What the DTF is direct-to-film printing?

Gone are the days of laboriously carving wooden blocks for textile printing. Thankfully, innovation has made things a whole lot less… manual. 

However, in the constantly evolving printing industry, staying on top of the latest trends and technology can be a skill in itself. One method that has revolutionised the apparel decorating industry is Direct-to-film (DTF) printing. With its long list of benefits and versatility, DTF printing is drawing a lot of attention from designers and manufacturers worldwide. 

Here’s the lowdown on DTF and why we at Mereton are absolutely obsessed with it.

What is direct-to-film printing?

DTF printing is a more recent method of printing a design onto a special clear film using an inkjet printer, which is then covered in a special adhesive powder. The film is then placed on the fabric and applied with a heat press. After just 10 seconds of pressing (yes, you read right) and a quick peel, the print is transferred and fused with the fabric —like a simple, fast version of screen printing.

Click the video below to check out the DTF pressing process

What’s all the buzz about DTF printing?

There’s a myriad of reasons why DTF printing is causing such a stir. Here are our top three favourites:

Just pick a material, choose a print, transfer your design

For starters, DTF printing allows you to transfer designs onto any colour or material. When we say any, we mean (pretty much) anything – no matter if it’s cotton, polyester, rayons or a blend of fabrics for shirts, tote bags, hats, socks, caps or beyond. DTF printing offers endless customisation possibilities, allowing you to explore new avenues and whip up one-of-a-kind creations.

Flowstate Coffee Jumper
Its Wine O Clock Custom Printed Tote Bag
The Goods T Shirt Design

One of the things that’s often focused on in textile printing is the durability of prints to stretch with the fabric. With DTF printing, the prints are resistant to fading, splits, cracks or peels, keeping your designs vibrant in colour and crisp in detail even after regular wears and washes.

Life-like hues and vibrant colours

When you’re designing the perfect print, you don’t want the transfer to compromise on colour or detail. With DTF printing, you can guarantee that you’ll get prints with life-like hues and vibrant, fluro colours. Even better, DTF allows for printing white ink on dark-coloured fabrics, which can come as a challenge for other printing methods. 

Some more benefits of DTF printing include:

  • Fast turnaround 
  • Consistent results
  • Eco-friendly printing
  • Can be printed in both small and bulk orders
  • Customisable to suit any budget or style
  • Simple application: just press and peel

Who’s into DTF printing?

DTF printing is making waves across various industries and creative circles, from fashion designers seeking innovative textile designs to entrepreneurs with custom merchandise. Also, designers are leveraging DTF printing to deliver top-notch products for their clients, while eCommerce store owners and DIY enthusiasts are diving into the world of custom designs for both business and personal projects. With DTF printing, the possibilities are endless, making it easier and faster than ever for businesses and creatives to bring their visions to life.

How does DTF printing stack up against other methods?

DTF vs. vinyl transfer

DTF printing has several advantages over traditional vinyl transfer. Unlike vinyl transfer, DTF doesn’t require cutting along the edge of the artwork, offering more flexibility in the design process. Additionally, DTF printing provides a more durable and long-lasting result than vinyl transfer, as vinyl transfers are more prone to peeling, cracking, and fading over time.

DTF vs. screen printing

As one of its finest features, DTF printing offers a more detailed and vibrant colour compared to traditional screen printing, making it ideal for intricate designs and photographic prints. Not to mention, DTF printing doesn’t require the extensive setup and cleanup associated with screen printing, allowing for quicker turnaround times and lower minimum order quantities. 

Ready to give DTF printing a go?

Head over to the Press & Peel website for more information and to order online.

Get in touch with the Mereton team today to discuss the best printing solution for your next project.