Is DTF Same As Screen Printing?

What is DTF Printing?

Direct to Film (DTF) printing is a new printing technology that is similar to Direct to Garment (DTG) printing. The main difference is that DTG technology is limited to printing only on cotton-based garments. DTF printing process is quicker and requires less labor than DTG printing. 

DTF printing is a process that transfers prints onto fabric or other substrates with a heat-press mechanism, requiring no pre-treatment even for white ink. Using a specific kind of water-based ink to print a film transfer that is then dried, a powdered glue is applied to the back and then heat cured ready for storage or instant use.

DTF printing is much more versatile and can print on a large range of apparel such as nylon, polyester, denim, silk, and of course cotton. Due to the increased number of printing applications. DTF printing is fast becoming one of the most popular methods to print t shirts and apparel.

DTF printing has revolutionized the textile industry and updated textile creation for the digital era. The process is straightforward: digital artwork is created, printed on the film, then transferred onto the fabric.

DTF printing involves sophisticated computer technology that is capable of creating highly detailed, colorful prints for T-shirts and garments. Computer-aided technology also makes it a fast and economical printing method for large volumes of T-shirts and garments.

What is screen printing?

We have talked a lot about what is DTF printing, but what is screen printing, is DTF same as screen printing? Firstly we should learn what is screen, and are there any difference between.

Screen printing’s original roots go back to Egyptian times with stencilling and then later in China (900 A.D.) when they first forced ink through silk fabric to create images. It was then that ancient artists first stretched silk fabric across a frame and poured hot beeswax into it. Although, it wasn’t until the 1880’s that screen printing took off as a commercial process for decorating fabric.

Screen printing is the most widely-known and widely-used form of decorating apparel, a traditional technique dating back thousands of years. Each color of ink is pushed through a different stencil and layered onto the surface of the textile, then cured to set the ink.

Screen printing is very versatile, and the technique can be used to print on many different types of material such as textiles, plastic and latex. The surface you’re printing on does not need to be printed under pressure, so it’s commonly used for products such as balloons, clothing and wallpaper.

The benefits of screen printing

  • Cost effective for large batches
  • Versatile design placement – artwork can easily be moved and printed at a different angle or position.
  • The more you order, the cheaper the cost per unit – although the initial setup fee can be expensive, the more copies you need, the cheaper it works out. Once your artwork has been setup, you don’t need to pay the fee again which is ideal if your design rarely changes.
  • Although you can’t necessarily personalize prints using this method, we can print off badges which we can then run through a digital printer to personalize prints.

The drawbacks of screen printing

  • Not very cost effective when printing in multiple colors
  • Large upfront investment required
  • One design per batch
  • Colors can bleed into one another

How Is DTF printing Different from Screen Printing?

You don’t need to worry about making screens with DTF, separating your art by color, or worry about the numbers of colors impacting the cost and difficulty of printing. While screen printing is probably the most inexpensive way to mass-produce T-shirts, you may still experience artwork and garment limitations. You need to be a master screen printer to achieve high-quality results on a consistent basis.

Screen printing also requires a fair amount of space and room for various steps in the process. Many early adopters of DTF are screen printing shops that desire to keep high color, complicated jobs off their screen printing presses.

Traditional screen printing is the best way to go on a budget if you want to mass-produce shirts. Screen printers are known for their signature soft touch and can produce better quality prints. That’s why it’s efficient to set up automatic screen print shops: there is incredible machine output.

However, it takes a long time to set up printing for a single design, meaning you need to print the same design on a bulk number of shirts for value. Unlike film printers, which can print numerous designs with a click of a mouse, it does not need as many assembly stations.

It is also hard to get into screen printing, as it requires a lot of learning to perfect. Aside from this, it involves painting, washing, spraying, and a good amount of chemicals. You also have to start measuring and mixing inks. The DTF printer just needs ink, PET film, and powder. Halftone screen printing allows you to print greyscale images.

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