Have you ever heard the most asked question in the T-shirt industry?
What gives you the best quality between printing direct to fabric or using transfer paper? Which one gives you the best results?
Nowadays quality is very similar between these two methods. Each one has little details that you may want to consider if you are thinking about buying a printer based on what the best solution for your business might be.
You may know that T-shirt printing with transfer can give you a wider color gamut than DTF, while the saturation may be slightly better when you print onto the fabric directly. Other than that, the results are very similar.
First of all, let’s define what the differences between each process are, when you use transfer printing, you need a special paper to print the design on and it has a special coating that works with heat and pressure to, as its name states, transfer the design or image to the fabric. When the paper is exposed to heat, the ink becomes a gas and it gets into the fibers of the fabric. This process is called sublimation and the fabric required for this is polyester since the heat also slightly melts the fiber so the ink penetrates and it becomes part of it. It requires a heat press to finish the process, but in the end the color may fade faster when washing it.
Another positive feature is its versatility when it comes to substrates and applications, with transfer paper you can be able to transfer it to pretty much anything from uncoated fabrics and any other rigid product.
Transfer also allows you to print more detailed images since the resolution is better than that of DTF printing.
Direct-to-fabric completely avoids using paper, but the fabric is still going to need to get through a heat press to sublimate and fix the dye. DTF also requires using pretreated polyester fabrics or you can use pigment ink onto cotton.
The inks lay directly on the fabric instead of being a gas that gets into the fibers, but take into consideration that some inks such as pigment will leave a tougher “hand” or feel of the printed image.
Choosing between both
Focus on your business goals and aspirations. There are several options in the market for each one and also some that can do both but obviously buying one isn’t inexpensive, so it can be challenging to pick one. Focus on the applications you want to work with and also the budget you own.
For more information about every remarkable brands who attends different trade shows during the year and around the world, with technical specifications about each, visit our shop under textile category or if you want personal advise, feel free to contact us.