January '23

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6 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Direct-to-film printing DTF printing is a new printing method that combines features of DTG print- ing and heat transfers, Davis says. The image is printed on a clear polyester film by machines, much like a DTG inkjet printer. e image is then transferred to apparel by a heat press machine. Because of this combination of inks and application, DTF printing can be applied to all types of T-shirt fabrics. e benefit of using DTF printing is that there is no need to pre-treat the shirt, so shops can stock up on designs in advance, Lin says. Film transfers can be used on many different substrates and there are no limits on placement, she adds. Dye migration can still be a problem on synthetic blends or polyester shirts but add- ing a base coat of white ink and applying the graphic at lower temperatures can help prevent this, Davis says. "DTF graphics produce sharp and vibrant colors and have strong colorfastness after home laundering," he adds. "Another ben- efit of this printing technique is that, since the graphic has been printed on a polyester film, it has a long shelf life and can quickly be applied to any tee when the need arises." is comes in handy for repeat orders that need to be produced quickly on demand. DTF also works well for items that are more difficult to print via DTG, Walker says. For example, a smaller neck imprint in place of a tag in a shirt. With DTG print- ing, it is possible, he says, but "I could print a gang sheet of smaller neck labels on a DTF and heat press those very quickly. DTG might require printing the tag and then the shirt front." DTG, on the other hand, produces bet- ter results for images with a lot of fades that appear to fade into the shirt, such as light reflections or smoke, he says. "DTF is going to have a much harder time doing that in continuous tone unless it is printed with a solid white under base of white ink," Walker adds. "is results in a big sheet or an unbreathable area in a shirt and, depending on the artwork, may not look as smooth or as nice as the DTG print." Customizing T-shirts has never been easier or more popular, says Marcus Davis, product manager at HanesBrands. (Image courtesy HanesBrands) Pretreating shirts is a standard practice for most decoration styles. (Image courtesy RTP Apparel) Cleaning the capping station. (Image courtesy RTP Apparel) A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G

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