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Top Tips for DTG printing on different garment types

Style & Design Tips

Top Tips for DTG printing on different garment types

Like any printing method, the quality of DTG printing varies depending on the techniques used on each garment type. If we apply the wrong technique, your printed shirts may look really bad. 

Therefore, in our post, we will explain step by step to print the two most suitable garments for DTG printing: 100% cotton and 50/50 cotton. For any garments with above 50% polyester, we would strongly recommend you apply other printing methods.

DTG printing technique for 100% cotton garments

When it comes to 100% cotton garments, we would recommend you use Ringspun or Carted Cotton Ringspun for the best results. 

And in terms of the DTG printing process, we generally have 3 phases: pretreatment, printing, and curing. We explain these phases well in our previous post. 

Due to garment characteristics, we will apply different techniques in each phase. Let’s figure out how we do it right now!

1. Pretreatment for DTG printing

Pretreatment is an important step when we apply DTG printing. And with 100% cotton garments, here are some tips to get the best results of pretreatment: 

  • Use 25 - 30 grams of pretreatment for most ringspun apparel when you use DTG printing.
  • The higher quality of the knit, the less pretreatment you typically need.
  • More pretreatment is needed for garments with open-ended cotton, such as Gildan UltraCotton (around 20-40% more on average). 
  • You can have better results if you pre-press for 5-10 seconds.

=> This is highly recommended in high humidity areas

=> By pre-pressing, we can remove excess moisture from the garment and provide a dry surface so that we can apply pretreatment there. 

  • Rolling the garment while pretreatment is still wet is useful for high-fiber material.

=> This is a huge tip that can help you to deal with apparel having a lot of fibers

=> To do this, use a 4-6” foam roller which is typically used for painting cabinets

=> Then, you should roll in one direction with little pressure while pretreatment is still wet.

=> After rolling, you’ll see the fibers pressed down in one direction.

  • Use a light/white garment pretreat for white shirts.

=> Use half of the amount you use for dark garments.

=> You can use Firebird’s FBX-VIVID for pretreatment to get good results. 

2. Printing with RIP and how to setup RIP

Below are some tips for RIP settings when you apply DTG printing to your garments:

  • Increase the white under base strength slightly so that your garment can get just a bit more white down, making better results.
  • You will need to have a double-pass of white ink with thicker garments when you use DTG printing
  • Make sure there is a little longer delay between the white and CMYK passes when using the double pass.
  • Pausing for a couple of seconds before the CMYK pass will prevent printing CMYK over the puddled areas

3. Curing for DTG printing

Curing is pretty straightforward for 100% Cotton in DTG printing.

  • Typical Curing Setup: 
  • 330-340℉
  • Hover for around 30 seconds (it means the heating element is over the garment, but not pressed)
  • Use Low Pressure for Curing
  • Press for 90-120 Seconds (pressing time depends on the ink you’re using)
  • See white fibers which come through the print BEFORE pressing?
  • You need more pretreat OR you let your shirt sit too long after pretreat before printing.
  • Press your shirt for a couple of seconds if your shirts sit for more than 15 minutes after pretreat curing.
  • See white fibers which come through the print AFTER pressing?
  • You have not hovered long enough OR your pressure is TOO HIGH on your heat-press 
  • Dryer Settings
  • Typically you need to set 300 degrees for 2.5 to 3.5 mins. 
  • You need to use a gas or electric forced air dryer 
  • Always make dryer changes in 10% increments when testing.

TG printing technique for 50/50 cotton garments

You will need to apply different techniques with 50/50 cotton garments. As mentioned, 100% cotton is the best option for DTG printing. However, you still can get great printing items with 50/50 cotton garments if you apply our tips. 

Let’s figure out what they are!

1. Pretreatment for DTG printing

The pretreatment technique for DTG printing on 50/50 garments will be different from that on 100% cotton.

  • If you have dye migration or staining issues, you should follow these tips:
  • Lower press to 330℉ 
  • Take the amount you spray on the 100% Cotton equivalent and then, cut it in half.
  • Spray the half amount, heat press to cure. Then, you spray the half amount again, press to cure, and start to print.
  • This “double spray” is useful for preventing staining and dye migration.
  • Lower your time during this process because you’re curing less pretreat to help against staining and dye migration.
  • With 50/50 sweats, you will need more pretreat for DTG printing
  • Double spray with the regular amount of pretreatment comparing to the amount you use for 100% cotton. (if you see dye migration or staining, just lower some)
  • Press in between each spray at around 330℉ 

2. Printing with RIP and how to setup RIP

With 50/50 garments, the settings of RIP are similar to that of 100% cotton when you perform DTG printing. However, you may need to lower your white under-base strength a bit if you see too much puddling.  

For Sweats, you need to apply a double white under-base for thicker material. You can use a youth platen when printing on pocket hoodies.

Curing for DTG printing

When you start curing for DTG printing, you should keep it in mind to avoid dye migration.

When working with 50/50 apparel, final curing is the phase where you’ll see the most dye migration. 

If you use a Heat Press, here are some things you need to remember: 

  • Press in smaller chunks of time.
  • If your ink requires a 30-second hover and 120 seconds of pressing to cure, just break the pressing time into many chunks within around 30 to 60-second (make sure that total time-pressed equals the required total time). 
  • If your garments have a higher amount of dye migration, you should lower the times.
  • If the dye migration still happens, you can also lower your temperature to 300℉.
  • Make sure to do a wash test when you have new pretreatment and cure settings.

And if you use a Conveyor Dryer, you should lower the temperature and slow the belt speed. Then, always make dyer changes in 10% increments when you test.

In summary, with different materials of garments, you should apply different techniques for DTG printing. Hopefully, this post is useful for you to get amazing printed apparel. If you have any questions about DTG printing, just comment below and we are always happy to help.


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