What Is DTG (Direct to Garment) Printing?

Danica Mae Allibang

5 mins read

dtg printing

Direct to Garment (DTG) printing is a modern method of printing designs directly onto fabric using inkjet technology. Unlike traditional methods such as screen printing, DTG printing offers more versatility and ease, making it a popular choice for custom apparel businesses. In this guide, we’ll explore how DTG printing works, its pros and cons, and the best products for this type of printing.

Main Key Points:

  • High-Quality and Versatile: DTG printing produces vibrant, detailed images and is ideal for intricate, multi-colored designs.
  • Cost-Effective for Small Batches: Unlike screen printing, DTG has no minimum order requirements, making it perfect for single items or small runs.
  • Eco-Friendly and Comfortable: DTG uses water-based inks that are environmentally friendly and result in a soft, durable print that doesn’t crack or peel.
  • Best for Cotton Fabrics: DTG printing works best on 100% cotton garments, producing the most vibrant and durable results.

DTG Printing Pros and Cons

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of DTG printing can help you decide if it’s the right choice for your custom printing needs.

Pros of DTG Printing

  1. High-Quality Prints: DTG printing produces vibrant and detailed images with a high resolution, making it ideal for complex designs and photographs. The technology allows for precise and intricate patterns, capturing the subtleties of any artwork.
  2. No Minimum Orders: Since there’s no need for screen setup, you can print single items or small batches cost-effectively. This is perfect for businesses that want to offer custom products without holding large inventories.
  3. Quick Turnaround: DTG printers can quickly produce printed garments, making them ideal for print-on-demand printing. This rapid production capability ensures that orders can be fulfilled swiftly, enhancing customer satisfaction.
  4. Eco-Friendly: DTG uses water-based inks, which are more environmentally friendly compared to the plastisol inks used in screen printing. These inks are less harmful and often come with certifications for environmental safety.
  5. Soft Feel: The ink bonds directly with the fabric fibers, resulting in a soft feel that doesn’t crack or peel over time. This ensures that the printed garments remain comfortable and wearable.

Cons of DTG Printing

  1. Higher Cost per Unit: For large orders, DTG can be more expensive than screen printing due to the higher cost of ink. While it’s cost-effective for small runs, larger volumes can make the per-unit cost prohibitive.
  2. Limited Fabric Compatibility: DTG works best on 100% cotton fabrics; blends and synthetic fabrics may not yield the best results. This limitation can affect the range of products you can offer.
  3. Maintenance Requirements: DTG printers require regular maintenance to prevent clogging and ensure consistent print quality. This includes cleaning the print heads and ensuring that the machine is in optimal condition.
  4. Slower for Large Orders: While DTG is quick for small batches, screen printing is generally faster and more cost-effective for large runs. This makes screen printing a better choice for bulk orders.

How Does DTG Printing Work?

Direct to Garment printing works similarly to a traditional inkjet printer, but instead of paper, it prints directly onto garments. Here’s a step-by-step overview of the process:

  1. Design Preparation: The design is created or selected using graphic design software. This software allows for the creation of detailed and colorful designs that can be transferred to the garment.
  2. Pre-Treatment: The fabric is pre-treated with a special solution to ensure the ink adheres properly and colors remain vibrant. This step is crucial for achieving high-quality prints and involves applying a pre-treatment liquid and then drying the garment.
  3. Printing: The garment is placed on the printer’s platen, and the design is printed directly onto the fabric using specialized DTG inks. The inkjet heads move over the garment, depositing the ink in precise patterns.
  4. Curing: After printing, the garment is heat-pressed or cured to set the ink, ensuring durability and washability. This process involves using a heat press to apply pressure and heat, which helps the ink bond with the fabric fibers.
pro-cure dtg printer

Tips for Getting Started with DTG Printing

If you’re considering starting a DTG printing business, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose the Right Printer: Invest in a reliable printing machine that suits your business needs and budget. Research different models and read reviews to find a printer that offers the best combination of quality and affordability.
  2. Use High-Quality Inks: Quality inks produce better prints and prolong the life of your printer. Look for inks that are specifically designed for DTG and have good colorfastness and washability.
  3. Pre-Treat Correctly: Proper pre-treatment is crucial for vibrant and durable prints. Ensure that the pre-treatment solution is applied evenly and that the garment is properly dried before printing.
  4. Experiment with Settings: Test different printer settings to find the optimal combination for your fabrics and designs. This may involve adjusting the print resolution, ink levels, and curing times.
  5. Maintain Your Equipment: Regular maintenance ensures consistent print quality and extends the life of your printer. This includes routine cleaning of the print heads, checking for any blockages, and keeping the printer in a dust-free environment.

Which Fabrics and Products Are Best for DTG Printing?

Best Fabrics for DTG Printing

  1. 100% Cotton: Achieve the best results with 100% cotton garments, as they absorb the ink well and produce vibrant prints. Cotton fibers bond well with DTG inks, resulting in high-quality, durable prints.
  2. Cotton Blends: Use cotton/polyester blends for DTG printing, though the colors may not be as vibrant as with 100% cotton. These blends offer a balance between the softness of cotton and the durability of polyester.

Best Products for DTG Printing


Use DTG for custom t-shirts, offering endless possibilities for designs and colors. Custom t-shirts serve as a staple in the apparel industry and are perfect for personalizing with unique graphics.

Hoodies and Sweatshirts

These garments excel with custom prints and suit this type of printing well. They provide a larger surface area for printing detailed designs.

Tote Bags

Create custom printed tote bags for promotional items or retail products. They offer practicality and display intricate designs beautifully.

Baby Onesies

Print on soft cotton onesies with DTG, making them ideal for personalized baby gifts. People often use these items for custom baby shower gifts or personalized clothing for infants.

How Long Do DTG-Printed Garments Last?

Several factors, including the quality of the ink, the pre-treatment process, and how you care for the garments, determine the durability of DTG-printed garments. Generally, DTG prints can last as long as traditional screen prints if properly maintained. Washing the garments inside out in cold water and avoiding high heat drying can prolong the life of the print. Additionally, using mild detergents and avoiding bleach can help preserve the colors and integrity of the print.

What Is the Difference Between DTG and Screen Printing?

man screen printing blue t-shirts
  1. Process: DTG prints directly onto the fabric using inkjet technology, while screen printing uses stencils and ink pressed through a mesh screen. Screen printing involves creating separate screens for each color in the design, making it more labor-intensive.
  2. Cost: DTG is cost-effective for small batches and complex designs, while screen printing is more economical for large orders. Screen printing has higher setup costs but lower per-unit costs for bulk orders.
  3. Quality: DTG excels at producing detailed, multi-colored designs, whereas screen printing is better for bold, simple designs. Screen printing can produce vibrant colors and is ideal for designs with limited color variations.
  4. Versatility: DTG handles a wide range of designs and colors, whereas the number of screens and colors limits screen printing. Screen printing is best for simple, high-volume projects, while DTG is perfect for intricate, on-demand prints.

How to Create Custom DTG Printed Products with Awkward Styles?

At Awkward Styles, we make it easy to create custom DTG-printed products. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Select Your Product: Choose from our range of garments, accessories, and custom products ideal for DTG printing. Our catalog includes a variety of items such as custom t-shirts, custom hoodies, tote bags, and more.
  2. Upload Your Design: Use our online design tool to upload your artwork or create a new design. Our user-friendly interface allows you to customize your products easily.
  3. Place Your Order: Once you are satisfied with your design, place your order, and we will process and deliver it efficiently on time.

For businesses looking to offer custom DTG-printed products, our print-on-demand services are a great option. You can also explore and check out some funny t-shirt sayings and quotes perfect for your next custom print project.

Affiliate Disclosure:

This blog contains some affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you use these links to buy something (at no added cost to you).

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