DTF recently entered the market and sparked much discussion in the industry about what its role is and which customization methods it might replace, with one of the options being DTG (direct-to-garment) printing.


On this side, we have a slightly different opinion from the majority, and we believe that these are clothing customization methods that complement each other.


What are the differences between DTG and DTF?

Direct-to-garment printing, as the name suggests, is a printing method done directly on the fabric. That's correct, we print with ink directly onto the fabric. As of today, it is the smoothest and best-feeling print we have found in the industry.


On the other hand, DTF still uses plastics, albeit only in the transfer.

Unlike the previous method, in this case, we do not print directly on the garment. It involves ink over a transparent film that will be later removed when pressing onto clothing.



When should I use DTF instead of direct to garment?

DTF is ideal for printing on items that are a bit more complicated to customize. Gifts such as backpacks or wallets are great for DTF printing. Customized caps in DTF are also easier to produce than with DTG.


Direct to garment printing requires a smooth substrate and cotton material (ideally 100% cotton), which somewhat limits its use to printing on T-shirts and some sweatshirt models with 80% cotton (or more).

It also has some disadvantages in terms of pre-treatment marks (sometimes a small liquid mark around the print can be noticed - it washes out on the first wash).

Juvori Sweatshirt with Direct to Garment Printing
Direct to Garment


DTF works perfectly for items with 50% cotton or even less, considerably expanding the range of options for customization. Not needing pre-treatment in textile customization can be an advantage for some people.



What type of touch should I expect from each decoration method?

In this case, the "winner" will be a matter of personal preference, as we all value different things.


Direct to garment can have a significant or minimal tactile feel in the print, depending on several factors.


On light backgrounds, direct to garment will have no tactile feel since it doesn't require white ink (which adds some texture to the print due to heavy metals) or pretreatment.

On dark backgrounds, we need to use white ink, allowing for some texture. This touch is smooth for smaller images, but for larger ones, it can become a bit "pasty." It's never a thick touch because it uses water-based inks, but you always feel something.


In DTF, there is no distinction between light or dark backgrounds since the process and method are always the same.

In this textile printing option, we print - as mentioned above - ink onto a transfer film, and when fusing the image onto the garment, only ink remains transferred onto the fabric. Nevertheless, due to the printing process, the ink always appears somewhat plasticky. The larger the print, the more plasticky it will appear.

Removing the DTF film



Which is the best option to decorate clothing?

This is an analysis that needs to be done on a case by case basis. Personally, I'm a fan of direct to garment. I still think it has great visual quality and durability. It allows us a lot of flexibility in the garment and a premium touch.


However, I admit that DTF often surprises me.


As of today, I would say that for 100% cotton items or images with large filled areas (large print area), I would opt for direct to garment.

For items with very small print areas that require detail, DTF is possibly the best option on the market, as well as for items that are difficult to customize, such as professional uniforms.

estampagem têxtil


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