost Effective: DTF printing can save up to 50% white ink and supplies are also significantly more affordable.
  • No Pretreat Required: Compared with DTG, you no longer have to worry about pretreating the garment prior to printing when applying DTF printing.
  • Production Speed: Since you essentially take out a step of pretreating, you’re able to speed up production.
  • Washability: DTF has been proven through testing to be equal to if not better than traditional direct-to-garment (DTG) printing.
  • Easy Application: DTF allows you to apply the artwork on hard-to-reach/ awkward parts of the garment or fabric with ease.
  • High Stretchability & Soft Touch: You might not get the same soft hand of DTG prints, but once transferred, a DTF print can still give you a decently soft touch

What You Need To Start DTF Printing?

  • Direct to Film Printer: There are dtf printers that are specifically made for direct to film.
  • DTF Film (DTF Transfer Film): DTF films are available in either cut sheets or rolls.
  • DTF Powder: DTF powder acts as the “glue adhesive” that binds the print to the fabric.
  • DTF Ink: We recommend using dtf ink that compatible with your dtf printer so there’s no clogging or other issues.
  • Software: There are few popular options in the market including DigiRIP RIP software customized for and provided along with DTF Station printers.
  • Heat Press: Heat press is essential to apply heat and pressure to transfer design on film onto fabric. Depending on the items intended for printing, you might need a flat press, mug press or hat press.

To learn more information, please click to check full DTF Printing solution we provide.

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