March '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M M A R C H 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 1 1 allows printing on dark garments. White ink is one of the reasons that DTG was so popular when it was first introduced, despite a fairly high learning curve and issues with the inks and printer clogging in some cases. Being able to print white expands the range of designs that can be used and allows shops to sell garments in the colors that a lot of businesses favor. Keep in mind that a DTF print is essen- tially a heat transfer, meaning that you will need a heat press in order to seal the print to the garment. If you already have a heat press in your shop, great! You're set. If not, keep in mind that it is always wise to purchase the largest heat press you can, and to consider the largest-sized garment or item you might be decorating with that press. Keep in mind that, while a no-name heat press from Amazon might seem like a cheaper alternative, presses from reputable businesses like STAHLS' or Geo Knight will have warranties, maintenance agree- ments, and tech support. A heat press can be a cornerstone of your shop's business, so it is wise to invest in one that is well supported. Besides a heat press, you'll need some other equipment and supplies to get started with DTF printing. One thing, of course, is a printer, which may be called a DTF-modified printer. These print- ers work with six colors: your standard CMYK and then white in the additional tanks. Also, the printers have special roll- ers that move the film so that you avoid lines in the white layer being printed on the DTF film. Since you are printing on film, you will need to keep some in stock. PET films are used and may be called DTF Transfer Films. Most will come in either cut sheets or rolls. ey will also have the option of being hot peel or cold peel. is means that the transfer film is either peeled from the garment while it's still warm, or it is allowed to cool and is then peeled away. As with most things where there are options, decorators have preferences on both sides of this issue. Some people maintain that hot peel transfers can be rubbery and have a textured feel, which may work for some decoration styles but not for others. Cold peel transfers are often more matte in appearance and may have a softer feel. This may be a case where one style of transfer will work best for some things, and another style will work best for others. As with most printing options for gar- ments, software plays a large part in the process. RIP software is necessary to man- age the color profiles of the ink, the char- acteristics of the print, and the final per- formance of the print on the fabric. For DTF, the RIP software has to be able to manage both white and CMYK colors. Keep in mind that a DTF print is essentially a heat transfer, meaning that you will need a heat press in order to seal the print to the garment.

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