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 3 it suitable for use with dark garments. It can also be used on a variety of fabrics. ese two traits together mean that DTF printing opens up a wide range of garment colors and types to being decorated. While having options when it comes to colors and fabrics is great, obtaining those options comes at a cost, which may poten- tially be a big con when you're considering whether DTF printing is for you. While some retailers will make the case that you can cobble together a decent entry- level system for $3,000 or so, heat press included, if you want to enter DTF print- ing on a professional level, you're proba- bly looking at a cost of $15,000 or perhaps higher. Now, the potential profit that can be made as a result of that expense may make it worth taking on, but it is a big- ger commitment than the start-up costs of some other methods. Another potential con is that DTF is still a relatively new technology, and the kinks are still being worked out. ere's also a ton of misinformation out there about what DTF is and what it does or will do for you. Yes, there are shops using it success- fully and happily. And, equally, there are people selling you a bunch of bull about how easy and fast it is and how quickly the dollars will pile up when you add the process to your shop. As with all garment decoration processes, it's on the individ- ual who owns the shop, or whoever buys the equipment and selects the processes the shop offers, to maintain their due dil- igence and make sure they get good infor- mation and deal with reputable dealers. In the final analysis, DTF printing has a great deal of potential. e fact that there's no weeding or pretreatment needed is a selling point for some shops. The cost for a professional setup and the possible need for things like an automatic powder shaker and other process-specific equip- ment may price this decoration option out of the range of some shops, but, in those cases, starting out with DTF transfers may be a less expensive option for entry. DTF printing does work with a wide range of fabrics and color options, which means it offers the ability to print on a larger range of garment types, and that's always an attractive prospect. As with most new decoration disciplines, the main thing to remember is not to get so excited about the possibilities that you forget to research all sides of the issue and learn about the pitfalls as well as the peaks. e story of DTF printing is just starting to be written, and it remains to be seen if it's a decora- tion technique that is here to stay or one that is just the fad of the moment. Initial signs seem to be that it has staying power, but the full impact of DTF printing on the industry remains to be seen. GP One major pro to DTF is that it uses white ink, which makes it suitable for use with dark garments. It can also be used on a variety of fabrics. JHA017 SURF COLLECTION WWW.JUSTHOODSUSA.COM

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