How is Direct to Garment (DTG) printing done?
Direct to Garment (DTG) is a method where a printer directly applies the ink onto the t-shirt with inkjet technology. It involves a special printer, which prints the ink directly onto the garment in the desired design. DTG uses specialty inks, which are absorbed by the fibers of the garment.
Since the DTG printer is as precise as…well…a printer, you’re able to print images in much higer detail than screen printing, and you’re not limited in color. Because the printer can print any image, customization is simple. This is also a good option for those who don’t have a lot of money to make an up-front investment for a large batch, because each t-shirt can be ordered separately.
A primary advantage of DTG printing is the lack of set-up costs no minimums quantity and no extra cost for multi colors used and instant turnaround time not associated with traditional garment printing methods such as screen printing.
Direct-to-garment printing, also known as DTG printing, digital direct to garment printing, digital apparel printing, and inkjet to garment printing, is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology.
Direct to garment (DTG) printing is most commonly implemented on garments that are made of cotton or cotton blends. Printing on dark garments must first be pre-treated for white ink to not absorb into the fabric similar to primer on drywall before painting with paint.
Q. Why DTG over other traditional methods of t-shirt decoration?
A. Digital direct-to-garment printing allows a much wider range of colors, tones and effects than traditional screen printing at the same time it produces much higher quality output than you can get through transfers. Direct to garment inks are water based which means that the prints have a much softer “hand” (softer to the touch) than plastisol screen prints. Most importantly, direct-to-garment printing allows you to print from one-off designs and prints to small and medium sized production runs. There are no film or screen setups involved and control over inventory are just a few examples of the benefits of DTG printing.
Q. How many colors can I produce using a DTG printer?
A. Direct to garment printers use process inks in cyan, magenta, yellow and black to generate the colors you send from your computer. These colors allow for the generation of millions of colors. Additionally, DTG direct to garment printers also include white ink which is used as a base on dark garments to allow for the reproduction of this same range of colors on dark textiles. Think of it like your desktop inkjet printer – only printing on t-shirts instead of paper.
Q. Do the prints stand up to washing?
A. Yes, you will get excellent washfastness out of your DTG printed garments. Better grade t-shirts will be more washfast than lower grade garments. The ink technology used in direct to garment printing is nearly a decade old and very proven. With proper treatment after printing you can rest assured that you will be very satisfied with the wear of the images on your printed garment.
Q. Can you print on items other than t-shirts and other garments?
A. Yes – there are many products that can be printed easily if it;s none coated fabric for the ink to penetrate into the fabric, mouse pads, aprons, cotton carry bags just to name a few.
Do screen-printed T-shirts last longer than DTG-printed shirts?
Neither printing process will fade faster than the other; you don’t have to worry about DTG prints washing out the first time you stick it in your washing machine. However, we all have that T-shirt from middle school sitting at the bottom of our drawer that’s faded and worn itself out over time. We can’t promise that your T-shirt will last forever (as much as you want it to), but we can guarantee a quality print no matter which process you choose to use.