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Comparing Direct to Garment Printing with Heat Transfer Printing


Direct to garment printing, also known as DTG printing, is a method of digitally printing an image directly onto cotton textiles using specialised digital inkjet printing technology.  

DTG inkjet garment printing is generally considered the more economical, faster, and cleaner than traditional screen printing methods for small to medium runs. It allows t-shirt designers the opportunity to create not only one of a kind masterpieces or small production runs - regardless of the number of colours - without having to create film positives, stretching screens, and using chemicals to reclaim screens.

Unlike most other printing techniques that apply ink on top of the material, DTG injects colour pigments into the fibres of the fabric. This generally means that when you touch the finished product the feel will be softer because it’s part of the fabric.

DTG will also enable the your designs to be as intricate as you require blended with the garment.

While there is advancements into Poly cotton blends, DTG printing still works best in our experience at the moment with 100% natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo or hemp. 

Some Benefits of Direct to Garment  Printing

  • light-weight, high resolution colour prints including photographic artwork - (we find not as vibrant as Heat Transfer process)
  • Compatible only with 100% natural fibres only such as cotton, bamboo or hemp.
  • Can be a softer feel than heat transfer process, 
  • Great solution for one off's to small and quick turnaround runs  for promotional wear 
  • Good wash and wear durability up to 50 washes* (When care instructions are followed).

Then we have HTP or HTV also known as Heat Transfer Vinyl Process which has two options that we can provide. These 2 options includes full colour process printed heat transfer vinyl and also one colour speciality substrates.  

Full Colour Heat Transfer Printing (HTP/ HTV)

First up let's outline HTP Full colour process where we use a commercial grade heat transfer vinyl printing process where we print high resolution quality full colour process using Roland eco-solvent printers and inks onto premium quality 90µm (thin and soft) heat transfer substrates providing both a light and reasonably stretchable feel applied through commercial heat transfer process. 

We also don't just square cut, where artwork permits, we use machines that profile cut your design to shape before we apply to your garment. If you have ever seen a full profile cut and weeded transfer decal, it is a similar outcome where we remove all excess substrate from the design to allow the garment to show through providing a much more integrated look. For more about this process and the various cut style please see - Apparel-cutlines

Don't be mistaken while the theory is similar this is certainly not your home based iron on or paper transfers, this is a premium printing processes which is used by fashion brands.

There are some screen printing sites that try to play down HTV, but we have been doing this for 8 years now and we have produced garments for some of the biggest brands in Australia who even though we have DTG now, prefer HTV process. 

Some Benefits of Commercial Grade Full Colour Heat Transfer Printing

  • light-weight, 
  • high resolution vibrant colour prints including photographic artwork 
  • Compatible with majority of fabrics including Cotton, Polyester, Cotton / Polyster blends as well as a range of other fabrics
  • Good wash and wear durability up to 50 washes* (When care instructions are followed). 

One Colour & Specialty Heat Transfer Printing (HTP/ HTV)

Then there is the HTV one colour and speciality substrates, this is the same application process as the full colour process, however we are just using premium quality Siser coloured heat transfer vinyl to produce the design

This HTV process is most often associated with being used for Names and Numbers on sporting apparel, however it is actually used more broadly as with the right design it can be an awesome solution for brands and designers looking to stand out from the full colour process printed styles and also have excellent wash-ability and durability for longer term use. 

For more info on the range of one colour and speciality substrates, please check out our preferred stock Siser at www.siser.com, you can also see a range of the results that can be achieved, again not just an iron paper solution. 

Some Benefits of Commercial Grade 1-Colour and Specialty Substrate Heat Transfer Printing

  • light-weight, 
  • Vibrant colours and speciality substrates 
  • Compatible with majority of fabrics including Cotton, Polyester, Cotton / Polyster blends as well as a range of other fabrics
  • Excellent wash and wear durability up to 50-60 washes* (When care instructions are followed).

More Questions?

The above is a work in progress and an outline however we hope that helps answer your questions. If you have any others please let me know, happy to see if we can help.

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