Those of us of a certain age can remember going to a street fair or carnival and going to the booth to get a t-shirt with a picture of our favorite superhero, sports team, or television show. You would choose the picture and what color t-shirt you wanted, and you watched as the person who ran the booth slid your shirt over a pad, placed the image on the shirt, and pressed the shirt with an iron or heat press, transferring the image onto the shirt. It instantly became your favorite shirt until you either outgrew it or the transferred image started to peel after several times through the laundry.
Direct to Film, or DTF printing, takes this old-style transfer into the 21st century. While the last step for getting your image onto your t-shirt is amazingly similar to the old-school transfers, the process of getting there is entirely different.
As the name suggests, you first print your image directly onto a special film called DTF Film. To do that, you are going to need some specialized equipment.
You will need an inkjet printer, but you will probably not be able to use the one sitting on your desk. Instead, you will need a modified or specially designed printer with six ink channels, including white. You are also going to need special ink. DTF Ink is very elastic and is specifically designed for printing on different garments. The elasticity allows the shirt to move freely without the ink creasing, scratching, or peeling. DTF powder then acts as an adhesive between the ink and the cotton fibers helping to hold the ink in place.
To print your image on the DTF Film, special printer software called RIP software is needed. The software ensures that the CMYK and White colored layers are all laid down correctly in the right order since the modified printer will not be able to print the correct color order on its own.
You will then need a heat press, which is the part that is reminiscent of the old days at the street fair.
While the printing process is more complex than other types of printing, there are many advantages to DTF Printing.
You can print on shirts of any color or fabric. Traditional DTG or Direct to Garment printing prefers 100% cotton or a shirt with at least 50% cotton so the material can absorb the ink. DTF doesn’t have this limitation, and the film’s image can be transferred to a cotton shirt or any other fabric, such as polyester or a cotton-poly blend, without worry. DTF can also print on any color and can work with white ink.
As we mentioned, DTF ink is very elastic and will not crack when the material is worn or stretched. DTF printing also has a very high wash and wear resistance, so your shirt will last.
Burhani Signs and Graphic now has its own DTF Printing capability so that we can print any number of shirts from 1 to over 1 thousand, and we can do it efficiently and at a cost that won’t break the bank.
DTF Printing is perfect for anyone looking for a high level of personalization. While we are talking about t-shirts, we can transfer the image on the film to sweatshirts or practically anything else. If you are interested in personalized shirts using DTF Printing, call us.