Direct to Garment vs Flex Printing - What are the differences?

We sometimes receive comments and questions from our customers about the differences between printing methods. Two that raise the most questions are direct to garment and textile vinyl (flex).

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Our aim in this article is to remove any doubts you may have about these two methods, especially with regard to the differences between them.

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DIRECT TO GARMENT

Direct to garment is a digital print Like any digital print, it has no color limit (it has a range of millions of possible colors).

The other digital prints on the market (vinyl flex and sublimation) need to use some form of paper to transfer the image onto the t-shirt. Direct to garment is, as the name implies, direct. In other words, we print with ink directly onto the t-shirt (or polo shirt, sweatshirt, etc.). It couldn't be simpler, as you can see in the video below.

Direct to Garment
  • We load the t-shirt into the machine;
  • The machine prints directly onto the t-shirt with ink;
  • We cure (dry) the ink in an oven.

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This avoids the use of any kind of paper or film. There are zero plastics in this print, so the end result (feel) will be relatively smooth (actually rougher on T-shirts, smoother on sweaters).

Juvori Sweatshirt with Direct to Garment Printing
T-shirt with direct to garment print

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Within direct to garment we can distinguish between light and dark backgrounds.

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Light backgrounds

We call light backgrounds any print on a white T-shirt or in situations where the print doesn't need to be white at all. You won't feel any kind of impression in these jobs. It's as if the decoration were part of the garment. The touch is absolutely incredible!

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Dark background

On dark backgrounds (T-shirts of any color other than white or that need a layer of white) the garment will already have a touch.

Why? Because before the color layer, we always need to add a layer of white. White ink is - by nature - a thicker ink. Then you'll already feel the impression, although it won't be too thick. The end result in this case will be very close to screen printing.

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FLEX (TEXTILE VINYL)

Vinyl - or flex - is also a digital print, but there are a number of differences between this method and digital textile printing.

Flex is a two-stage process. First we print the image on white film, cut it out and then apply it to the garment.

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This process differs from direct to garment in that:

  • Do not apply ink directly to the piece but to a film that is then applied to the garment;
  • Always have a touch, whether in light or dark pieces;
  • Use plastics when applying.

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However, we mustn't confuse vinyl with the transfers you buy from kiosks or print stores. This method is done on a print and cut plotter, which means that the image is always cut out (as close as possible), leaving no rectangle on the t-shirt.

We can also assure you that the films we use are extremely thin, so you won't be left with a very large touch.

Flex Print Application

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Which method is best for you?

This is a decision we can help you make. There is no single answer for all jobs and sometimes we recommend direct printing, other times we recommend printing using flex.

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Unsure which method to choose? Contact us, we'll be happy to help.

estampagem têxtil

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