Can DTF printing for shirts & other garments be a game-changer for your business?

Can DTF printing for shirts & other garments be a game-changer for your business?

Nov 20, 2023Foxtree Designs

Looking for new printing methods with incredible color vibrancy that can help you expand your range of product offering? DTF, or Direct-To-Film printing, is one of the most versatile techniques to take your garments business to the next level! The DTF process involves printing the design onto a film, which is then transferred to the garment using a heat press.

While most print methods are limited to a range of similar fabrics, like cotton and cotton-blended materials, with DTF printing for shirts, T-shirts, and other garments, you can work even with more rigid fabrics like polyester, fleece, nylon, and, of course, classic cotton.

What is DTF printing?

DTF stands for direct-to-film printing. This is the process that involves printing your design straight onto a printing film and then transferring it to any T-shirt made of cotton, polyester, or their mixes, irrespective of color, because white ink may be used now. Although DTF printing appears to be just a version of transfer printing, it requires a desktop inkjet printer equipped with DTF-specific textile inks.

The best feature of DTF printing is its versatility, which can be printed on any fabric, making it to stand out from all other printing technologies. You can also print on polyester, cotton, silk, or synthetic textiles like rayon or terrycloth.

DTF printing is also noted for its ability to generate very high-quality, full-color graphics on several types of materials like dark and colorful fabrics, compared to the other printing technologies like screen printing or sublimation printing. DTF is also quick and very straightforward to start, with no high minimum order quantities, making it a very popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses.

DTF Printing Durability:

DTF printing durability is what usually sets them apart from the other printing technologies. It prints vibrant and bright colors, has pleasing gradations, and is fade and peel-proof.

So, does DTF printing for shirts last long? Of course, it lasts much longer than the fabric itself.


DTF printers enable a relatively high level of customization as they can print patterns, photos, and text onto fabric in different colors and fabrics. They can also be customized. With DTF printing, the pattern is first pressed with a film that enables highly accurate ink amounts, producing vibrant colors, and the opaque whites, and amazingly sharp and delicate edges. DTF film absorbs practically almost every drop of color, allowing high detail levels and color gradients.

DTF Printing Process:

DTF, or direct-to-film printing, is a greatly novel technique that allows users to print the graphics directly onto the specific films. These films are then applied to the chosen fabric.

Like the other heat transfer methods, a high-quality printer and heat press are needed to maximize this procedure. The DTF printing process is also simple and easy. Here's how to go about it stepwise:

#Step 1: DTF Printing:

A PET film is used in DTF process to achieve the desired quality. Print the chosen image on PET film, with white at the background. Then, choose the desired color and print the image on a white layer. Remember that the image on the film must also be reversed.

PET films have a good thickness of around 0.75mm, which gives them greater transmitting properties. These films are also known on the market as DTF Transfer Films.

They are available as the cut sheets for small-scale applications or as rolls for the large commercial settings. PET Films are also classified into two types based on their temperature. These are called cold-peel and hot-peel films, respectively.

#Step 2: Ink Drying:

Once your design is printed on the film, it is dried using powdered glue on the back to secure the print. This powder acts as the adhesive between the ink and the fabric.

#Step 3: Film Transfer:

The final and crucial step includes transferring the film onto the fabric using heat press machine. The film is then peeled away from the material while transferring the design to the fabric.

How long does DTF printing last?

When you print on the film, the design is printed onto the film in the layers with internal cohesion. The design is then applied to the film layer by layer, and the dense coat of ink is pressed into the garment's fibers.

DTF (direct-to-film) transfers are far better than the traditional transfers. The ink and adhesive layers press into the garment. When pressed, the patterns reflect the garment's texture, providing a more comfortable feel. It means it's far more durable and will last longer, even after several washes.

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