Direct to film, commonly known as DTF, is a process in which a graphic printed onto a piece of film with various colored inks is applied to an apparel item. This pre-printed film is binded to the garment through heat and pressure from a heat-press machine. This creates a long-lasting and detailed graphic that can be placed on an array of garments. 

The process

DTF printing starts with the film being made on a DTF printer. This printer uses a thick PET film that ensures for better transferring characteristics. The ink used for these printers are in the typical CMYK (cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) pigment but also has the addition of white ink. The white ink plays a significant role in the creation of the DTF film as it is the foundation that the colored pigments get placed on.

Once the film is created it is ready to be applied to a garment. We use an in-house heat press machine to adhere these films to the garments. Each garment type will require a different variation of temperature, time, and pressure to ensure the DTF film is properly applied. After pressed onto the item, a clear backing can be peeled off of the film to complete the process!

pros and cons
  • Can be applied to a wide variety of materials
  • Quick turn-around times
  • Vibrant and detailed artwork
  • Maximum of 100 items per order (some exceptions)
  • Artwork degrades over time (about 50 washes)

Have additional questions or wondering if DTF is the right option for your next project? Contact one of our apparel specialists today!