Direct to Garment Printing: A Comprehensive Guide

Direct to garment (DTG) is a popular printing method that’s used for creating striking and detailed prints. It’s the ideal choice for vibrant designs that you want to stand out from the crowd. But what is it? How does it work? How much does it cost? And which products is it best suited to? 

Along with the above-mentioned ones, we know that you’ll have a lot of questions about DTG and how it can help your business. In this post, we’ve covered everything you need to know and the benefits that DTG can bring to your overall operations and service offerings. Plus, we’ve included some inspirational product ideas that you could introduce to your range.


We’ll cover: 


What is Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing?

Without stating the obvious too much, direct to garment printing is the method of applying ink and designs straight onto clothing items and materials. It’s a popular choice with clothing manufacturers due to the convenience of printing, plus, it makes vibrant colours pop and stand out. Therefore, it can separate your designs from the rest of the competition. 

One reason in which DTG is massively popular within the industry is due to the lack of preparation time for each print. In comparison to screen printing in which there’s a large setup time and maximum effort necessary, DTG machinery works like a normal printer. However, instead of paper, you’re printing onto garments instead. 

Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is! This simplicity and ease are perfect for those one-off prints and any bits of ad-hoc work that come in from customers. However, if you’re working on larger projects, we wouldn’t recommend DTG as it isn’t the most suitable for high quantities and can be time-consuming. 

It’s an effective printing method that has no problem getting into the nitty-gritty. Where some printing methods lack in emphasising the finer details, DTG comes into its own. So, if you have designs that have particularly tricky bits or finicky details, you should side with DTG for the best results possible. 


The DTG Process: Explained

DTG printing couldn’t be easier – if you can use an everyday printer, you’re able to print DTG. Of course, the only difference is that you’re printing straight onto garments, rather than paper. The ink is applied straight to the garment, which allows it to soak into the fibres. That way, it prolongs the longevity and durability of the design. 

It doesn’t matter what colour you’d like to print onto either. However, for darker colours, you’ll need to add an extra stage into the process to properly treat the garment. All materials should be treated to prepare them for printing with a special treatment liquid – this helps the ink bond with the fibres of the garment. 

From there, the garment should be loaded onto the machine. You must make sure that they’re loaded correctly and are as flat as possible. One wrinkle or misplaced fold could ruin the whole job! DTG is opted for its high-quality prints and your customers won’t be happy if you’ve not achieved this due to a few lazy wrinkles. 

Once loaded, press go and watch your designs come to life! It’s completely automated so you needn’t do anything while the design is printed. Once finished, for best results, hold the garment between a heat press for 90 seconds to help speed up the setting process. And there you have it!


Which Products is DTG Well Suited to?

Colour isn’t an issue when it comes to DTG. You can create striking designs and intricate detail on garments of any colour that you wish, as long as you have the right treatment liquid and ink colours. So, whether you’re looking to create stand out designs on a blank white background or a deep black, there are no limitations to what you can create. 

When we talk about compatibility, it’s the material itself that you need to consider for DTG. For best results, we recommend that you use materials that are between 50-100 percent cotton. Otherwise, the ink won’t bond with the garment correctly and the results may be a little underwhelming – nobody wants that, do they? 

Polo shirts and t-shirts are among the most popular products produced with DTG. They’re both staples of the wardrobe, so you’ll never run the risk of them going out of style. And that’s only if you’re focusing on the fashion industry, these products slot in nicely to a vast range of industries and styles. From work uniforms to novelty fancy dress, there’s plenty of choice for you to be creative. 


How Much Does DTG Cost?

In smaller job sizes, DTG is incredibly cost-efficient for your business. The process from start to finish is relatively quick and low effort, therefore, you can turn small orders round in no time. That means the labour and time cost for each job will be tiny, so depending on your profit margins, you’ll definitely be making a significant mark up on each product. 

The quality that DTG can produce in a short time is unrivalled. This quality allows you to mark up your products accordingly – people will pay a premium for quality products, in essence, this makes DTG an even cheaper choice for your business. It’s definitely beneficial if you use it to your advantage. 

DTG starts becoming expensive for your company when you take on large projects. As each product needs printing separately, any jobs that exceed over 20 products will need a lot of time and effort from one or various members of your team. As a rule, we’d advise that you never exceed over 20 products in one DTG order, it’s just not worth it. 

Getting started with DTG requires an initial investment to purchase the right machine for your needs and requirements. However, the machine is a long-term investment that’ll continue to add value to your production line for years to come. So, while it’s expensive in the short-term, you’ll definitely reap the long-term benefits of DTG. 


The Benefits of DTG Printing

If you’re looking to produce intricate and detailed designs, you shouldn’t look any further than DTG. It’s the perfect method to produce designs that are sure to get you noticed within your industry. Also, it grants you the opportunity to offer custom designs to your audience – this is a great USP that allows you to provide a top-class personalised service. 

DTG allows you to save time and money. Other printing methods are so much more long-winded than DTG – this means that you’re not wasting unnecessary time and can reinvest the time saved on the areas of your business that need it the most. That way, you can improve overall productivity and help drive your business forwards. 

DTG is also environmentally and eco-friendly. Due to the focus on printing small batches, it means that waste is reduced and minimum power is required. Therefore, this allows you to be savvy with your materials and ink – which, in turn, benefits the environment due to the lack of wasted products. It’s far more efficient than other printing methods. 


Equip Yourselves Properly With Midwest!

Direct to garment is a massively effective printing method that your business can take advantage of – however, you must be equipped properly to produce the best results. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with lacklustre products that aren’t going to be of any use to anyone – and you’ll have wasted time, effort and money. 

By equipping yourselves correctly, you’re putting yourselves in the best position to succeed as a business. And that doesn’t just go for your DTG machines either – product manufacturing companies must have the right industrial embroidery machine too that is capable of meeting their customer demands. 

So that you can make smarter decisions when equipping your business, we’ve put together a FREE guide on DTG. It’s the only direct to garment guide that you’ll ever need – so, be sure to bookmark it and file it easily for reference. Grab your copy today!

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