Direct-to-Film (DTF) printing is a versatile technique that involves printing designs onto special films for transfer to garments. Its thermal transfer process allows similar durability to traditional screen printing.
DTF works by printing a transfer on a film, which is then heat-pressed to a variety of garments. While DTG (Direct to Garment) technology is only suitable for cotton fabrics, there are many materials that are compatible with DTF printing.
DTF printers are inexpensive compared to DTG or screen printing technologies. For best results, DTF powder, printable double-sided cold-peel PET film (for printing transfer films), and high-quality DTF inks are required.
Compared with other printing technologies, DTF printing has greater versatility. DTF can be printed on a variety of fabrics, including cotton, nylon, rayon, polyester, leather, silk, and more.
DTF printing has revolutionized the textile industry and provides an update for textile creation in the digital age. The DTF printing process is simple: digital artwork is created, printed on film, and then transferred to fabric.
1. It's easy to learn
2. No need to pre-treat the fabric
3. The process uses about 75% less ink.
4. Better printing quality
5. Compatible with many types of materials
6. Unmatched quality and high productivity
7. Requires less space than other technologies
8. DTF printing is ideal for small and medium businesses
9. The DTF printing process enables creators to get to work faster than DTG or screen printing techniques.
On this basis, a simple DTF four-step process produces fabrics that feel softer and more washable.
Step 1: Insert the PET film into the printer tray and print.
Step 2: Spread the hot melt glue powder on the image printed film.
Step 3: Melt the powder.
Step 4: Pre-press the fabric.
Designing a DTF print is as easy as designing on paper: your design is sent from the computer to the DTF machine, and the printer does the rest. Although DTF printers look different from traditional paper printers, they function much like other inkjet printers.
By contrast, screen printing involves dozens of steps, which means it's usually only cost-effective for the simplest designs or printing large numbers of items.
Although screen printing still has a place in the apparel industry, DTF printing is more affordable for small businesses or textile institutions that want to make small orders.
(1) DTF printing offers more design options
Screen printing of complex patterns is not feasible due to the high workload. However, with DTF printing technology, printing complex and multi-color graphics is not the same as printing simple designs.
DTF also makes it possible for creators to make DIY hats, bags and other items.
(2) DTF printing is more sustainable and less expensive than other methods
With the increasing focus on sustainability in the fashion industry, another advantage of DTF printing over conventional printing is its highly sustainable technology.
DTF printing helps prevent overproduction, a common problem in the textile industry. In addition, the inks used by digital direct jet printers are water-based and environmentally friendly.
DTF printing enables one-off designs, eliminating waste of unsold inventory.
Compared to screen printing, DTF printing is less expensive. For small batch orders, the unit printing cost of DTF printing is lower than the traditional screen printing process.