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Home » Frequently asked questions » Direct To Garment Printing

Direct To Garment Printing

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What is direct to garment printing? It is just putting ink directly onto an item of clothing? What sets it apart from any other form of printing then?

Also referred to as DTG and inkjet-to-garment printing, direct to garment printing is the printing of digital images from a computer onto a shirt or other garment through the use of an inkjet printer. And while the name may seem vague, the advantages, disadvantages and ideal uses for DTG are quite specific. Read on to see how it works and whether your project is right for DTG.

Benefits of DTG:

Printing Jobs DTG Is Used For:


How it Works

DTG is less complicated that you'd expect given that it can capture complicated images so accurately on something as soft as a shirt or sweater. The best way to think of DTG is like at-home printing from your computer, except that the paper is replaced with a shirt. Like your at-home printer, DTG printers do not need to be set up for individual jobs and can render millions of colors. Some DTG printers are even manufactured by companies that make standard inkjet printers (like Anajet, Brother and Epson), but are simply modified to accommodate the additional bulk of garments and use inkjet textile inks, instead of what you buy for your printer at the store. These inks cost upward of $1000 per gallon, which is why printing on colored garments is so costly; an underbase of white ink has to be laid below the actual colors of your design to ensure that the colors look like you intended. All of this ink adds up!

The process used for translating the colors from the digital image into ink to print onto the garment relies on the CMYK color model. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and the key color, which is black. This model is also referred to as four-color processing because it uses combinations of these four ink colors, usually applied in the order in which they appear in the acronym, to create all the colors in the digital design.

The inks bind directly to the fibers of the garment's material, which is why cotton - a fibrous material - is better for DTG printing than polyester - a much smoother material. Once all the colors have been added and the design is complete, heat will often be used to dry the ink. This entire process can take as little as a minute to complete!

How DTG Compares To:

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