A (DTG) direct to garment printer is a digital printer that, you guessed it, prints directly onto the fabric. Direct to garment printers are great because they have the ability to maintain high detail, have full vibrant colors and result in beautiful prints. Sound easy enough? It can be if you do it right and use it for the right type of job.
DTG prints are ideal for short print jobs with full-color art on basic cotton or poly blend garments. It is recommended to use combed cotton or poly-cotton blends, such as ringspun. You want to avoid heavy, rough cotton and polyester blends, because of dye migration. If you are printing a logo on 500 shirts, you going to be better off screen printing, but if you are printing, say 36, DTG is a fantastic route. Unlike manual screen printers, DTG printers print only a small amount of ink; they also lay down an extreme amount of detail; this means the better quality shirt you print on, the better your print will look.
How to print with a direct to garment printer
Pre-treatment mats the shirt fibers together and gives a base for the print to stand up on, for dark garments, it also chemically sets the white under the base so you can print color on top of it. Once you spray the pre-treatment, we tap it with a heat press to matt the fibers down for about 35 seconds at 350 degrees.
2. Garment Placement
Place your garment on the direct to garment printer’s pallet, smooth out the fabric and apply the hoop to smooth out the garment onto the print platen.
3. Garment Creator
Next, jump into the Epson Garment Creator and drag in the artwork. Once it is centered and placed, hit print to the Epson F2000 RIP, which is friendly to Mac and PC. The RIP converts all of the color data and detail and making it compatible with the DTG ink set used in the Epson F2000.
The printer receives the information, loads the shirt and starts printing. On a dark garment, it prints the white under base first and then cycles back through to print the color overprint. With a 10 x 12 inch design it takes three minutes to print and uses approximately $3.00 of ink.
After printing, set the shirt either in a heat press for around a minute or down a large convection conveyor dryer, which works great if you have a lot of these direct to garment printers going at once.
Check out this video and have Ryan walk you through the process, step-by-step.