Recently you may have come across discussions debating Direct to Film (DTF) printing versus DTG printing and wondered about the advantages of DTF technology. While DTG printing produces high-quality full size prints with brilliant colors and an incredibly soft hand feel, DTF printing definitely has some benefits that make it the perfect addition for your garment printing business. Let’s get into the details!
Direct to film printing involves printing a design onto a special film, applying and melting a powder adhesive to the printed film, and pressing the design onto the garment or merchandise. You will need transfer film and hot melt powder, as well as the software to create your print – no other special equipment is needed! Below, we discuss seven advantages of this newer technology.
1. Apply to a wide variety of materials
While direct to garment printing works best on 100% cotton, DTF works on many different garment materials: cotton, nylon, treated leather, polyester, 50/50 blends, and both light and dark fabrics. The transfers can even be applied to different types of surfaces like luggage, shoes, and even glass, wood, and metal! You can expand your inventory by applying your designs to a whole variety of merchandise with DTF.
2. No need for pretreatment
If you already own a DTG printer, you are probably quite familiar with the pretreatment process (not to mention the drying time). The hot melt power that is applied to the DTF transfers bonds the print directly to the material, meaning no pretreatment is necessary!
3. Use less white ink
DTF requires less white ink – about 40% white versus 200% white for DTG printing. White ink tends to be the most expensive since more of it is used, so reducing the amount of white ink used for your prints can be quite a money saver.
4. More durable than DTG prints
There’s no denying that DTG prints have soft, barely-there hand feel because the ink is applied directly to the garment. While DTF prints don’t have the same soft hand feel that DTG can boast, the transfers are more durable. Direct to film transfers wash well, and are flexible – meaning they won’t crack or peel, making them great for heavy-use items.
5. Easy application
Printing onto a film transfer means you can place your design on hard-to-reach or awkward surfaces. If the area can be heated, you can can apply a DTF design to it! Because all it takes is heat to adhere the design, you can even sell your printed transfers directly to your customers and allow them to allay the design to whatever surface or item they choose with no special equipment!
6. Faster production process
Since you can eliminate the step of pretreating and drying your garment, you can cut down on production time significantly. That’s great news for one-off or small-volume orders that traditionally wouldn’t be profitable.
7. Helps keep your inventory more versatile
While it might not be feasibly to print a stockpile of of your most popular designs onto every size or color garment, with DTF printing you can print popular designs in advance and store them using very little space. Then you can have your best-sellers always ready to apply to any garment as needed!
While DTF printing still isn’t a replacement for DTG, there are lots of reasons why DTF can be a great addition to your business. If you are thinking of adding this handy technology to your arsenal, the process is easy with the RICOH Ri 1000 and RICOH Ri 2000 DTG printers! If you already own one of these DTG printers, you can add DTF printing with a simple software upgrade.