DTF (Direct to Film) printing is one of the newest and most exciting methods of transferring a design onto a garment while maintaining its color and vibrancy. Printing businesses worldwide have been adopting this new system to print more clothes faster, cheaper, and more efficiently. Due to the strong demand and hype surrounding this recent invention, you or a business you work in may have decided to invest in this system. If that’s the case, or if you want to use DTF printing independently, you’ll need a step-by-step guide. Keep reading to find the most important facts about this method.

1. Prepare the design

DTF transfer is a short and easy-to-understand process. Preparing the design itself is the first step to printing your own design on a piece of clothing. If you want to print an image you’ve found online, download it onto your computer. If you’re making it yourself, ensure you’ve added all the finishing touches because you won’t be able to adjust the design once it’s printed. Check if it fits properly on your clothing and whether it’s compatible with the material.

2. Set up your printer

DTF printers take a special kind of film, called DTF film, that is made specifically for them. These films are great because, unlike older kinds of film, they can print any and all colors in your design, along with any finer details. Align the film in the printer, and download any software or printing drivers your computer may need prior to printing. Ensure your design is in a PDF format. Once you’ve ensured all this, you can move to the next step.

3. Print the design onto the film

The DTF film you just put in acts as a transfer medium for the design, i.e., it’s an intermediate, and you need to print the design on it first. Once the film is lined up, your printer will recognize its placement, and you’ll get an alert on the associated app on your computer. Adjust the resolution, scale, and size of the print to your liking, and print the design onto the film.

4. Dry and cure the film

The film, once printed, now needs to dry sufficiently and be treated before you’re ready to use it on a shirt. Manufacturers usually provide information on how long you’re recommended to leave a film to dry, but if you don’t have this information, 10 minutes is usually fine. Once it’s dry, remove it from the printer carefully because if you touch the ink, you’ll smudge it, ruining the design. Use a DTF curing machine or a heat gun if you don’t have other options. The heat will cause the ink to adhere to the film better, giving you a better-quality print.

5. Transfer the design onto the fabric

You’re all set to print your design. Choose the fabric you want to print it onto. Take your heating press and start to heat it to the recommended temperature. This temperature is included in the instructions that come with the press, and it’s different for different manufacturers. While the press is heating, line up your film on the piece of clothing face-down. Use a Teflon sheet to cover the film and the fabric to protect both during the heating process. Use your press to begin heating the fabric, applying the proper temperature and pressure, which, again, is included in the instructions. After enough time has passed, open the press, carefully peel back the film, and you’re ready with your brand-new printed fabric.


There’s a reason that millions of printing businesses around the world have adopted this new system. The countless advantages it affords, like better and faster printing, vibrant colors, finer details, faster turnarounds, and fewer materials used, are enough to instantly boost the money your business will make, and you’ll get a return on your investment in no time. You’ll probably be using your new system a lot, so if that’s the case, you need to know how to operate it inside and out. Luckily, all the information you need is in this guide, so just follow the instructions, and you’ll be good to go.

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