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What Is DTG Printing and How Does It Work?

In a world where everybody follows trends and acts the same, many people get the urge to add a unique personal touch to their everyday lives. Customization businesses are the most successful example of that. However, if you want to follow in their footsteps, you need to know more about different printing methods.

Today, we’ll shine a spotlight on one of the most famous methods on the market, DTG printing. You can use it to print T-shirts, bags, banners, and more. So read on to know everything about it, including how it works.

What Is DTG Printing?

DTG printing, also known as Direct-to-Garment printing, is a relatively new printing technology that first appeared in the 1990s. And while it didn’t affect the fashion business right away, it became a customers’ favorite many years later.

Simply put, a DTG printer resembles a color inkjet printer, but it prints on fabrics instead of paper. The print heads on the printer spray the desired colors right onto the surface of your garments, giving your clothes a unique design. And after it finishes, the design won’t have a different feel from the rest of the garment, like other printing methods.

Because of its advanced technology, DTG printing can let you print many colors at once; you won’t have to print each color separately like you would when screen printing. More so, you won’t have to pay extra fees per color.

But it’s worth mentioning that not all fabrics can absorb ink efficiently; you’ll have to use 100% cotton T-shirts or cotton blends.

How Does DTG Printing Work?

If you want to start a garments printing business, you’ll need to know how DTG printing works. So we’ll walk you through the process in detail.

The first step you’ll have to do is choose the design you want to print. You can either create your own using graphic design software or use a custom design. Then, you can send your design to the DTG printer.

Before you print your garment, you’ll need to pretreat it to ensure long-lasting colors and high-quality printing. You can use a pretreatment machine for this step, and it’ll take less than a minute to finish. The only case where you won’t have to pretreat your garment is if you use a white, 100% cotton T-shirt.

After the pretreatment step, you’ll need to dry your garment using a heat press. The process will take about 20 to 30 seconds to finish if you previously set your heat press to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, you can start the exciting printing process. All you’ll have to do is position the garment on the DTG printer’s plate and press the printing button.

When the printing process ends, you’ll need to take your garment back to the heat press. This step goes by curing, and it’s essential to let the ink set into the fabric. This way, you’ll guarantee that your design doesn’t crack or fade after a single wash.

To cure your garment correctly, set your heat press to 330 degrees again, and put silicon paper over your design to protect it from the heat. Then, apply pressure for about a minute and a half. And voila! You have a high-quality printed garment.

DTG Printing: Pros and Cons

With the wide availability of garment printing methods, it’s easy to become confused about which technique to use. However, we’ll make the process easier for you by listing the pros and cons of DTG printing.


DTG printing has many pros that make it shine among other printing methods. For instance, you can print many colors at once, saving a lot of time and effort. Not to mention, you have an unlimited color range to print.

DTG printing gives you the best print quality on the market, better than screen printing and heat transfer. This is because it embeds inks into fabrics instead of transferring the colored image on top of the material.

Accordingly, you can use it to print detailed designs without worrying that the details won’t show because of low-quality colors. More so, it has low setup costs, so you won’t need to break your bank to print a garment or two.


DTG printing is partially limited to cotton garments, which might displease some people. However, this isn’t entirely unfortunate because cotton is comfortable, durable, and hypoallergenic.

Another point people dislike about DTG printing is that it isn’t cost-effective for mass production. So, if you want to start a large business that solely depends on this printing method, you might need to think twice. It also isn’t the fastest printing method out there, but you won’t feel this issue unless you print large volumes at once.

Finally, DTG printing has limited design placement. So, for instance, you won’t be able to go wild and print unique designs on the entirety of your T-shirt or your sleeves.

To Wrap Up

Direct-to-Garment printing is a high-quality method that results in vivid colors and cool designs. However, it’s more suitable for small-scale businesses because of its low speed and poor cost-effectiveness in mass production.

So, if you prioritize printing quality over the rest of the aspects, you’ll love it. But if you want to print large volumes in a short time, it’ll be best if you look for an alternative.

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