Direct to garment printing is a process that utilizes a special ink jet based printer that uses special textile inks to print directly onto a garment.
The advantages of DTG printing is that it is not a transfer print and will produce a high quality directly printed image on the garment for short and medium print runs.
DTG printing requires no knowledge of screen printing–only a mastery of your computer, associated software, and the DTG printer itself. A disadvantage of DTG printing is the relatively high cost of the equipment and the inks.
At this writing, a decent entry level, single shirt machine will cost you around $10,000. Machines that are capable of printing multiple shirts at once are available, but are significantly more expensive. In addition, it is necessary to apply a pre-treatment solution to a garment prior to printing and you will need to have a heat press for that purpose as well.
Lastly, while some breakthroughs have been made for printing onto dark colored shirts, that process is still being perfected. At this writing, dark shirt printing capabilities are not universally available from all DTG printer manufacturers.
Despite the claims of some DTG manufacturers, direct to garment printing is not going to replace screen printing. However, direct to garment printing can be a useful solution for printing complex multi-color and photographic images for short run orders. For that reason, direct to garment printing makes it a print method worthy of consideration for certain print applications.
ASPA Staff and others