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DTG (Direct to garment) Printing

How is DTG printing different from screen printing? 

DTG (direct-to-garment) printing uses a printer, much like your paper printer at home, to print designs directly onto apparel. The inks use CMYK colors that are combined to print the Pantone color spectrum in real time. DTG inks are water based and stored in cartridges. This printing method was introduced to the scene about 15 years ago.

Screen printing burns designs, or parts of designs, into screens. Ink is pushed through the 'pores' of the screen to imprint onto a piece of apparel. Each color requires a different screen. Screen printing inks are stored in pints and applied to the screen. Screen printing has been around for hundreds of years.

Why would I want to choose DTG over screen printing?

The main reason why customers choose to go with a screen printer is cost. Screen printing is far more economical for orders larger than 10 pieces with simple designs. Some customers also prefer the vibrancy of screen printing. Screen printed inks sit on the fabric, which makes for a heavier print with vibrant color.  

Customers come to DTG printers like us when they only want a few shirts, or if their design is full of complex detail and color. For example, DTG is the only apparel printing method that allows for color gradients. Photorealistic designs are another example of a type of artwork that may only be possible using a DTG printer. It is possible to achieve the same vibrancy as screen printing, but it is more expensive to do with multiple passes of ink and several layers of white under print. Each ink cartridge for a DTG printer cost minimum $215. This is the main reason DTG is more expensive for larger orders. 

DTG is the softest t-shirt print compared to any other method. Even with an extra large print, the fabric remains soft and breathable. If softness is important to your project, then consider DTG printing. 

On-demand printing for an e-commerce shop is another business model that uses DTG printing. Because a DTG printer can easily print just one shirt without much set up, it is the preferred method for on-demand print shops. 

What can I print on? 

DTG prints work well on any fabric that is high in natural fibers. 100% ring spun cotton prints best. 

What if I want a polyester shirt?

For a shirt with a high polyester blend, we offer DTF (direct-to-film) printing, HTV (heat transfer vinyl), textile vinyl, and dye sublimation. All these methods feel different on the fabric. The best way to decide what is best for your project is to submit your project via our inquiry form. Our team will help you decide which method will get you the best results for the best price. 

What shirts do you keep in stock?

We keep a handful of popular shirt brands and colors in stock for our on-demand stores and small print jobs. But we have accounts with wholesale suppliers around the country. Most jobs require us to research the best product for the job and order it from one of our preferred suppliers. 

Is DTG printing environmentally friendly?

DTG is the most sutainable apparel printing option. This is mainly because being able to print just item reduces textile waste. We also recycle the ink cartridges for our printers. The inks themselves are water based and nontoxic. They are safe for our employees to work with and are manufactured at a high-tech Epson facility in Indonesia that practices fair labor. 

Our shop sources as many textiles as close to our location as possible. We use biodegradable plastic bags in our shop and participate in several recycling programs. We reuse packaging from shipments sent to us and we're working on sustainable packaging materials for our on-demand e-commerce shops.