DTF Printing

What Do You Need for DTF Printing?

When it comes to garment printing industry, DTF printing tends to be one of the most popular printing methods as it can be applied to all the fabrics. What is DTF printing? As the name implies, Direct-To-Film Printing is a technology directly print onto DTF PET film, then transfer the printed patterns to substrates such as T-shirt or other application.

So What need to prepare for DTF printing? The DTF printing requires: 

Though some printing industry leading manufactures have developed advanced all-in-one DTF printers to provide comprehensive Direct-to-Film printing solution, it is necessarily to well understand each player of DTF printing process so that you will make no mistake while choosing the most suitable DTF printer and DTF supplies for your customer and business.

DTF Printer

What kind of printer do you need for DTF transfer printing? The simple answer is: DTF (Direct to Film) printer,  the indispensable part in the process of DTF printing.

What is DTF printer? It’s the printing machine directly print onto the film. With the help of DTF printer, you can print the patterns, images and designs on the film directly and then transfer them to the fabrics such as T-shirt.

Different with other printing machines such as DTG printer or sublimation printer, the biggest advantage of DTF printer is the DTF printing can be applied to various fabrics such as cotton, denim, polyester etc., and the texture without limitation. What’s more, DTF printer does not have color limits, DTF printing can be applied to both light and dark color fabrics.

According to size, DTF printers can be classified into small, medium and large sizes.
Small size of DTF printer is usually work to 30-45cm printing, suitable for small T-shirt printing business or work-at-home use. It is more convenient to move them to enter the door.
Medium DTF printer is often in size of 60cm. This type of DTF printer is more applicable to commercial, customized T-shirt printing and other printing business.
Large format DTF printer can printing up to 1.2 metres, often seen in factories for mass production.

DTF printer price varies from sizes, appearance, functions and more factors. If you are new to DTF printers, the industry leading manufacture: Sublistar reviewed printing experts and published the Ultimate Guide to Choose Best DTF Printer[Updated] for you.

dtf star series
Industry Leading DTF Printers

DTF Hot Melt Powder

DTF hot melt powder plays an adhesive role between ink and fabrics. It is often divided into regular hot melt powderTPU hot melt powder and anti-sublimation hot melt powder, each has it’s own features.

  • Regular hot melt powder has standard washing and dry-cleaning resistance.
  • TPU hot melt powder, including black and white powder, can withstand high temperature and wash well.
  • Anti-sublimation hot melt powder has better coverage and color rendering ability, making it very suitable for printing dark fabrics.

DTF Film

DTF film, also called DTF PET film or DTF transfer Film, is specially designed for DTF printing. Different from common pet film, the thickness of DTF film is usually 90μ, ensuring excellent transferring quality. DTF film also features high ink-absorption capacityanti-static ability and easy to tear off. In order to meet diverse needs, there is various DTF film in the market, for example, hot peel film, cold peel film, temperature change film, golden film, luminous film and more. For a detailed introduction of DTF film, you can check this passage, Things You Must Know Before Choosing DTF Film


DTF ink is dedicated to DTF printing, available in cyan, yellow, magenta, white and black. White ink is the basic color that constitutes the white back ground of the print film. Rest color ink prints patterns on the film. As one of the necessary consumables, the quality of ink is crucial to the printing effect. DTF ink of Sublistar is of good stabilityvivid colorexcellent fluency and good washing fastness. Most importantly, it is friendly to environment. Therefore, it is a good choice for DTF printing.

Heat Press Machine

As a process of direct to film printing, heat press machine is used to transfer the patterns to fabrics, including flatbed heat press machine, rotary heat press machine and 360° rotary heat press machine.

Flatbed heat press machine is widely used in printing sport and team apparel. Rotary heat press machine can realize the needs of roll-to-roll or piece-by-piece transfer processing, which is ideal machine for printing rolling cloth, fabric tape or umbrella cloth. As the name shows, 360°rotary heat press machine can make 360°continuous heat transfer. It also allows you to print long pattern because its max transfer length is unlimited.

RIP Software

RIP software like Flexiorint and Maintop can help you design the patterns you want to print. In additional, Photoprint and CADlink is also helpful in preparing the patterns. RIP software greatly influences the color performance, ink printing characteristics and final printing result.

The RIP software sometimes can be included in the price of DTF printer, contact the manufacture or try to find it in the product spec table, here is one good example

Powder Shaker

Powder shaker is a machine that can apply hot melt powder to DTF film. At the beginning years of DTF printing, people needs to shake and dry the powder by themselves which require more man power and costs, but as the technology develops, all-in-one powder shaker and dryer has been designed and integrated in to DTF printer, this builds a DTF printing process needs much less than hour.

powder shaker

As can be seen in popular DTF printer with shaker (the following product photo), the comprehensive DTF printing is able to automatically spread hot melt powder to DTF film evenly, and then cure the ink and powder in the drying oven in one stop. Though it makes the price of DTF printer seemingly higher, but let me assure you that this is not the case, as a business owner, you can easily see more returns from higher printing efficiency and less cost to labor.

DTF printer
DTF printer integrated with powder shaker (click to the product)

Curing Oven

Curing oven is used to melt the hot melt powder on the film. Currently, most advanced DTF printers are equipped with all-in-one powder shaker, which can realize powder shaking and drying in one-stop solution. But some desktop design DTF printers for store business still need independent curing ovens. People need to shake the powder manually and use a small industrial oven to melt and cure the hot melt powder.  

small curing oven

All the equipment and supplies mentioned above are what you need to prepare for DTF printing. Once you prepare all them well, you can start up your own printing business. Start-ups can benefit a lot from DTF printing. Here are some benefits of DTF printer:

  • Able to print on all fabrics
  • Do not require pre- treatment
  • Cost-effective and sustainable
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • More efficient and quicker printing speed
  • No color limitation

Since DTF printer has so many advantages, the suppliers believe that more and more companies will join DTF printing technology for its foreseeable benefits. Therefore, if you are the boss of textile or T-shirt company and want to produce printed fabrics efficiently and economically, the DTF printer is a potential direction.

After understanding this, if you still have questions about DTF printing, please contact experts at Sublistar, an experienced company in garment printing, providing professional technology and equipment support.


DTF printing is a new printing technology that uses DTF printer to print patterns on the PET film. For more details, you can check this post, Introduction to DTF Printing Technology

DTF printer is revolutionary new printing technology. Compared with DTG, screen printing, dye sublimation, or laser white toner transfer, it is cheaper and more readily available. DTF needs a printer, DTF special ink, DTF hot melt powder, DTF transfer film and heat press machine.

Print on Film→Spread the Powder→Melt the Powder→Pre-press the Fabric→Heat Transfer→Cold Peel / Hot Peel→Post-pressing.

Firstly, the Direct to film printer can produce same quality T-shirts like sublimation printer and it can also complete some works that sublimation printers can’t achieve it. Secondly, it has no material and color limitations. Thirdly, DTF printer does not need any treatment, saving overall printing costs.

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