The Benefits and Process of DTF Printing

You may have recently heard of a new technology and its many terms, such as "DTF", "Direct to Film", "DTG Transfer", etc. We call it "DTF". You might be wondering what this so-called DTF printing is and why is it so popular?


Ⅰ. Understand DTF printing


Direct-to-Garment (DTG) transfer (also known as DTF) is exactly what it sounds like. You print the artwork on special thermal transfer film, which is then transferred to fabric or other textiles. DTF prints with high stretchability and soft hand feel without burning.


Ⅱ. The benefits of DTF printing


1. Material versatility: DTF can be applied to a wide variety of materials, including cotton, nylon, treated leather, polyester, 50/50 blends, and more (light and dark fabrics). 


2. Cost-effective: Save up to 50% on DTF white ink, and supplies are more affordable.


3. No Pretreatment Required: If you come from a direct garment background, you must be familiar with pretreatment of garments before printing. With DTF, you no longer need to worry about preprocessing garments before printing. 


4. No A+B paper bonding process: If you come from a white toner laser printer background, you will be happy to hear that DTF printing does not require an expensive A+B paper bonding process.


5. Production speed: Since you basically take the preprocessing step, you can speed up the production. 


6. Washability: Has been tested and proven to be equivalent to, or even better than, traditional direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. 


7. Easy to apply: DTF allows you to easily apply artwork to difficult/embarrassing parts of garments or fabrics.


3. The process of DTF printing


Step 1 Printing on PET heat transfer film: You have to print CMYK first, then the white layer, which is the opposite of direct to garment. This can easily be done in one go by software. Other software will require you to run DTF print twice to accomplish this. Step 2 Apply the powder: Apply the powder evenly while the print is still damp to ensure it adheres. Carefully shake off excess powder so there is no residue other than the print. This is very important as this is the glue that holds the print to the fabric.


Step 3 Melt/Cure Powder: Cure the new powder print by hovering in a heat press at 350°F for 2 minutes. Step 4 Transfer: Now that the transfer print is cooked, you can transfer it to the garment. Transfer the printed film using a heat press at 284°F for 15 seconds. Step 5 Cold Skin: Wait until the print is completely cool before tearing the PET film from the garment or fabric.

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