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DTF - Direct To Film Transfer

Direct-to-Film (DTF) transfer is a method for transferring designs onto fabrics and other materials using a specialized printer. The process begins by printing the desired design directly onto a special DTF transfer film. The film is then placed on top of the fabric, and heat and pressure are applied to transfer the image onto the fabric. The DTF transfer method is different than traditional heat transfer methods, as it eliminates the need for a separate printing step and allows for a higher level of detail and color accuracy. This method is commonly used for creating custom designs on T-shirts, bags, hats, and other items. The DTF transfer film is easy to handle and apply to the fabric, and produces a high-quality and vibrant image on the fabric.


DTF is a revolutionary new printing technique that's more affordable and accessible compared to DTG, screen printing, sublimation or laser white toner transfers. DTF required a special printer and DTF ink to print the image on PET transfer film. With DTF you can transfer to 100% cotton shirts without pre-treatment, saving a lot of money and time. DTF is washable unlike laser toner transfers and it feels a lot better to the touch.

How DTF Transfer printing works

  • Step 1 – Print on PET Film
    Insert the PET film in the specific printer. Print the entire image on the pet film. There are 2 layers printing to perform by the printer. First layer prints the CMYK image, follow by second layer to print white ink on top of the CMYK image. Due to the image will be transferred to the fabric later, therefore all images printed on PET film must be mirror-image.
  • Step 2 – Powdering
    This step is the application of hot-melt adhesive powder on the film that has the printed image on it. The important thing is to ensure that the powder is evenly spread all over the printed surface on the film. Basically this process is done by automated powder shaker machine.
  • Step 3 – Curing the powder with printed image
    This main purpose for this process is to make the adhesive powder become half melt so that the powder can mix with printed ink then dry out together. The most common way is to apply appropriate heat on both printed image and the powder. For best results, it is highly recommended to go by the manufacturer specification for powder melting point.
  • Step 4 – PET film completed
    Finally, the DTF film with printing is completed. In short, the printed images is just temporary stay on the PET film. Later, the image will be transfer to fabric by using the heat press process.
  • Step 5 – Pre-pressing
    The step involves pre-pressing of the fabric by using heat press machine. The fabric is kept in the heat press and pressurized under heat for about 2 to 5 seconds. This is done to flatten the fabric and also ensure de-humidification of the fabric. The pre-pressing helps in proper transfer of the image from the film on to the fabric. 
  • Step 6 – Heat Press Transfer
    This is the heart of the DTF transfer process. The PET film placed on top of the fabric, then apply appropriate temperature and pressure by using heat press machine. This process allows adhesive powder start melting in between fabric and printed ink. Of course, we must allow enough time for the powder to melt completely. Any mistake on this process will cause damage on fabric and reliability issue.
  • Step 7 – Cold Peel
    It is important that the fabric and the now attached film on it cool down to room temperature before pulls the PET film off. After peel off the PET film, the printed image will stay on the fabric.
  • Step 8 – Post-pressing
    To ensure that printed image can stick on fabric permanently and improve reliability, it is important to perform post-pressing for around 10 second.

Advantages of Direct-to-Film Transfer

There are several benefits to using DTF Transfer as a method of creating custom designs on fabrics and other materials:

Versatility: DTF transfer can be used on a wide variety of fabrics and other materials, including cotton, polyester, and nylon.

Durability: The designs created using DTF Transfer are durable and can withstand frequent washing and wear.

High-quality: The designs created using DTF Transfer are of high quality and can be very detailed and intricate.

Flexibility: It allows for a lot of design flexibility and easy to modify or change the design.

Eco-friendly: It is an eco-friendly method as it does not require the use of water, chemical or other harmful materials.

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