Scroll Top

DTF Printing: The Game-Changer of the eCommerce Custom Business

DTF Printing

For every custom business, printing types are crucial because they determine the product’s condition. In a print-on-demand business, deciding the appropriate printing type according to the business type and product quality is necessary. 

There are various printing types available at eCommerce custom businesses, and DTF businesses are one of them. The DTF printing method is quite faster than any other printing type, and as a result, this type of printing is getting popular.

In direct-to-film (DTF) printing, images are printed directly onto specialized films, then transferred to clothing using heat. The heat transfer method provides print longevity comparable to conventional printing methods.

This article will discuss why DTF printing can be a game changer for an eCommerce custom business. First, look at the overview of DTF printing and its comparison with other printing methods.

What is DTF Printing?

DTF is the short form of “Direct to Film.” This printing method enables users to print their designs directly onto a film. Later, this can be transferred onto the fabric of any color made from cotton, polyester, or a blend of both materials.

This process offers a high level of versatility and allows for full-color prints with sharp, detailed images. DTF printing is an ideal solution for producing custom apparel, and now DTF printing is becoming very popular.

How does DTF Print Transfer?

When it comes to making high-quality, full-color transfers, DTF printing is a fantastic option. Using DTF printing, you can make your own unique patterns and have them transferred onto whatever fabric you like.

To perform DTF printing, create your design in a program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. When the design is done, save it in a format compatible with DTF printing, such as eps, ps, pdf, bmp, tif, jpg, png, or PSD. Instead of using these programs, you can use any third-party product configurator if you are running a custom business at Shopify.

Next, use a DTF printer to transfer your design to the DTF film. The white ink layer is printed at the same time as the colored inks, making this approach a convenient replacement for more complex procedures like white toner.

Remember that the transfer must be applied to the garment using a heat press after printing. Applying heat will transfer the film’s design to the garment, where it will remain permanent.

What Things Are Needed to Print DTF Transfers?

To print DTF transfers, you’ll need a DTF printer, DTF ink, DTF film, a heat press, and a garment

  • DTF printing requires a printer with specific features. Your designs can be printed directly onto the DTF film and then transferred to the fabric using the printer
  • Then, you’ll need DTF ink if you want to print those designs. The ink is compatible with DTF printers and films, and it comes in a variety of colors
  • The film has a specific adhesive coating that facilitates its application to the fabric. To transfer the design from the DTF film to the cloth, a heat press is needed
  • The film is heated and pressed onto the fabric in a heat press, permanently transferring the design. 
  • Finally, you’ll need a cotton, polyester, or cotton-polyester mixed garment to transfer the design onto

How much does DTF Equipment Cost?

Equipment for DTF can range in price from the low hundreds to the high thousands of dollars.

Depending on size and capabilities, the DTF printer will cost the most, anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000.

Design-specific ink, known as DTF ink, can cost from $80 to $120 per liter. DTF film can cost from $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot, though this varies with order size and quality.

Then comes the cost of a heat press, which is required to transfer the design from the DTF film onto the fabric. And the range starts around $200 to $1,000 or more.
Last but not least, the price of the clothing item will vary according to the garment style and the required number.

Differences between DTF, DTG and White Toner printing

DTF vs. DTG printing

DTF printing requires printing designs onto a specific film and applying heat to transfer the design to the fabric. Common applications for this technique include printing graphics onto cotton, polyester, and cotton-polyester blended fabrics.

DTF printing eliminates the need for screens and stencils to create colorful and complex images with accurate color reproduction, making it a popular alternative to screen printing.

However, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing requires employing a specialized printer to print graphics directly onto the garment. DTG printing is commonly used for limited edition prints and can produce vibrant, photorealistic images in full color. However, when compared to screen printing, it can be more expensive for larger print runs.

DTF Printing vs. White Toner

As we already know, in DTF printing, the design is first printed onto a transfer film before being transferred to the material with a heat press. DTF printing allows for a high-quality, colorful design by simultaneously printing the white ink layer with the colored ink.

In contrast, white toner printing requires a specialized printer to be used to print the design onto transfer paper. After printing with both the white and colored toner layers, the transfer paper is heated and applied to the substrate.

Selecting DTF printing or white toner printing depends on the needs of the project. DTF printing may be preferable for larger print runs or lighter fabrics, while white toner printing may be preferable for smaller print runs or darker fabrics.

Pros and Cons of DTF

DTF printing has both pros and cons. Let’s have a look at what they are-


Pros 1- The Flexibility Of DTF Transfers Is Remarkable

DTF transfers can be applied to any fabric, unlike DTG printing. Because it has limitations on 100% cotton, 50% cotton, and 50% polyester.

But with DTF, there is no need for any particular treatments or processes when applying a DTF transfer to either a light or dark fabric. DTF transfers are versatile and may be used on a wide variety of materials, including bags, shoes, and even wood. A DTF transfer can be applied to almost any porous surface. 

Pros 2- DTF Printing Speed Up Production And Save You Money

DTF printing is a great option for increasing output and decreasing costs because of its many benefits. Saving time is a major advantage.

This transfer may be created through a quick and efficient printing process, which allows for significant time savings in production. Since DTF transfers don’t require any pre-treatment or cutting of the transfer material, they save time and effort.

DTF transfers produce prints of such high quality that they seldom wear out and must be replaced. Since less effort is required to provide high-quality transfers, this lowers long-term expenses. DTF transfers, in general, are an efficient and low-cost method for producing high-quality transfers.

Pros 3- DTF Printing Are More Convenient Than Traditional Printing Methods 

Since DTF transfers are flexible and work on a wide variety of substrates, they have numerous more potential applications than traditional printing applications.

Compared to conventional screen printing and DTF printing, it is versatile. Conventional printing is restricted to a small number of inks and substrates, but DTF printing’s use of special ink and transfer film means it can be applied to practically any surface. 

This feature makes DTF transfers ideal for printing on a wide variety of materials, including ceramics, plastics, textiles, and garments.

Moreover, DTF transfers can also print complex designs with great precision by adding the finest details. Because of this, DTF transfers are frequently used for printing unique things like phone covers, mugs, and more.

Additionally, DTF transfers do not necessitate the use of costly equipment or substantial training. Because of this, DTF transfers are often used for things like prototyping and producing in small batches.


Cons 1- Do not able to deliver original colors

DTF printing is less vibrant in terms of color depth than sublimation printing, which is widely regarded as the printing that conveys the greatest color sharpness. Moreover, DTF printing typically produces a smaller color palette and darker colors than other printing technologies like dye-sublimation or screen printing.

Cons 2- Limited Fabric Compatibility 

DTF printing is unavailable on many fabrics since it requires specific sensitivity from the material. Glossy or smooth fabrics may not absorb the ink enough, which results in a poor print.

Cons 3- Limited Durability 

Despite DTF printing’s capacity to generate high-quality prints, those prints may hold up better than they would be using a different printing method. DTF prints are vulnerable to fading and breaking after being cleaned or exposed to direct sunlight.

Why DTF Printing is the Future of eCommerce Custom Business

  1. DTF Prining Offers Flexibility
  2. DTF Printing Provides Longevity
  3. Cost-Effectiveness Is The Another Reason
  4. Product Personalization Can Be Enhances In DTF Printing

Reason 1- DTF Prining Offers Flexibility

DTF printing is useful for a wide variety of substrates, which is one of its key benefits. While some printing techniques are restricted to specific textiles, DTF printing can be used with a wide range of substrates, such as cotton, polyester, nylon, leather, and many more.

This adaptability is essential for eCommerce custom business owners who sell different types of custom goods together. DTF printing makes it simple to print on various fabrics for items like tees, sweatshirts, totes, caps, banners, etc.

DTF printing allows a company to add custom designs, trademarks, or artwork to its products, making them more desirable to buyers who desire individualized goods. Moreover, an e-commerce custom company can offer product personalization opportunities to its users with the help of a product configurator.

These types of custom eCommerce businesses can boost their sales and customer base by providing a wider variety of products and more opportunities for personalization to their customers.

Reason 2- DTF Printing Provides Longevity

DTF printing is a reliable method for producing high-quality and durable prints. DTF guarantees highly durable ink and is resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling. This gives a guarantee that the print will maintain its excellence for an extended period.

Traditional screen printing involves layering ink onto fabric, which creates a thick and heavy print that results in cracking and peeling.

DTF printing ink is specially formulated to improve bonding with fabric, which helps minimize the risk of fading due to environmental factors such as sunlight and water.

DTF printing offers a broader spectrum of colors and designs, making it a valuable advantage. Limitations on the number of colors in a design can restrict creativity when using traditional screen printing methods. DTF printing is a versatile printing method that offers a wide range of colors and can create intricate designs with fine lines and details.

Reason 3- Cost-Effectiveness Is The Another Reason

Due to its cost-effectiveness, DTF printing is gaining popularity as the future of eCommerce custom business. DTF printing is a cost-effective option for businesses of any size due to its low production costs. DTF printing requires affordable equipment in comparison to other printing methods.

The DTF printing market has a low cost of entry, making it accessible for small and medium-sized businesses to invest in the required equipment without incurring significant expenses.

The DTF printing process is fast and effective, resulting in cost savings for businesses by reducing labor expenses. Printing can be completed within minutes once the design is created and the file is prepared. Companies can efficiently produce customized products in large quantities without requiring a significant workforce.

DTF printing saves time and money by eliminating pre-press production and screen preparation. DTF printing is a cost-effective option for small and medium-sized businesses that lack the resources to invest in other printing processes.

DTF printing is a cost-effective option for eCommerce custom business owners who aim to provide high-quality, personalized products at an affordable price. Because of the low-cost pricing process, this can help custom businesses boost their profit margins and stay competitive in the marketplace.

Reason 4- Product Personalization Can Be Enhances In DTF Printing 

Product personalization’s popularity is increasing daily, becoming more popular because of the availability of different product personalization tools in eCommerce. In eCommerce, various product personalizer tools are available that are business-centric and profitable.

DTF printing can also be printed with any type of customized design with a product configurator. As we already know, DTF printing can be done on cotton, polyester, synthetic, or silk without any trouble. So, DTF printing type will never be a barrier in the case of your design.

Bottom Line

DTF printing is a game-changer in the eCommerce custom business. Its unique combination of flexibility, longevity, cost-effectiveness, and product personalization makes it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes looking to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Get MultiVariants from Shopify App Store

Leave a comment