About Direct To Garment Archives

Decorating Methods for T Shirts

Is Direct to Garment the right choice for every project, hardly, it only works when the runs are short, the runs are full color and when the end result needs to be of the highest available quality level and that the quality level is not available with other print methods.

Direct to Garment printing is best suited for full color when you consider the setup cost involved in traditional silk screen printing with separation film, plate and make ready cost can add up fast.
To get to the press with one shirt is going to be in hundreds of dollars.
The cost to do a six t shirt minimum run can be over $250.00 on a white t shirt. For that same dollar you can get full color on a minimum of 25 t shirts.

In my opinion the quality is going to be in the Direct to Garment t shirt printed on white for nothing else then the touch alone.
The ink is water based and what the industry calls hand or the feel is soft to the touch not like the  plastic inks used in traditional silk screen printing.
I would recommend the Direct to Garment process on white t shirts as long as you can justify the cost.
When Printing on color or dark t shirts when a white under base is called for it becomes a different matter and is subject to the loss of hand as stated above (the industry calls hand or the feel is soft to the touch).

Direct to Garment Decorating Method

Direct To Garment (dtg)

What’s to know about direct-to-garment (dtg) printing?  dtg is words, numbers, images on t-shirts, caps, mugs, bags, etc. -  where-ever you have a need to see ‘words in print’.

The Decorated Apparel Industry came in on a storm in late 2004 when commercial companies wanted writing on uniforms, cups, and all types of advertising mediums.  But first a little history.

For years people have wanted words on tees that used digital transfer paper or screen printing – these methods were OK – there were positives and negatives however.

Digital transfers let us create as little as one-off shirt using a standard desktop inkject printer at the cost of a single transfer from $.50 to $2.50 depending on the ink and paper the printer used.  However, transfer paper, covered with polymer (adhesive) glues the ink to the top of the shirt; the polymer often left a hand where it was applied, could discolor the shirt, or created a window around the graphic design.

Screen printing has been the traditional method of choice used in retail stores.  This method allows ink to drop down on the garment where the design is, eliminating the undersirable window that occurs with the digital transfers.  Unfortunately, the graphic must be separated (a process of breaking down the graphic into different colors in order to print it), a screen burned for each color, and a screen printing press is needed for setup, thus taking a lot of time making the process expensive when only a few shirts are required.

A short-run (1 to 48 shirts) in a small shop would usually be too expensive for the customer.  The trend toward fashion-short-runs (1 or a few shirts) limited edition, personalized garments prompted a need for a high quality, cost effective solution as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, apparel decorators are never satisfied with the concept the things will ever get better.

Manufacturers and distributors continually push the boundaries in search of cheaper, faster ways to screen print or create better inkject transfer paper with less hand or feel to them.

Finally, the introduction of dtg (direct-to-garment) printing allowed  the positive aspects of the inkject transfers and  screen printing  process to be  accomplished in a compact space with remarkable results.

The  basics of this concept uses a digital printer to lay down a textile water-based ink  with chemical binders allowing the ink to remain on the garment without an adhesive being applied to the top of the shirt much like a transfer.  The ink is then cured to the garment using either a heat press or textile conveyor dryer.   An apparel decorator is then able to take artwork from the customer, put it on a garment, and get paid within 10 minutes.

With very few modifications to the artwork provided, the decorator can personalize the next garment with a name, number(s), different colors,  and produce another altered custom garment in minutes.

The beauty of dtg printing – short-run, personalized, reasonably priced and paid for garment in ten minutes.  A win-win-win situation all around!!