Direct to garment (DTG) printing is the latest method to print digitally-printed designs directly onto clothes. It works like an ordinary office printer, but rather than injecting ink into paper, it digitally prints directly onto garments using a computer. This means that it can very accurately reproduce subtle details, fine colours and intricate images on garments much more effectively than a regular printer can.
The dtg printing process begins with a consultation from the client where the design is drawn. The client decides on a concept and gives the design team the green light to carry out the design as per the requirements. Next, the team begins with the pre-treatment. This is used to remove any existing ink that might be on the garment and also to prepare the garments for being printed.
Cotton Tapes and Sateen Tote Polyester threads are the two primary fabrics typically used in the dtg printing process. Cotton tapes are usually the preferred choice because they have the ability to withstand a higher volume of DTH printers than other fabric types. This is due to the fact that cotton tapes do not absorb or lose ink unlike other fabric types. Sateen bags are also popular because they have the ability to dry very quickly; this feature enables printers to use more inks in a given amount of time. These two fabrics are then passed through an automatic washing machine, known as the ‘line’ system, at the printing company’s facility.
After the fabric passes through the line system, the prints are run through a squeegee system. This type of system enables the printer to gently push down on the fabric to cause slight damage to the ink on the fabric. This causes the ink to splash against the surface of the inks and create a surface that is vibrant and appealing. After this process, the prints can now be passed onto the artisans who will have the liberty to work with their individual artistic visions. The final product will then be folded and packaged for delivery.
The final step in the dtg printing process is the heat press, which is often utilized by garment stores and retail businesses when creating custom clothing lines. The process of using a heat press allows for the creation of unique, one-of-a-kind clothing items. Typically, when using a heat press, the artists are able to create detailed, intricate designs. Some of the different types of designs available include t-shirts, caps, jackets, shorts, and skirts. The reason that garments are printed onto canvas through the heat press technique is that it creates a surface that is semi-translucent and therefore, allows the design to stand out against the white background of the garment.
The dtg printing process can be completed using either an inkjet printer or a water-based printer. Inkjet printers utilize a ribbon printer cartridge that utilizes a liquid ink that is propelled through a ribbon. This ink has been formulated specifically for the printing process and provides a high-quality output. When using a water-based printer, the process is more akin to standard printing presses as it uses a coated platform that is stretched over a heated metal plate.
In order to ensure that the ink is deposited properly and that it provides a rich, quality finish, many printing businesses utilize pretreatment liquid. Many of these printers utilize a pretreatment liquid that is color-fast ink. This Pretreatment liquid is specially formulated to absorb most of the ultraviolet light that comes from standard printers. It also ensures that the ink is set permanently on the surface of the fabric. The pretreatment liquid helps to prevent the occurrence of early print wear that occurs when ink is poorly placed on the surface of the fabric.
Once pretreatment has been administered to the fabric, most printing businesses will provide a clean, dry area where the garment can be completely drying. At this point, the fabric is considered dry and ready to be imprinted. During the printing process, most dtg garments are set in a heat-rolling machine. Once the roll is complete, it is returned to the area and a stencil is used to transfer the design and other graphic symbols onto the garment.