After learning how to DTG print on 100% cotton garments, it's now time to learn how to Direct-To-Garment print on 50/50 garments (50% polyester, 50% cotton). Learn the ins and outs from DTG expert Luke Ryerkerk so you can crush your next print job.
Let’s start this off with a good recommendation. At the time of writing this blog, there is not a truly tested and proven ink/pretreatment that can be used to print on 100% polyester dark garments. It CAN be done, but the end result is not retail ready. Because of this, I don’t recommend using DTG on anything above 50% polyester as a good rule of thumb.
The key to printing on 50/50 garments comes in a couple key aspects of pretreat and curing. General settings for your RIP and printer will be very similar to 100% Cotton.
Like all DTG printing, the quality of the garment comes into play. However, because we have 50% polyester in the mix, that can sometimes make up for a lesser quality cotton. This allows us to print on things such as the Gildan DryFit and other cost effective 50/50s that will have pretty good results.
Mutant Printing makes incredible prints on the PolyPrint Echo2 DTG Printer.
50/50 PRETREAT PROCESS
- Having dye migration or staining issues?
- Lower press to 330℉ (Some go as low as 300℉ with good results.)
- Take the amount you would normally spray on the 100% Cotton equivalent and cut it in half.
- Spray the updated half amount, heat press to cure, spray the half amount again, press to cure and then print.
- This “double spray” helps against staining and dye migration.
- Lower your time during this process as well since you’re curing less pretreat.
- This will also help against staining and dye migration.
- What about 50/50 Sweats?
- You will ALWAYS need more pretreat for sweats.
- This can cause more staining and dye migration issues with 50/50 material at times.
- Double spray with the regular amount of pretreat you use for 100% cotton. (Lower some if you see dye migration or staining)
- Press in between each spray at 330℉ (Lower to 300℉ if Dye Migration is seen)
50/50 PRINT SETTINGS
- Most 50/50s shirts will react the same as 100% Ringspun Cotton if pretreated correctly.
- You may need to lower your white underbase strength a little if too much puddling is experienced.
- For Sweats:
- Double White Underbase is commonly needed for thicker material.
- Make sure to adjust your platen height before printing.
- TIP: Use a youth platen when printing on pocket hoodies.
50/50 CURING SETTINGS
- The big key here is to avoid dye migration.
- Final curing is where you’ll see the most dye migration when working with 50/50 apparel.
- Using a Heat Press?
- Press in smaller chunks of time.
- If your ink requires a 30 second hover and 120 seconds of pressing to cure, break the pressing time in 30 to 60 second chunks. (Total time pressed should equal total time required).
- Lower times are for garments that experience a higher amount of dye migration.
- You can also lower your temperature to 300℉ if you’re still experiencing dye migration.
- Make sure to always do a wash test with new pretreat and cure settings.
- Using a Conveyor Dryer?
- Lower the temperature and slow the belt speed compared to the 100% cotton counterpart.
- This is if you start to see dye migration or staining.
- Always make dyer changes in 10% increments when testing.
LEARN WHEN TO SCREEN PRINT VS. WHEN TO DTG PRINT
Thanks for tuning in! Next week, Luke will cover DTG printing on triblend garments. If you have any questions about DTG printing or printers, reach out to us! We're available through the chat feature on the website, through phone at 1-800-314-6390 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.