Direct to Garment: what’s the difference with DTF? PrintMyDTF answers you!
Direct to Garment printing, also known as DTG, is another option in the wide world of textile printing techniques. Using water-based inks, this method allows for direct printing on fabric. Although it offers some flexibility for more complex designs, it differs from other techniques such as DTF, which remains the benchmark in terms of quality and durability.
Differences between DTG and DTF
The DTG (Direct To Garment) method is a textile printing option that has several advantages, but it is not necessarily the best option in all situations. PrintMyDTF gives you some reasons why you might choose DTG transfer.
- Ink quality : The ink used in DTG is water-based, which allows good absorption by the fabric fibers. However, this ink may be less durable than ink types used in other methods like DTF, especially when it comes to resistance to washing and fading.
- Precision in lines : This method allows extremely fine droplets of ink to be deposited directly on the textile, which allows a very high level of detail.
- Fabric Limitations : Although DTG is quite versatile, it works best on 100% cotton fabrics. Fabric blends or synthetic fabrics may not achieve the same quality results.
- Its flexibility in terms of quantity: Unlike other methods such as screen printing, which require initial setup costs, DTG allows prints on demand. This means you can print as little as a single unit without incurring additional costs.
How does DTG printing work?
- Design Preparation: The design is first created or adjusted using graphic design software. It is then sent to the DTG printer via RIP software which converts the data into instructions for the print heads.
- Textile pretreatment : The garment is pretreated with a chemical solution to improve ink adhesion. This step is crucial for the quality and durability of the print.
- Textile Placement : The garment is then placed on a platform or “pallet” inside the DTG printer. This platform keeps the textile flat during printing.
- Printing : The print heads of the DTG printer spray water-based ink directly onto the textile. Colors are applied in layers, often starting with a white base coat to make the colors pop.
- Ink Drying : After printing, the garment is removed from the platform and the ink must be fixed to ensure durability and wash resistance. This is usually done using a heat press or tunnel dryer.
- Quality Control : Once the garment is printed and dried, it goes through quality control to ensure the print meets quality standards.
- Packing and Shipping : After quality check, the garment is ready to be packed and shipped to the customer or stored for future use.
DTG printing: what supports are possible?The most common substrates for this technique are cotton and cotton-blend garments, as they provide a textile surface suitable for printing.
- T-shirts : Cotton t-shirts are one of the most popular media for DTG transfer due to their versatility and comfort.
- Sweatshirts : Cotton or cotton blend sweatshirts are also commonly used for this type of printing.
- Shirts : Shirts made of cotton or similar fabrics can be personalized with DTG transfers.
- Polo Shirts : Cotton polo shirts are another possible choice for this type of print.
- Children's clothing : Cotton children's clothing, such as bodysuits, pajamas and t-shirts, can also be personalized with DTG transfers.
- Sportswear : Sports jerseys made of appropriate fabric are often personalized with DTG transfer to display team logos, player names, etc.
- Cotton Fabrics : In addition to clothing, DTG transfer can be used to personalize pieces of cotton fabric, such as flags, pillowcases, towels, etc.
It is important to note that DTG transfer generally works best on cotton or cotton blend fabrics, as DTG inks are designed to adhere effectively to these types of materials. Synthetic or very stretchy fabrics may not be suitable for this technique as the ink may not adhere properly.
Alternatives to DTG printing
- DTF (Direct To Film) Transfer: This method transfers designs or images onto textiles using a special printer and transfer film, providing a high-quality print with precise detail.
- Iron-on transfer : With this technique, a pattern or image is printed on a special support, then attached to a fabric using a heat press.
- Flocking : Flocking involves applying a raised material to a textile using glue or thermal adhesive, creating a soft, velvety texture, typically used for lettering or logos.
- Sublimation : This method uses special heated inks to transform them from a solid to a gaseous state, which allows them to permanently penetrate the textile fibers.
- Digital four-color process : Using the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), this technique allows you to create a full range of tints and shades to print complex colors or gradients.
- F lex : Flex involves cutting the heat transfer material into shapes or lettering, which are then applied to the textile using a heat press to achieve important details
- Screen printing transfer : Ink is pushed through a fine mesh screen (screen printing screen) to create patterns on a support, which is then transferred to the textile. This technique is ideal for color prints and on dark textiles.