Digital printing has evolved remarkably over the years, and one of the groundbreaking techniques that emerged is DTF or Direct To Film transfer. But what is it exactly, and how does it stand against traditional printing methods like screen printing or the ever-popular sublimation? Let’s delve deeper.
What is DTF and how does it work?
DTF, standing for Direct To Film, is a contemporary printing method where designs are directly printed onto a specialized film, instead of directly onto a substrate or garment. This film, after printing, is transferred to the desired material, such as a t-shirt or bag, through heat and pressure.
The process begins with the creation of a digital design. This design is then printed onto the film using special DTF inks. Once the design is ready, an adhesive powder is applied, making sure the design sticks firmly when transferred. The final step involves placing the film onto the garment and using a heat press to embed the design.
For a more detailed comparison between DTF and traditional screen printing, the article, Screen Printing Transfers vs DTF (Direct To Film) | Tradition vs Technology, offers a fantastic read.
How long do DTF transfers last?
Durability is often a concern when it comes to printing methods. DTF transfers are known for their resilience. With proper care, a DTF transfer can last upwards of 50 washes without significant fading or degradation. It’s worth noting, however, that the longevity can vary based on the quality of inks and adhesive powders used, as well as the post-transfer care instructions followed.
What do you need as a user of DTF to make print textile?
To get started with DTF printing, a few essentials are needed:
- DTF Printer: A specialized printer capable of handling DTF inks and providing high-quality prints.
- DTF Inks: These inks are specially formulated to adhere well to the film and ensure vibrant, long-lasting prints.
- Adhesive Powder: This is crucial for ensuring the design sticks to the garment during the transfer process.
- Heat Press: For transferring the design from the film to the textile.
- Design Software: This will allow you to craft or edit designs suitable for DTF printing.
For a closer look into the specifics of DTF transfer, DTF Transfer provides a treasure trove of information.
Is DTF better than sublimation?
Choosing between DTF and sublimation often depends on the project’s specifics and desired outcomes. DTF offers incredible versatility, allowing for printing on both light and dark garments without requiring a polyester base. It also boasts vibrant colors, especially on darker fabrics.
Sublimation, on the other hand, works best on light-colored, polyester-rich fabrics. It integrates the ink directly into the fabric, ensuring a smooth feel. However, it may not deliver the same vibrancy on darker textiles as DTF.
Both methods have their strengths and scenarios where they shine. Your choice should align with the project’s requirements and desired aesthetics.