There’s a new kid in town taking the custom t-shirt industry by storm! Around 15–20 years ago, the only way you could make an excellent quality custom t-shirt was with screen printing.
T-shirt transfers were in their infancy – and they were mostly terrible. Printing 8.5”x11” transfers were done with your home inkjet printer that was fuzzy and quickly washed off.
A DTF printer revolutionized the industry, enabling users to print high-quality transfers onto blank garments with this new type of printer.
DTF Printer – How They Work
According to reports, global custom t-shirt printing is forecasted to reach a value of $3.1 billion by 2025.
A DTF (Direct-To-Film) printer is a particular type of printer that prints directly onto the front (and sometimes back) of your shirt. It means that it doesn’t use paper or transfer tape as traditional screen printing does.
You input the image you want to print, and the DTF printer outputs high-quality photos on your blank garments for easy application.
The following are a few reasons why DTF is such an improvement over screen printing:
- No wasted materials
No paper and no transfer tape means you can save up to 70 percent of ink, time, and money.
- Simple Setup
The setup is easy as the printer reads your file and sets it for you. You have to select the color you want to print and place your garment inside.
DTF printers output high-quality images that are sharp, clear, and bright. Any image you can imagine can be printed onto a t-shirt.
High-Volume DTF Printing
Many of today’s most cutting-edge t-shirt printers are now a type of DTF printer. Many of them allow you to print on both the front and back of the shirt – something that wasn’t possible with stand-alone screen-printing presses.
While it is an excellent step forward, it doesn’t stop there. The best high-volume DTF printers allow you to print up to a dozen different colors on a single shirt – all in one pass. You can run through an entire production run with the click of a button, which was previously impossible.
Recently, this technology has been gaining momentum as more and more people realize the benefits of this fantastic piece of machinery. Today, most high-end t-shirt printers use this technology as their primary mechanism for printing apparel.
What Makes DTF Transfers Better?
T-shirt transfers have been around for several years, and they’ve gotten a lot better over time. While they are still not the best way to print onto a shirt, there is no doubt that it has come a long way from its infant stage.
The most significant benefit is saving up to 70 percent of the money with DTF printing. While small-scale transfers are still relatively inexpensive, it’s the savings on large orders that make this technology pay off.
2. Time- and Labor-Efficient
Printing t-shirt transfers are slow. It takes around an hour for most printers to heat up, cool down, and process an order. With a DTF printer, this whole process can be done in minutes.
3. Quality and Durability
While you may have seen transfers that look amazing on the shirt, they often fade quickly or lose their color intensity after washing or drying your shirt. Most t-shirt transfer inks are printed on paper and not directly onto the shirt to not become dull after a few washes.
DTF printers output high-quality images that are printed straight onto your garment. It means that the color will stay bright and bold no matter how many times you wash it.
4. Speed and Saves Labor
Let’s say you want to print 25 shirts. Using a DTF printer will take 15 minutes (instead of taking one hour like traditional transfers), saving you time and giving you more profit per shirt.
5. Versatility and Customizability
There are over 100 different t-shirt transfers out there, each with its unique specialty. Standard transfers, heat transfers, and even edge-to-edge printing are possible with this technology.
How Much Do DTG Printers Cost?
Depending on the brand and capabilities, prices can range anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000+ per printer.
If you are trying to print just a couple of shirts for fun or as a hobby, something along the lines is acceptable. If you want to print hundreds of t-shirts per day, though, you will need a more heavy-duty printer that is faster, stronger, and can print multiple colors in one pass.
There are things to take into consideration beforehand. Here is a list of things you will need before buying a DTF printer.
● What kind of material are you printing on?
● What size do you want your printer to be?
● How many colors will you want it to have?
A DTF printer is an essential tool for any custom t-shirt business. It allows you to print on your favorite shirt without buying expensive equipment. It means more profit per shirt, higher margins, and a more successful clothing brand.