Custom apparel printing: Screen Printing vs. DTF Transfers

When faced against each other, which one takes the win?

So, you’ve found yourself searching the internet about the world of custom apparel printing and landed yourself here? Firstly, welcome; we are Mereton Textiles, your go-to family-owned and run Sydney textile printer. We offer a range of services, including sublimation printing, natural fabric printing, printed vinyls, wall coverings, laser fabric cutting, colour matching, artwork services, and commission printing, all tailored to meet your needs.

But enough about us; you’re here to find out all about screen print transfers vs. DTF transfers and which one is best for your needs.

Here’s the deal: both of these methods have their perks and are handy for different situations.
However, while screen printing has been around forever, DTF is really giving it a run for its money as an even better option.

We will get into how DTF works, what makes it so awesome and its best use cases.

How DTF transfers work

Since we’ve already tackled the heavy lifting with a full guide on what DTF is all about, let’s keep this brief. Basically, DTF printing is a modern way of printing designs onto a clear film using an inkjet printer. This film is coated with adhesive powder, then placed on fabric and pressed with heat for 10 seconds. After peeling, the print sticks to the fabric, similar to screen printing, but quicker!

The Perks of DTF transfers

Versatile – Adapt to any design or fabric with ease.
Reduced Setup & Costs – Get printing faster and more affordably for rapid results.
Superior Quality and Durability – Ensure your designs stand the test of time.
Small Batches and Custom Orders – Perfect for personalised creations in any quantity.
Eco-Friendly – Reduce waste and environmental impact with this sustainable printing solution.

Let’s further explore the perks that make DTF transfers a preferred choice for businesses and creators alike.

PressPeel Process
The Press&Peel DTF transfer process

Versatile & Vibrant

DTF transfers adapt effortlessly to any design or fabric. Whether you’re into bold patterns or eye-popping graphics, DTF makes it easy to bring your ideas to life on any surface.

Unlike screen printing, which can struggle with highly detailed designs or a vast palette of colours, DTF allows for the printing of high-definition images with a wide range of colours directly onto a film, which is then transferred to the fabric.

This process means you’re not limited by the number of screens you can use, opening up a whole new world of design possibilities that were either too costly or technically impossible with screen printing.

Reduced Setup Times and Costs

Different from screen printing, which can drain your time and budget, DTF requires no screens. With DTF, your design is printed directly onto a clear film in one go, complete with a solid white under base to make colours pop on any fabric colour.

That’s a big hello to reduced setup time and costs, making DTF not only faster but also more budget-friendly, especially for small to medium runs where screen printing setup costs can break the bank.

Watch the video below to see the entire DTF printing process:

Superior Quality and Durability

DTF prints have exceptional quality with vibrant colours that remain consistent across different fabrics. Compared to screen printing, where print quality and durability can be hit or miss, DTF ink bonds seamlessly with the textile, resulting in prints that are durable, flexible, and resistant to fading and cracking.

Small Batches and Custom Orders

Screen printing requires screens and is best suited for large production runs; however, DTF is capable of small batch orders and personalised designs.

This means you can cater to the growing demand for customised and limited edition items without worrying about costs.

It’s what the modern consumer wants (no, needs)

So what’s the verdict on DTF printing?

Well, personalised DTF designs that are readily available aligns perfectly with what modern consumers want.

When it comes to fashion, the pace of design changes so fast, which makes meeting consumer demands quickly key. That’s where DTF comes out on top. It’s the go-to method for keeping up with ever-evolving trends like custom apparel, home decor, promo products and more. 

But it’s not just about staying on trend, there’s a huge shift happening in how consumers view their clothes and the fashion industry. Disposable fashion is well and truly OUT of style, and instead, quality, longevity and unique pieces are hot. DTF printing allows shorter runs of one-of-a-kind designs, mix that with Mereton’s high-quality fabrics and you’ve got yourself garments that stand the test of time. 

Not to mention the sustainability side to it;  a win-win for both the planet and the consumer’s conscience.

“As more markets integrate sustainability, the digital printing revolution is only going to pick up speed.”

Joe Aliano, Mereton Textiles

Check out our Printable Fabrics OR our brand-new DTF printing service Press & Peel.