What is DTF (Direct To Film) Printing?

Direct Transfer Film (DTF) printing is a new printing technology that is similar to Direct to Garment (DTG) printing.  The main difference is that DTG technology is limited to printing only on cotton-based garments.

DTF printing is much more versatile and can print on a large range of apparel such as nylon, polyester, denim, silk, and of course cotton. Due to the increased number of printing applications, DTF printing is fast becoming one of the most popular methods to print t shirts and apparel.

Many people feel that it will only be a matter of time before DTF printing eclipses silkscreen printing as the most popular printing method.

The DTF printing process is remarkably similar to the Printable PU process in which both use printed transfer sheets to create (print) the image.  The transfer image is then pressed onto the garment using a heat press.

The Direct Transfer Film proves involves sophisticated computer technology that is capable of creating highly detailed, colorful prints for your t shirts and garments. Computer-aided technology also makes Direct Transfer Film a fast and economical printing method for large volumes of t shirts and garments.

DTF PRINTING PROCESS

The first step of DTF printing is to create a mirror image of the print design using a white base color.  The mirror image will be printed on a PET film, which will later be used to press the image onto the garment.

Step 2 – Powdering

This step is the application of hot-melt powder on the film that has the printed image on it. This process is done by Automatic Powder Shaker- to apply the powder evenly and also to remove the excess powder. It is very important to apply the correct amount of transfer powder, as the powder acts as a buffer between the image and the metal.

Step 3 – Melting the powder

After the transferred powder is applied, it is then placed in a curing oven and heated. The powder is heated until it begins to melt. The melted transfer powder acts as a strong adhesive to attach the image to the garment.

Step 4 Transfer

The transfer step occurs when the image and melted transfer powder are placed on the target garment and pressed uniformly using a heat press.  This process is a very important step as any failure in the process will lead to wrinkled or pealing images. 

Step 5 Cold Peel

The Cold Peel step occurs when the image print is peeled away from the transfer paper.  To maintain the highest level of adhesiveness’ the transfer paper must be removed when the image and garment cool to a certain temperature. If the garment is peeled too early the image may not fully adhere to the garment’s fibers.  It is interesting to note that the hot melted transfer powder is similar to amides, where it acts as a binder between the ink colors and the garment’s fibers.

Step 6 Post -pressing

Cuztom Life Printing likes to add an extra step to our printing process when using the DTF printing method.  We add a step 6 to ensure that our clients DFT printed t-shirts and garments images last a long time and can outlast the competition in both washes and user abrasions.

Our extra step involves one final press where we apply a heated press to the garment.  We feel that the second application of heat helps to strengthen the bond between the ink and the fibers.

Pros & Cons of DTF Printing 

Pros 

  1. Works with almost all types of fabrics
  2. Suitable for small wording printing
  3. Does not require pre-treatment like DTG
  4. Does not require a screen block like Silkscreen.
  5. No colors limit, can print any color.
  6. No cutting or weeding needed.
  7. Low minimum as low as one A2 size
  8. The fabric has a very slight hand feel touch and vibrant color.
  9. The Fabrics thus designed exhibit good wash characteristics.
  10. The process is faster and less tedious than DTG printing.

Cons

  1. The feel of the printed areas is slightly affected when compared to that of fabrics designed with DTG printing.
  2. More expensive if the printing area is large

Product Features

  • No minimums
    Perfect for small personalized projects, or for when you just need a couple more
  • Vivid colors that don’t fade
    These prints will look bright and vivid - no matter how many washes
  • Feels as good as it looks
    Our DTF prints are super thin and flex easily with any fabric
  • Super opaque whites
    You can apply our DTF transfers to any color garment - our whites will remain opaque and crisp

Recommended On

100% Cotton | 100% Polyester | Cotton/Poly Blends | Tri-blends