DTG printing has changed the world of textile printing. It is a digital printing method that print full-color images onto a wide range of fabrics in few minutes. Dissimilar traditional printing methods, DTG printing does not require things like screens, stencils, or any other kind of physical setup, making this method a versatile and cost-effective solution for small-scale printing business. In this blog post, we’ll take a tour into the world of DTG printing, exploring its meaning, history, and the things you need to check before print your fabrics through Direct to Garment process. We’ll also look at the different types of Direct to Garment printing, how it differ from other printing methods, its advantages and disadvantages, and the fabrics that are best compatible for Direct To Garment printing.
In addition, we’ll know the latest trends in DTG printing for 2023 and provide you with a list of affordable machines for DTG printing. We’ll also explore other products that can be used in DTG printing and give you some tips on where to get your DTG printing products. So, whether you’re a entrepreneur looking to start a small-scale printing business or a designer looking to create unique design and personalized garments, this blog post will provide you with everything you need to know about Direct to Garment printing.
- DTG printing meaning
- History Of DTG printing
- Things to check before DTG printing
- Process of DTG printing
- Types of DTG printing
- Difference between DTG printing v/s other printing methods
- Advantages and disadvantages of DTG printing
- Fabrics that used in DTG printing
- DTG printing latest trends 2023
- List of best affordable machines for DTG printing
- Where to get your DTG printing products
“DTG printing ables the printing of multiple colors simultaneously, unlike screen printing where separate screens are needed for each color.”
DTG printing meaning
DTG printing, or Direct-to-Garment printing, is a printing method used to print designs or images directly onto clothing using a specialized printer. Instead of using traditional screen printing methods, DTG printing sprays ink onto the fabric, resulting in highly detailed and colorful designs. It is particularly useful for smaller print runs as there are no minimum order requirements. DTG printing is commonly used for custom t-shirts or other clothing items that require complicated designs.
“DTG printing originated within the past due 1990s, but it failed to gain vast adoption till the mid-2000s”
History Of DTG printing
DTG printing is one of the youngest printing method in the world. This printing method emerged in 1996 and has gained significant popularity in recent times.
The DTG printing revolution began when Digital Textile Printing (DTP) introduced the first DTG printer in 1996. This printer was capable of producing high-quality images directly on garments, which was a marked improvement over traditional screen printing methods.
The first company to adopt the DTG printing method was Brother Industries, a Japanese firm that began manufacturing DTG printers in the early 2000s. Garment makers and custom printing shops quickly embraced these printers, and DTG printing became a preferred method for producing custom t-shirts and other clothing.
The initial DTG printed t-shirt was created in 1998 and featured a white rabbit logo on a black t-shirt. The process was initially slow and costly, but as the technology progressed, it became more efficient, quicker, and more cost-effective.
DTG printing became well-known in the early 2000s after it was utilized to print t-shirts for major events like the Olympics and the World Cup. Additionally, it gained recognition in the fashion industry, as designers began to use DTG printing to develop unique and intricate designs on clothing.
“in the world of T Shirt Printing DTG printers use water-based inks that are more environmentally friendly and generate less waste than traditional printing methods.”
Things to check before DTG printing
Prior to using DTG (Direct-to-Garment) printing, there are certain factors that must be considered. These include:
Garment Compatibility :
The first aspect to evaluate is whether the fabric to be printed on is appropriate for the DTG printing process. DTG printing is most effective on 100% cotton fabrics, but can also be utilized on blends with some polyester or rayon content. It is recommended to avoid printing on fabrics that contain a significant amount of nylon.
File Resolution and Color :
To guarantee a clear and crisp print, ensure that your design file has a high resolution (at minimum 300 dpi). It is also important to consider the color of your design and whether it will appear as vibrant on the garment as it does on your computer screen. Adjusting color settings and using a calibrated monitor can help to ensure accurate color reproduction.
Garment Color :
DTG printing is most effective on light-colored garments such as white or pastel shades. Printing on darker garments may require pre-treatment, which adds an additional step to the process and may impact the final print quality.
Print Size and Placement :
DTG printers have a maximum print size, so it’s important to ensure that your design fits within these limits. Additionally, the placement of your design on the garment must be taken into consideration. The fabric’s texture or seams can affect the final print quality and may require adjustments to your design.
Pre-treatment and Post-treatment :
Applying a solution to pre-treat the garment can help the ink adhere more effectively to the fabric and enhance the final print quality. Post-treatment, such as curing the print with heat, can help ensure the design is long-lasting even after multiple washes.
“During nowdays because of constant advancement in the field of Printing, DTG printing equipment can be costly to acquire.”
Process of DTG printing
The procces of DTG printing is not quantam physics its very simple, don’t believe ? Read below point one by one and definatly will beleive on it
Design creation :
First, the design is created digitally on a computer using specialized graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator . This design will be printed onto the garment using the DTG printer.
Before printing, the garment is pre-treated with a solution that helps the ink adhere to the fabric. This step is important to ensure the design looks crisp and vibrant on the final product.
Loading the garment :
The pre-treated garment is loaded onto the DTG printer, which uses advanced technology to print the design directly onto the fabric.
Once the garment is loaded, the DTG printer begins the printing process. The printer applies ink directly onto the fabric, using a series of nozzles to create the design. The amount of ink applied to the garment is controlled precisely to ensure that the design looks crisp and vibrant.
After printing, the garment is put through a heat press or conveyor dryer to cure the ink. This step ensures that the ink dries completely and is properly bonded to the fabric.
Once the ink is cured, the garment is inspected for quality and any finishing touches, such as folding or packaging, are completed.
“DTG printing can be applied to a range of fabric types, including cotton, polyester, and blended fabrics.”
Types of DTG printing
Their are mainly 3 types of DTG printing methods
White shirt printing :
This is the simplest and most common type of DTG printing. It involves printing a design directly onto a white or light-colored garment, such as a t-shirt or hoodie. The DTG printer applies ink directly onto the fabric, creating a vibrant and detailed design.
Dark shirt printing :
This type of DTG printing is more complex and requires specialized equipment. It involves printing a design onto a dark-colored garment, such as a black t-shirt. To achieve this, the garment is first pre-treated with a white base layer. The DTG printer then prints the design onto the white base layer, creating a vibrant and detailed design that stands out against the dark fabric.
All-over printing :
All-over printing is a type of DTG printing that allows for a design to be printed over the entire surface of a garment, including the sleeves and sides. This type of printing requires specialized equipment, such as a large-format DTG printer and a heat press. The garment is printed in sections, and then each section is aligned and pressed together to create a seamless, all-over design.
“One of the advantages of DTG printing is its ability to produce intricate and highly detailed designs, such as photographic images or complex patterns.”
Difference between DTG printing v/s other printing methods
DTG printing sets itself apart from other printing methods in several key aspects. Let’s compare it to some popular alternatives:
Screen Printing: DTG Printing :
Unlike screen printing, which requires separate screens for each color, DTG printing can print multiple colors at once. This eliminates the need for complex color separation and screen setup processes, making DTG printing more efficient and time-saving. Additionally, DTG printing excels in capturing fine details and subtle color gradients, providing high-resolution prints.
DTF (Direct-to-Film) Printing vs DTG Printing :
Unlike DTF printing, which involves printing on a specialized film and then transferring it onto the garment using heat and pressure, DTG printing directly applies ink onto the fabric. This eliminates the intermediate steps and produces a softer, more comfortable feel on the garment. DTG printing also offers greater detail and color accuracy compared to DTF printing.
Embroidery vs DTG Printing :
In contrast to embroidery, which involves stitching a design onto the fabric using threads, DTG printing offers more versatility in terms of design complexity and color variations. DTG printing can reproduce intricate designs, gradients, and even photorealistic images accurately. Additionally, it is a more cost-effective option for small quantities or single pieces, as embroidery can be time-consuming and expensive for intricate designs.
Heat Transfer Printing vs DTG Printing :
Heat transfer printing involves printing a design onto a transfer paper and then transferring it onto the garment using heat and pressure. Compared to this method, DTG printing provides superior detail and color accuracy. DTG printing also eliminates the need for transfer paper, resulting in a softer and more breathable print that integrates seamlessly with the fabric.
Sublimation Printing vs DTG Printing :
Sublimation printing involves transferring ink onto a special coated substrate, typically polyester, through heat and pressure. DTG printing, on the other hand, can be used on a wide range of fabric types, including cotton and polyester blends, providing more versatility in garment selection. DTG printing also offers more flexibility in terms of design complexity and customization options.
In summary, DTG printing offers several advantages over other printing methods. It allows for printing multiple colors at once without the need for separate screens (unlike screen printing), provides high-resolution prints with fine details and color accuracy (unlike DTF printing), offers versatility in design complexity and customization options (unlike embroidery), produces softer and more breathable prints (unlike heat transfer printing), and can be used on various fabric types (unlike sublimation printing). These advantages make DTG printing a preferred choice for many applications, including on-demand printing, custom designs, and high-quality garment production.
Advantages and disadvantages of DTG printing
DTG printing produces high-quality prints with vibrant colors and fine details. The ink is directly absorbed by the fabric, resulting in a soft and comfortable feel without compromising the print’s quality. This makes DTG printing ideal for intricate designs, photographs, and artworks where every detail matters.
Suitable for Complex Designs
With DTG printing, there are no design limitations. It allows you to print intricate designs, gradients, and even photorealistic images with ease. Unlike other printing methods that may struggle with complex designs, DTG printing excels in reproducing intricate details accurately.
Cost-Effective for Small Print Runs
Traditional printing methods often involve costly setup fees, especially for small print runs. DTG printing eliminates the need for screens or plates, reducing setup costs significantly. This makes DTG printing a cost-effective solution for small quantities, allowing you to print as few as one item without breaking the bank.
Quick Turnaround Time
In ongoing fast running world, quick turnaround times are very crucial. DTG printing excels in this aspect, as it requires minimal setup and preparation. Once the design is ready, it can be printed directly onto the fabric, reducing production time significantly. This makes DTG printing an excellent choice for urgent orders or time-sensitive projects.
DTG printing is considered a more environmentally friendly printing method compared to traditional screen printing. Traditional methods often generate waste due to excessive ink usage and the need for screens or transfer papers. DTG printing minimizes ink waste by printing only what is needed, reducing the environmental impact.
Limited Color Options
While DTG printing offers excellent color accuracy, it has limitations when it comes to printing certain colors, such as fluorescent or metallic shades. The available color range may vary depending on the printer and ink used. This can be a drawback if your design relies heavily on specific colors that are not easily achievable with DTG printing.
Higher Cost for Large Quantities
When it comes to large-scale production, DTG printing may not be the most cost-effective option. While it is ideal for small print runs, the cost per unit increases significantly for larger quantities. In such cases, traditional screen printing methods may offer more economical solutions.
Limited Fabric Compatibility
DTG printing works best on 100% cotton fabrics or fabrics with a high cotton content. It may not deliver the same level of quality and durability on fabrics with synthetic fibers or blends. If you intend to print on non-cotton fabrics, it is advisable to conduct tests beforehand to ensure satisfactory results.
Requires Specialized Equipment and Skills
DTG printing requires specialized equipment, including inkjet printers designed for fabric printing. These printers can be costly, especially for high-quality and commercial-grade models. Additionally, operating and maintaining the equipment demands specific skills and knowledge. It is crucial to have trained personnel who understand the nuances of DTG printing for optimal results.
Potential for Inconsistent Results
While DTG printing offers exceptional print quality, there is a possibility of inconsistent results. Factors such as fabric texture, moisture content, and color variations may affect the final outcome. It is essential to have proper quality control measures in place to minimize variations and ensure consistent results across different prints.
“Small print runs, such as customized t-shirts or personalized clothing items, are well-suited to DTG printing.”
Fabrics that used in DTG printing
DTG printing, or Direct-to-Garment printing, offers a wide range of fabrics that can be beautifully adorned with vibrant designs. Here are some of the fabrics commonly used in DTG printing:
A timeless favorite, cotton is a versatile fabric that is comfortable and breathable. It allows for excellent ink absorption, resulting in vivid and long-lasting prints.
Known for its durability and moisture-wicking properties, polyester is a popular choice for athletic apparel and performance wear. DTG printing on polyester can produce vibrant colors and sharp details.
Fabric blends, such as cotton-polyester blends, offer the best of both worlds. They combine the softness of cotton with the strength and flexibility of polyester. DTG printing on blends can result in vibrant prints that retain their shape and color well.
Tri-blend fabrics typically consist of a combination of cotton, polyester, and rayon. These fabrics are incredibly soft and lightweight, making them ideal for fashion-forward designs. DTG printing on tri-blends can yield a vintage, worn-in look with a soft hand feel.
Linen is a natural fabric known for its breathability and lightweight nature. It has a textured surface that adds a unique aesthetic to printed designs. DTG printing on linen can produce artistic and rustic-looking prints.
With its luxurious feel and delicate drape, silk is a fabric associated with elegance and sophistication. DTG printing on silk requires careful handling due to its delicate nature, but it can result in stunning, high-end designs.
Denim is a sturdy and durable fabric typically associated with jeans and casual wear. DTG printing on denim allows for unique and creative designs, adding a personalized touch to this classic fabric.
These are just a few examples of the fabrics that can be used in DTG printing. Each fabric has its own characteristics and considerations, so it’s essential to select the appropriate fabric based on the desired outcome and the intended use of the printed garment.
DTG printing latest trends 2023
Here are some of the latest trends in DTG printing for 2023 –
Personalization takes the spotlight as individuals seek unique and one-of-a-kind designs. DTG printing allows for easy customization, enabling people to express their individuality through personalized text, images, and graphics on garments.
Photorealistic Prints –
Advancements in DTG printing technology have made it possible to achieve incredibly detailed and lifelike prints. Photorealistic designs, with intricate details and vibrant colors, are gaining popularity in 2023. This trend allows for stunning, high-resolution prints that capture attention and leave a lasting impression.
Abstract and Geometric Patterns –
Abstract and geometric designs continue to be on-trend in 2023. These bold and visually striking patterns add a modern and artistic touch to garments. From abstract splatters and brush strokes to geometric shapes and lines, these designs offer a contemporary aesthetic that appeals to the fashion-forward crowd.
As environmental consciousness grows, there is a rising demand for sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the fashion industry, including DTG printing. Consumers are looking for garments printed on organic or recycled fabrics using eco-friendly inks. This trend reflects a shift towards more responsible and mindful production methods.
Retro and Vintage –
Inspired Prints: Nostalgia remains a strong influence in fashion and design. Retro and vintage-inspired prints are making a comeback in 2023. From retro typography and logos to vintage illustrations and motifs, these prints evoke a sense of nostalgia and bring a touch of timeless charm to modern garments.
Typography and Word Art –
Bold and expressive typography continues to be popular in DTG printing. Inspirational quotes, catchy phrases, and impactful word art designs are being incorporated into garments, allowing wearers to showcase their beliefs, aspirations, and individuality.
All-over Prints –
All-over prints, covering the entire garment with a continuous design, are gaining traction in 2023. From intricate patterns and floral motifs to artistic illustrations and abstract compositions, these eye-catching prints create a bold and visually striking statement.
These trends reflect the current direction of DTG printing, where customization, sustainability, and artistic expression play key roles. Whether it’s through personalized designs, visually stunning prints, or eco-friendly practices, DTG printing in 2023 embraces innovation and individuality, offering an exciting and dynamic landscape for fashion and creative expression.
“DTG printing provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to create distinctive and unique merchandise for their customers”
List of best affordable machines for DTG printing
Epson SureColor F2100 –
The Epson SureColor F2100 is a popular choice among DTG printing enthusiasts. It offers exceptional print quality, high-resolution output, and vibrant colors. With its advanced PrecisionCore technology, it ensures accurate and detailed prints. The F2100 also features a user-friendly interface and efficient ink management system.
Brother GTX –
The Brother GTX is known for its versatility and speed. It can handle a wide range of garment types, including cotton, polyester, and blends. With its large color touchscreen display and intuitive software, the GTX offers a seamless printing experience. It also incorporates Brother’s innovative printhead technology for precise and consistent results.
Kornit Breeze –
The Kornit Breeze is a robust and reliable DTG printing machine suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. It boasts high-speed printing, allowing for efficient production. The Breeze offers exceptional color accuracy and supports a variety of garment sizes. It also features an integrated pre-treatment system, reducing the overall printing process time.
AnaJet Ri 6000 –
The AnaJet Ri 6000 is a feature-packed DTG printing machine designed for professional use. It combines speed, quality, and convenience, making it a popular choice for commercial printers. The Ri 6000 offers advanced color management options, adjustable platen height, and an automatic maintenance system. It also provides excellent support for white ink printing on dark-colored garments.
Col-Desi DTG Digital M2 –
The Col-Desi DTG Digital M2 is a versatile and compact DTG printer suitable for small businesses and individuals. It offers exceptional print quality and supports various garment sizes. The M2 features a user-friendly touchscreen interface, easy-to-use software, and adjustable print heights. It also incorporates advanced ink circulation and automatic maintenance systems.
Products that used in DTG printing –
DTG printing allows for printing on a wide range of products beyond just garments. Here is a list of products commonly printed using DTG technology:
T-shirts are one of the most popular items for DTG printing. The ability to print high-quality, full-color designs directly onto t-shirts has made DTG printing a preferred choice for custom apparel.
Hoodies and Sweatshirts –
DTG printing is also suitable for printing on hoodies and sweatshirts. These garments provide more surface area for showcasing intricate designs or logos.
Tank Tops –
Tank tops are commonly printed using DTG technology, especially during the summer season or for athletic and fitness apparel.
Polo Shirts –
Polo shirts are another popular option for DTG printing. Many businesses and organizations prefer to print their logos or brand names on polo shirts for a professional look.
Bags and Totes –
DTG printing allows for printing on various types of bags and totes, such as canvas bags, tote bags, backpacks, and more. This offers a great opportunity for promotional products or customized merchandise.
Caps and Hats –
Some DTG printers are equipped with specialized platens or attachments that enable printing on caps and hats. This allows for customization of headwear with logos, designs, or personalized messages.
Baby and Kids’ Clothing –
DTG printing is suitable for printing on baby onesies, rompers, children’s t-shirts, and other kids’ clothing items. It provides a fun and personalized touch for children’s apparel.
Home Textiles –
DTG printing can be used to print on home textiles like pillowcases, cushion covers, and tablecloths. This opens up possibilities for personalized home decor items or customized gifts.
Fashion Accessories –
Certain fashion accessories, such as scarves, bandanas, and socks, can also be printed using DTG technology. This allows for unique and eye-catching designs on accessories.
Specialized Garments –
DTG printing is versatile enough to be used on specialized garments like aprons, workwear, team jerseys, and more. It offers customization options for specific industries or events.
It’s important to note that the compatibility of DTG printing may vary depending on the material and surface of the product. However, with the right equipment and proper preparation, DTG printing can be successfully applied to a wide range of products, expanding the possibilities for customization and personalization.