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DTF On White Substrates


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Hi everyone, looking to get into Digital Transfers and doing some research.

My question is, when printing on whte t-shirts using DTF inks, do you have to still overprint the white DTF ink? A follow-up question is, does the white ink deposit contribute to the general thickness of the transfer, the release coating of the paper or the adhesive powder? 

For my business model and production direction, I would like to do away with the white ink and the (powder if possible).. My interest is the inkjet and release carrier technology..

Thanks

 

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22 minutes ago, BrightFriend said:

Hi everyone, looking to get into Digital Transfers and doing some research.

My question is, when printing on whte t-shirts using DTF inks, do you have to still overprint the white DTF ink? A follow-up question is, does the white ink deposit contribute to the general thickness of the transfer, the release coating of the paper or the adhesive powder? 

For my business model and production direction, I would like to do away with the white ink and the (powder if possible).. My interest is the inkjet and release carrier technology..

Thanks

 

Sounds like your looking for DTG then :)

 

You don't have to use white ink, as long as you lay down enough color for the Powder to stick to. The polymer powder sticks to the DTF ink, You cure the ink and it sets the powder into the ink for good, once it's ready for the garment that polymer powder gets heated Via a heat press and then sticks to the garment. No other way about it exists. So yes, The powder is 100% necessary. Once the ink dries, it's dried. If wet ink touches the shirt, it will need ALOT more than the DTF film can hold, plus it'll need a barrier to really make colors pop( pre-treatment). 

 

The release coating is also some sort of heat sensitive coating. Anyway, If The white ink and powder isn't something you want, just go with DTG, Screenprinting, Or some form of inkjet transfers Like Jet-Pro Soft stretch. Print it with an inkjet printer, heat press it to a shirt. This removes white, and the powder. Still, it will need cut out, unless you want a transparent box on the shirt. 

 

If it was as easy as printing on a piece of paper ( or some other film of this form, still just a piece of paper) and sticking it to a shirt, Then i'm pretty sure none of this stuff would exist. That is why most people start out with vinyl, You cut it, weed it, and press it. Done, cheap to start. 

 

Any method you choose, it has a downside. Vinyl offers a terrible hand compared to DTG, and even wash fastness. you also have to weed it. But with DTG, You have to pre-treat, and learn how to use a rather expensive machine. 

 

Jet pro, Needs contour cut and weeded, or deal with the box that is left. Deal with the quality loss and again.

If you want to go an even EASIER route. Try the LASER printer tranfers for LIGHT garments. NO weeding, No powder, NO pre-treat. Nothing except a regular laser printer, and a heat press. Again, It will experience cracking eventually, since a laser printer is basically micro-plastics. Buy hey, It's easy and cheap to do. and follows your directive. 

 

Anyway, Good luck with whatever you are trying to do!

Edited by johnson4
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I also forgot to answer the thickness question. It's not really thick at all. The thickness comes from it sticking to the shirt instead of being absorbed into the shirt. Reducing/removing the white ink won't really help, And the powder is 100% required. The print feels like a plastisol printed shirt, or a plastisol transfer. My personal opinion, I like the hand on DTF better than any other method. 

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Thanks for the info and your time..

I’ve been reading a couple of your other post and kind of got an appreciation  the process - The transfer sheet is necessary to absorb the “ink’s base” and dries the face side of the transfer, it is also heat reactivated so that it can release from the transfer sheet. On the other side of the DTF ink, the powder  does the same thing - it absorbs the inks base, dries the ink and is also heat reactivated.. (So the reason for using a larger grain powder made specifically for the DTF inks, it it’s ability to absorb the inks carrier) - A heated activated, dry sandwich..

Are these DTF inks the same thing being used for M&Rs Digital Squeegee and like technology? If so, I saw a digital white (I believe on PolyOne) that they are offering for inkjet applications - That’s a possible white and perhaps, so is discharge white, I also saw a new, no powder transfer white - Never mind making these two processes work together, it matters, for my model, that I don’t run white through the inkjet heads if I don’t have too..

 

Also, are there different transfer film textures like matte and gloss? In the videos I’ve watched, DTF appears a bit glossy..

 

 

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1 hour ago, BrightFriend said:

Thanks for the info and your time..

I’ve been reading a couple of your other post and kind of got an appreciation  the process - The transfer sheet is necessary to absorb the “ink’s base” and dries the face side of the transfer, it is also heat reactivated so that it can release from the transfer sheet. On the other side of the DTF ink, the powder  does the same thing - it absorbs the inks base, dries the ink and is also heat reactivated.. (So the reason for using a larger grain powder made specifically for the DTF inks, it it’s ability to absorb the inks carrier) - A heated activated, dry sandwich..

Are these DTF inks the same thing being used for M&Rs Digital Squeegee and like technology? If so, I saw a digital white (I believe on PolyOne) that they are offering for inkjet applications - That’s a possible white and perhaps, so is discharge white, I also saw a new, no powder transfer white - Never mind making these two processes work together, it matters, for my model, that I don’t run white through the inkjet heads if I don’t have too..

 

Also, are there different transfer film textures like matte and gloss? In the videos I’ve watched, DTF appears a bit glossy..

 

 

 

Are these DTF inks the same thing being used for M&Rs Digital Squeegee and like technology? I have no idea what that is, I'm sorry. 

If so, I saw a digital white (I believe on PolyOne) that they are offering for inkjet applications - That’s a possible white and perhaps, so is discharge white, I also saw a new, no powder transfer white - Still no idea. 

Never mind making these two processes work together, it matters, for my model, that I don’t run white through the inkjet heads if I don’t have too..

You don't have too, as mentioned above. CMYK only works just fine. 

 

There are a million ways to get what you want done, I have tried like 20 of them. I would recommend you pick one that is already set-up and documented, since none of it is " easy". you will have to learn any method you choose, which takes time and money to get to printing and getting used to it, instead of figuring out why it doesn't work the way you want by yourself.  whatever that is worth to you. 

Screenprinting is the most cost-efficent way, and my original method. I use this all the time.

Transfers are the next best thing, But still require more effort, and being the most expensive. Still getting used to it.

DTG is by far the quickest and easiest for small runs, but expensive compared to screen-printing. for CMYK only prints, this by far is a no brainer for me, and use it the majority of the time now. I have NEVER had 1 bad customer experience with this process. 

 

It all depends on the effort you are looking to put into it, how much money, what kind of print runs, quality- I mean almost endless things. 

 

This website supports DIY DTG/DTF mainly. Some people will help with UV and Solvent types of things, but again revolving around epson printers.

 

The DTF method has been very well explained, as well as the DTG method. In my opinion, no other method exists better than these two, other than screen-printing for larger runs. 

 

Any other methods, you probably won't get much help here. 

As I said before, DTG sounds like the best, quickest, cost efficient way to go, unless you want larger runs- even then, it depends. 

DTF will cost you more, since your adding the Transfer Film, This was mainly designed for White/CMYK prints in my opinion, since CMYK printing is so basic and easily maintained in comparison with a million options available. You will be VERY limited to what you can print. For example, yellow doesn't show at all on a light gray shirt. So your prints might as well be black ink only. 

 

Definitely not worth re-inventing the wheel over. Been there, done that, not worth it, at least not for the " trial and error" crap, my time is worth more than that now. 

I'm all for saving money by making my own screens, or creating tools to aid me in the process. But the process itself, Not me. Not worth it, unless you plan on capitalizing from it. 

 

Good luck!

 

 

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