DTG printing is traditionally designed for 100% cotton fabrics. This makes printing on anything other than that a bit of a nightmare for the uninitiated. DJ Kinslow from Constantly Create Shop has become quite the pioneer in DTG printing over the years and has learned just about everything it takes to create successful, vibrant designs. DJ is here to give us some hacks and pointers for nailing DTG prints on unconventional fabrics.
In cases where you might have a T-shirt that’s an 80/20 cotton-polyester blend or a 50/50, this can have an effect on the vibrancy and consistency of your colors. Although it’s not ideal to print on anything other than 100% cotton, you can make up for that polyester with a more high-quality digital file. For DJ, this means working with a vectorized image that has no less than 600dpi. Having a more high-quality image file before you even start printing will automatically give you lines that are a lot crisper and colors that are a lot more accurate.
Printing on denim can be a challenge due to the fact denim jackets and garments usually have raised seams that can obstruct the printhead on a DTG printer. Luckily, DTG printers allow you to adjust the platen and canvas so you can bring the seams below the printhead. “There’s a bit of trial and error involved, but just bend down and look directly into the printer to make sure the garment is lower than the printhead,” DJ advises. Denim can also be difficult because it’s often distressed, which DJ explains can be easily fixed with applying some extra pre-treatment before taking it to the printer.
Constantly Create Shop might be well-known for its satin jackets but that doesn’t mean satin is an easy fabric to navigate. DJ explains how its fibers are very sensitive to both heat and pressure which can have a big impact on the colors that come out. “On satin, it’s all about keeping the right color. The color can look too dark if it is put under too much heat or too much pressure,” DJ tells us. “Through practice, learn how to train your eye to match the color on-screen to the one on the finished product.”
DJ’s top advice
Always test your digital prints on samples or extra blanks. Especially if you’re trying a new color you’ve never printed on before as it can really affect the appearance of the colors as they appear on the computer file. Testing is a surefire way to give your customer exactly what they want so they can walk away happy.