The Complete Guide to Direct to Garment Printing | Did you know that direct to garment printing is a rapidly growing market that is expected to be worth $2.3 billion by the year 2023? DTG is a great way to create custom designs on a t-shirt and start your own small business. It is a printing method that simplifies the process of creating your own detailed art using CMYK ink.
But how does DTG printing work, and how is it different from screen printing? It might seem confusing, but the good news is that you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know about direct to garment printing and how you can use it to start your own small business.
Continue reading to learn more about how DTG printing works and the benefits of using it.
What Is Direct to Garment Printing?
Direct to garment printing is a popular way to print logos and designs onto t-shirts and other garments of your choice. It works similarly to screen printing in that you print your design directly onto the t-shirt or garment. The colors mix automatically thanks to the use of CMYK ink.
This printing method combined with CMYK ink allows you to print designs and colors that aren’t possible with printing methods like screen printing. You’re able to use unlimited amounts of color which allows you to create images and designs with unbelievable levels of detail.
The biggest reason that direct to garment printing is growing so popular is that you can use white ink in your designs. This white ink helps you put a white under base underneath every design, allowing you to print on t-shirts of any color and get the desired look.
How Does Direct to Garment Printing Work?
DTG is a printing technique for printing images and designs directly onto a t-shirt or garment. It uses an inkjet printer to print the design onto the garment of your choice. A good way to think about it is a printer printing onto paper in an office. The process works the same except change the paper to the garment.
What Do You Need for DTG Printing?
There are a number of different pieces of equipment that you’ll need to start DTG printing. The main piece of equipment that you’ll need for DTG printing is the printer itself. There are tabletop garment printers that are perfect if you’re planning on making a smaller volume of garments.
There are also workhorse printers that have three pallets and can produce industrial-level production of DTG garments. The last option is a hybrid printer that mixes screen printing with DTG printing in order to produce the garments that you want.
You’ll also need a curing device in order to create direct to garment t-shirts. The curing process is dependent on the type of ink that you’re using and the output of your printer. A great way to handle the curing process is through using a heat press. You can also use a tunnel dryer for the curing process.
The last piece of equipment you’ll need is a pretreatment applicator. This device is what you’ll use in order to put a primer on your garments. If you’re using CMYK inks for your DTG printing then you’re able to skip this step. If you’re going to print using white ink then the pretreatment process is vital for success.
You should either use an internal pretreating process or an internal pretreating process. This will help you with your favorite printing designs. The internal pretreating process is automatic when applying the pretreatment prior to the printing process. This process is available with only a few different types of printers.
External pretreatment is the most common pretreatment method. You can do this process manually by using a spray gun to apply the pretreatment to your t-shirt. You also have the option of investing in a pretreatment machine that handles this process for you.
Pros and Cons of Direct to Garment Printing
There are a number of pros that come with direct to garment printing that you’ll love, but you also need to be aware of the drawbacks that come with it. Here is a closer look at those benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Direct to Garment Printing
One of the biggest benefits of direct to garment printing is the detail that you’re able to print in. This style of printing is perfect for intricate and detailed images and patterns that screen printing can’t handle.
There is also very little setup required in order to get started with your direct to garment printing. It is perfect for anyone that wants to start a new hobby or make passive income by creating a small volume of direct to garment t-shirts.
One of the best things about direct to garment printing is that it works perfectly with an automated workflow. This makes the process of creating these t-shirts in a timely and efficient manner.
Cons of Direct to Garment Printing
The biggest drawback of direct to garment printing is that there is a bit of a learning curve to the process. You’ll need to invest time into getting it right. This could also come with some frustrating mistakes while building up the knowledge and experience you need to master this printing method.
It also requires specific environmental conditions for the t-shirts to turn out the way that you want them. This is difficult depending on the space you’re using for printing DTG t-shirts and the climate where you live.
Another big drawback is that there is a limited amount of fabrics or materials that work with DTG printing. It works best with cotton or mixed cotton fibers. There are systems on the market that are meant for synthetic materials but there isn’t a perfect solution at this time.
Start Your DTG Business Today
Direct to garment printing is a great way to start your own small business or get into a new hobby. It allows you to print art designs and graphics directly onto t-shirts using a printing method similar to a normal paper printer. The CMYK ink allows for limitless amounts of color and requires very little setup to do.
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