DTG has become an increasingly popular method for t-shirt printing. In order to complete the DTG process a high fiber content of cotton is often required (at least a 50% count). Here at 4C Print Shop we have been receiving more requests from customers for t-shirts that have a higher level of polyester. A huge part of that is due to smaller order sizes and an increase in individual shirt customization. The increase of t-shirt machinery as well as an improvement in product has also made a huge impact in this endeavor. The increased reliability of different products such as polyester have managed to make a huge increase in their popularity. The different performance quality of the materials proved a challenge to cotton t-shirts however. They did not perform as well as performance fabrics, which were able to wick away moisture and keep a design in better condition after printing.
Though similar, cotton printing and printing on performance fabrics do have some differences. Here are some of the most common issues with performance fabric based printing.
One problem is the pure vibrancy and wash durability of ink wicking. A solution for this is using the correct amount of pretreatment. With the best combination of ink and pretreatment, wash durability is thoroughly increased.
Another problem is the migration of dye which causes the discoloration of white-ink. A solution for this is preheating the fabric. That way the dyes will set before you pretreat or print on the fabric. Higher quality fabrics that are made specifically for DTG fabrics can greatly better your results as well.
There is also the problem of the heat press box appearing on shirts after printing. An easy solution for this is a non contact approach. This helps to alleviate the effects of the heat and pressure on the shirt. Keeping the heat element as close to the garment as possible without physically touching the two.
Using as much white ink as possible during printing helps to create an overall smoother appearance of your artwork. All in all better fabric produces the best results. Smoother fabric will create the most smooth and even outcome.