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DIRECT TO GARMENT PRINTING
- also abbreviated to DTG Printing – is a digital print technique. DTG printers are full colour inkjet printers which print a design directly onto textiles or garments. DTG printers can produce high quality photo-realistic print results, and because there are no setup fees associated with this print technique, they are our default method for all one-off prints, photo prints, sample runs and delicate full colour designs.
HOW IT WORKS
We often compare our DTG printer to a household desktop printer; just instead of printing on a piece of paper, we print directly onto a piece of material!
The garment is loaded into the DTG printer manually by laying it onto a flat print platen, ensuring it sits nice and straight. Once the design file is loaded into the printer, the print command is made with the push of a button and our state of the art printer performs the print.
A DIFFERENCE IN COLOUR
DTG Printing works on both white and coloured textiles but is limited to garments that are made from at least 50% cotton. For printing on coloured or dark apparel, the printer needs to print a white undercoat onto the garment first. This requires the garments to be pre-treated so that the white ink particles can bond with the colour pigment in the garment fabric. Due to these additional labour steps, it is generally cheaper to print on white textiles, then on non-whites.
As the pre-treatment acts like a surface for the white ink and subsequent coloured top layer inks to sit on, you can expect a higher colour brilliance when printing on coloured or black garments compared to printing on white garments. As coloured designs can be printed directly onto white fabrics, the inks are ‘soaked’ up by the garment fibre and show therefore a slightly duller colour result.
DTG prints delight in their soft feel; prints on white textiles can’t be felt at all if you run your hand over. Prints on pre-treated garments can be felt slightly as a somewhat waxy feel. Because the inks ‘sink’ into the garment fibre as opposed to sitting on top of the fabric – as it happens with screen prints or heat transfers, DTG prints require a little more care than other print techniques. They should be washed inside-out and should not be tumble dried or heat ironed. This extra care however does come with an upside: the inks used with our DTG machines are 100% eco-friendly, water-based inks which are gentle on our environment and your skin.
DTG CARE AND WASH GUIDE
When handling your printed garments it’s important to treat them with extra care and take into account our advice outlined below. Though each printing technique is different and produces a print that might be more or less resistant than others, we always recommend washing the item inside out and on a low temperature.
There’s nothing more exciting than receiving your Garment Printing order, but don’t forget to read these instructions for washing your items, so you can be sure they last well and stand the test of time. Many people don’t realise, but printed t-shirts need to be treated slightly differently to regular t-shirts – so it’s key to read the information below to ensure you’re looking after your printed items well.
STEP 1: Wash and dry your items inside out
This is a simple but effective step in your washing routine that can help make your printed and personalised clothing last longer. By turning the items inside out you’re protecting the print and stopping other items from interfering with the design, or damaging it.
STEP 2: MACHINE WASH COLD
Washing on a cold gentle cycle with mild detergent and similar colours is the most risk-free way to wash an item using your washing machine. High temperatures can damage items, so keeping your machine on a cold wash can ensure the print and material are protected during the cycle. Do not bleach. Do not use fabric softeners.
STEP 3: Don’t add extra spins
It’s tempting to add extra spins to your washing machine’s cycle but we advise against it when washing printed garments.
STEP 4: Tumble dry LOW, OR HANG DRY
Air drying is always preferred when your cleaning and drying your personalised printed garments. The best way to dry these items is to air-dry them on a clothing drying rack, or outside on a washing line. These methods of drying give the best results and also protect the printing.
STEP 5: Always iron inside out
Prints can get caught on irons, and will often be damaged by direct heat – so always iron your garments inside out to protect them! We also recommend putting your iron down to a lower heat the first time you iron the item, so you don’t accidentally apply too much heat to the area. DO NOT DRY CLEAN.
We hope you enjoy your new printed garments, with the proper care and washing they should last a long time and serve you well!