What is DTF and how does it work?

DTF emerged in the market and suddenly dominated all conversations about the future of clothing decoration.

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This printing method complements a gap in the market, addressing the challenge of printing on clothing or difficult-to-print locations.

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Indeed, DTF has many qualities, such as high definition even in small details, a small environmental footprint, and ease of handling and working with the technique.

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This method of printing t-shirts is absolutely amazing and heralds the decline of flex printing, also encroaching on some of the territory of direct printing.

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What is DTF?

DTF is a form of direct printing onto a film that is subsequently applied to clothing or any fabric.

T-Shirts with DTF printing

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How does DTF work?

The production of DTF can indeed be fascinating.

  • It all starts with a roll of film that is unwound and printed using a printer.
  • The printer prints the image (CMYK) and overlays a white base (W) on top, completely reversing the image and the ink layer.
  • After printing and still within the machine, a powder is applied that adheres to the white ink, creating a unified layer.
  • The roll goes into an oven that will freeze (solidify) this powder, activating the adhesive it contains.
  • At the end of the process, the film is rolled back onto a reel.

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  • After the printing process, we take the film and apply heat to the garment (using a heat press) to achieve full image transfer. At this step, the adhesive transitions from a gel state to a liquid state, permanently fixing the image.

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A good portion of this process combines aspects of screen printing transfer, flex, and direct printing, with DTF leveraging the best of each of these methods.

What's great about this process is that, unlike flex, the printing doesn't involve any plastic film.

What's great about this process is that, unlike screen printing transfer, the printing is fully digital, with no color limits and no minimum production requirements.

What's great about this process is that, unlike direct printing, there's no need for pretreatment of the clothing, and we can print on workwear and sweatshirts with mixed compositions.

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In fact, this method is probably the most flexible one we work with.

estampagem têxtil

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