Direct to Garment (DTG)

What is Direct to Garment (DTG) printing?

Direct to garment (DTG) printing is a printing method in which ink is applied directly to a garment using specialized inkjet technology. The ink is absorbed into the fibers of the garment, creating a print that is soft to the touch and looks similar to a screen print. DTG printing is an excellent option for printing small quantities of garments or for printing designs that have a high level of detail or multiple colors. It is also a good choice for printing on dark-colored garments, as the ink used in DTG printing is designed to be absorbed by the fabric and is therefore less likely to appear faded or washed out.

History of DTG printing

The first patent for a DTG printing system was filed in the early 1990s, and the first commercial DTG printers became available in the late 1990s. However, it wasn't until the mid-2000s that DTG printing technology began to gain widespread adoption.

One of the main factors that contributed to the growth of DTG printing was the development of more advanced inkjet printheads, which allowed for higher print speeds and better print quality. In addition, the increasing affordability and availability of DTG printers made it possible for smaller businesses and individuals to enter the market.

Today, DTG printing is an established printing technology that is widely used in the garment industry. It is particularly popular for printing small quantities of garments or for printing designs that are too complex to be produced using traditional screen printing methods.

DTG in the real world

There are many companies that offer Direct to Garment printing services. One well-known example is Printful, a print-on-demand fulfillment company that offers DTG printing services to customers around the world. Printful has helped thousands of businesses and individuals create and sell custom-printed clothing and accessories through its platform.

Another example is Custom Ink, a company that provides DTG printing services to customers in the United States. Custom Ink has helped businesses of all sizes create custom-printed t-shirts and other garments for a variety of purposes, including promotional events, team uniforms, and fundraising campaigns.

DTG printing has also been used by fashion designers to produce small quantities of custom-printed garments for fashion shows and other events. In addition, DTG printing is often used by artists and other creative professionals to produce one-of-a-kind garments that showcase their work.

At Stitchi, we offer a variety of printing techniques including Direct to Garment which enables us to address all of your needs. Our team will work with you to figure out which printing process is going to best suit your specific requirements and budget.

DTG process

The DTG process involves several steps, including pre-treatment, printing, drying, and finishing, to produce high-quality, customized garments.

1) Pre-treatment

The treatment process for DTG printing involves applying a pre-treatment solution to the garment before printing. This solution helps the ink bond with the fabric and ensures that the print will be durable and long-lasting.

The pre-treatment solution is usually applied using a spray gun or a roller applicator. It is important to apply the solution evenly and consistently to avoid streaks or other imperfections in the final print. After the pre-treatment solution has been applied, the garment is typically left to dry for a few minutes before printing.

Some DTG printers include an automated pre-treatment process, which can help to streamline the production process and ensure that the pre-treatment is applied consistently. In these systems, the garment is automatically pretreated as it passes through the printer.

2) Printing

The printing process for DTG printing involves using an inkjet printer that has been modified for printing on garments. The printer applies the ink directly to the garment using specialized inkjet technology, and the ink is absorbed into the fibers of the fabric.

Before printing, the design to be printed is typically created using a graphic design software and then converted into a format that can be read by the DTG printer. The design is then loaded into the printer and the garment is placed on the printing bed.

The printer applies the ink to the garment using a series of tiny nozzles on the printhead. The printhead moves back and forth across the garment as it prints, building up the design layer by layer. The print speed and quality may vary depending on the specific DTG printer and the complexity of the design.

The printing process for DTG printing is generally faster and more efficient than other printing methods, such as screen printing, and is well-suited for producing small quantities of customized garments.

3) Drying

The drying process for DTG printing involves allowing the ink on the printed garment to dry and set. This typically involves either air drying or using a dryer.

If the garment is left to air dry, it is typically placed on a hanger or laid flat on a surface to allow the ink to dry completely. Depending on the humidity and temperature of the environment, it may take several hours or more for the ink to fully dry.

Alternatively, the garment can be placed in a dryer to speed up the drying process. Most DTG printers have an onboard dryer that is designed to set the ink quickly and efficiently. The garment is placed in the dryer and is exposed to heat and forced air, which helps to evaporate any remaining moisture and set the ink.

Overall, the drying process is an important step in the DTG printing process, as it ensures that the ink is fully set and the print is durable and long-lasting.

4) Finishing

The finishing process for DTG printing typically involves inspecting the printed garment for any imperfections, such as smudges or streaks, and making any necessary corrections. The garment is then packed and shipped to the customer or stored for later use.

Some DTG printers also include additional features, such as an automated pre-treatment process and an onboard dryer, to streamline the production process. The specific steps and equipment used may vary depending on the specific DTG printer and the needs of the project.

Direct to Garment examples




In summary, direct to garment (DTG) printing is a popular printing method that involves printing a design directly onto a garment using specialized inkjet technology. DTG printing is an excellent option for producing high-quality, customized garments in small quantities and is well-suited for printing intricate designs or for printing on dark-colored fabrics. The DTG process involves several steps, including pre-treatment, printing, drying, and finishing, to produce high-quality, durable prints on garments. DTG printing has been widely adopted in the garment industry and is used by businesses of all sizes to produce custom-printed t-shirts, hoodies, and other garments. Whether you are a small business owner looking to produce promotional items or an individual looking to create one-of-a-kind clothing, DTG printing is a versatile and cost-effective solution.

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