Common Troubleshooting FAQ for DTF Prints

DTF prints FAQs

As DTF (Direct To Film) prints gradually enter the decorating market, customers have questions that need answering. Below, we answer some common questions about DTF, also known as Direct Film.

What is DTF print?  DTF is a new technology that has an advantage of printing clear and clean transfers on light or dark shirts. This printing method works on materials such as 100% cotton, polyester, 50/50 blends, leather, nylon, and more.

What is the quality of DTF printing?  Unlike other transfers with laser and inkjet printers, which leave behind low-quality products after a couple of washes,  DTF printing is very good and does not leave cracks in the imprint.

What is the difference between DTF print and DTG printing? If comparing DTF print and DTG printing, the printing process is the same. The only difference between them is the printing method and the final touch. Both options are digital printing, and do not require art separation like screen printing. DTF print, like DTF hot peel, is printed on transparent matte film, then coated with special strong adhesive, and after heating is applied to the product, while DTG printing prints directly on the shirt. As for the touch, DTF print gives a closer but lighter feel than HTV-vinyl transfer. For DTG printing, the imprint is directly printed on the shirt and feels smooth, as if the shirt was made with printing.

Understanding the durability of DTF t-shirt printing

In terms of durability, we are concerned about the stretchability and washability of the imprint. The first refers to the degree to which the printed material can recover to its original shape after being stretched by hand multiple times. The second refers to the durability of the print effect after multiple washes in the washing machine.

For digital direct-to-garment printing, printed clothing that has been appropriately pre-treated and cured is very durable. DTG printing can usually last up to 50 washes - with extra care; it may last even longer. Note that this may depend on the fabric and ink used. After a while, you may notice scattered cracks or fading in various parts of the print.

The type of ink, pre-treatment solution, and curing method are some factors that affect the stretch resistance or other forms of wear and tear of the printed material. Testing should help you achieve a good balance and get the best results in printing. Using a second heat press can also ensure that the ink is fixed to the substrate and further improve its durability.

Take a DTF t-shirt printing shirt and stretch the design as much as possible. You may notice that once you stop, the design returns to its original shape - with no stretch marks, tears, or damage! Their durability in washing is also better than DTG, especially if you carefully care for the garment. Nevertheless, your mileage may vary depending on the type of consumables and printing methods you use. Even DTF heat transfer printing film prints can benefit from a second heat press with precision finishing paper.

Which solution should you choose, DTG printing or DTF t-shirt printing?

DTG printing or DTF t-shirt printing will provide you with flexibility in various ways, depending on where you are currently in your business. If you are willing to accept small orders of custom shirts with complex designs and vibrant color ranges at a relatively fast pace, then DTG printing is your best choice. The initial entry cost may be a tough hurdle, but if you can demonstrate that the cost is reasonable, the return on investment - and potential for rapid growth of your customers - is well worth it.

If you want to be able to meet medium to large orders of various materials, then DTF t-shirt printing is a good choice. DTF transfer is a direct way to expand market share because you can easily print designs of various material types that are suitable for a wide audience. In addition, DTF transfer is economical and environmentally friendly, as it requires less ink than DTG.

Unfortunately, DTG printing is incompatible with non-cotton-based materials such as nylon or polyester. DTG printing works better on cotton and specific cotton blends (such as canvas or hemp) because the water-based ink easily and permanently absorbs into the fabric. Materials such as polyester have waterproof properties that make the ink difficult to remain on the surface.

The versatility of DTF transfer printing and DTG

Due to the use of DTF transfer film, DTF transfer shines in this respect. You can quickly transfer designs to substrates such as polyester, silk, nylon, and more. In fact, why stop there? We've already mentioned the ability to store printed film and apply it to other things; put your designs on mugs, thermoses and signs - the possibilities are endless!

Not only that, DTF t-shirt printing cannot be printed on specific parts of the garment, such as the collar or cuffs of shirt sleeves. This could be due to the different materials used to make these parts or the smaller area they have for printing. In contrast, DTF t-shirt printing can do this easily because you can customize the size of the design on the film. It only needs careful positioning when heat pressing it onto the substrate.

The color vitality of DTF transfer printing and DTG

DTG and DTF transfers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), which accurately conveys color once printed to the physical medium. You can capture eye-catching vibrant colors, even though it might not be as bright as a screen-printed design. Screen printing is still leading the pack thanks to its ink-matched color range from Pantone. Therefore, screen printing can meet the needs of corporate customers who need to print their company logo in the correct color gamut.

Fortunately, you'll get excellent color mixing characteristics from DTG and DTF transfer prints. Gradients and subtle elements in your designs are easy to capture or reproduce, thanks to the ink's watery and transparent properties. Inks can be easily combined into beautiful mixtures.

Screen printing can be difficult to replicate these design elements because it is tedious to print complex designs in multiple colors. You'll need to repeatedly apply all the colors you need and clean multiple screens over and over again to accurately capture the details of each different color in your design. Because no two monitors, printers, and color inks are the same, you need to be able to manage color expectations. The RGB color gamut is used in the digital design process, while printed garments use CMYK inks. When you print out your design, the colors won't be exactly what your client expects.

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