The Short History of DTF Printing Techniques


We turn the tables on Terry this week and interview him about his journey into the realm of DTF (Direct to Film) printing. Following last week’s show with Johnny Shell, we know there are many unanswered questions about DTF Printing. Terry takes us on his journey from his initial unfamiliarity to becoming adept with DTF due to his expertise with DTG equipment. Terry shares insights into the reasons driving the adoption of DTF, addressing customer resistance, tackling misinformation, and navigating the learning curve involved in mastering DTF decoration. We will discuss technical aspects, including the optimal printing environment, application techniques for adhesive powder, and safety considerations. Join them for an enlightening conversation shedding light on Terry’s evolution from a novice to an expert in the field of DTF printing.

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Our regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants, lectures, or selling. 2 Regular Guys was not created for our employers but rather for our industry. Since February 2013, The 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened-to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will improve your business and our industry. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list, and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews, and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!

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Dad Joke

Terry: Not all math jokes are terrible

Only SUM

What We’ve Learned about DTF (Direct to Film)

Why DTF?

  • It’s a very simple decoration method
  • Easy to apply and almost any substrate
  • You can apply in a temperature range of 275-325 so manmade fabrics not an issue
  • No dye migration

Is there customer resistance to DTF garments?

  • Most of the resistance comes from decorators, not customers
  • Email from a customer this week

Why is there so much misinformation on the internet and at shows?

  • Band-Aids
  • Wanting to appear as an expert.
  • Ulterior motives

What’s a realistic learning curve to be a DTF decorator?

  • 30-90 days

Talk to us about proper environment.

  • Just like DTG, 40% humidity and normal office temperature

How does DTF work on a DTG printer? Why would someone go this direction?

  • Most machines have a DTF option that reverses the print order and backs off on the amount of ink layed down
  • Nothing to buy other than film and adhesive. You use the same ink for both processes.

Why is there white and black adhesive powder?

  • Band-Aid because of process errors

What causes blotches in the image after it’s applied? 

  • Moisture on your film.
  • The film coating is made to attract water based ink. It also attracts moisture from the air.

What’s the best way to apply DTF transfers?

  • Depending on the fabric, press for 15 seconds at medium pressure
  • Peel and press a second time for 5 seconds, but use fabric or Pellon to soften the image.

Is adhesive powder and vapor safe?

  • The adhesive powder – more finely ground but the same adhesive screen printers have been using for decades
  • Fumes can cause eye, skin or respiratory irritation or potentially an allergic reaction for some people
  • Not the great evil that some make it out to be
  • OEKO-TEX Certified
  • Use common sense

I was going to ask you about ways to add adhesive and cure single sheet transfers, but we’ll have to wait for the Secret Sauce today for that answer.

The Secret Sauce

We serve up bite-sized tips for our #regulators to instantly spice up their decorated apparel business. Just like the perfect wing sauce, these quick tips can transform your business experience, adding flavor and depth to your operations. Each video in this playlist is a nugget of wisdom, carefully selected for its potential to bring immediate value to your work. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started in the decorated apparel industry, dip into our ‘Secret Sauce’ for insights that can help you soar. Remember, the right tip at the right time can be just the secret ingredient you need for success.