Direct to Film Transfers Business: The Ultimate Guide
Have you ever seen a t-shirt with colorful designs and wondered how it is done? It’s one of those things you come across daily. You also likely own a few t-shirts with logos, pictures, or quirky quotes that enhance its appeal and help you stand out in the crowd.
All of that is made possible with the help of digital printing technology. Although there are different types of such technology, the latest and most popular one is Direct to Film Transfers.
As the name indicates, it is a process by which the printer prints a design created on a computer onto a film. The film is then treated before application on the fabric.
There are several benefits associated with this type of technology compared to other transfer technologies. Read on if you wish to find out what Direct to Film Transfers are, the use of this superior form of printing technology, and how it compares to other alternatives.
A brief introduction to the t-shirt transfer business
The t-shirt transfer business encompasses various business processes. It starts with making the transfers using a particular type of technology. After you have made the transfers using a specific kind of technology, it is sold to a t-shirt shop or one involved in the retail business, who then heat press it onto t-shirts.
The entire process is a systematic and elaborate one. The transfer process is done using a wide variety of methods and equipment. Sublimation printers, white toner printers, and screen printing machines (also known as plastisol transfers) are the most common examples of such equipment.
The people involved in making the transfer have a business relationship or some arrangement with a large t-shirt company. According to the demands and requirements made by the company, the transfers are made and sent.
The firm then heat presses those transfers into a t-shirt and sells them to their customers. This process can be managed by a single firm or by two businesses operating together. The number of transfers demanded by the business may vary from time to time.
Why is Direct to Film Transfers better than other technologies?
There are several reasons why Direct to Film Transfers are superior to other forms of transfer technologies. Three of those mentioned above are sublimation, white toner, and screen printing.
You can compare each of these to DTF. However, two of the benefits of DTF transfers mentioned at the very outset are that the tools required for this type of technology are readily available in shops and stores. The second is the lower ink costs, faster press times, and the almost absence of color restrictions.
Direct to Film transfers vs. sublimation transfers
One advantage of sublimation transfers is that they are pretty cheap to make and don’t require considerable investment. However, there is a downside: you can only use them on items made of 100% polyester or high poly blended fabrics. Cotton t-shirts are out of the question since sublimation ink blends only with materials made of polyester.
Another disadvantage associated with sublimation transfers is that they cannot be applied to a dark-colored fabric. The reason behind this is that white ink is not used in the sublimation process. So, if they are used on a dark shirt, the images will look distorted and rather terrible.
On the other hand, DTF printers can print on any kind of fabric and in any color, meaning they can be used to print onto a variety of items such as t-shirts, shirts, backpacks, sweatshirts, sweatpants, sports uniforms, and even aprons. The results are also long-lasting and durable.
Direct to Film transfers vs. white toner transfers
In white toner transfers, the design or motif is printed with the help of a laser printer on a coated media called the transfer sheet or A-sheet. However, there is a problem with this technology, like those done with UniNet iColor 560.
The first of these is that they are costly. That is, you will have to pay $4 for each transfer you make (cost of paper). This reduces your profit margin, and you will not be able to sell the t-shirts at wholesale prices.
The second disadvantage is that they don’t always look or feel good either. White toner, or UniNet iColor transfers, give you the feeling of plastic, akin to a sticker. Few customers would be impressed or even satisfied with such quality and feel. Moreover, white toner transfer also does not wash adequately compared to other methods.
Direct Film transfers enjoy several advantages in this regard. Compared to toner transfers, they are relatively cheaper, specifically those printed with high volume “direct to film printers.”
The kind of transfers produced by such printers also feels almost as good as DTG or direct-to-garment prints. You also have the advantage of washing them like screen-printed transfers with the help of cold water and a squeegee.
Direct to Film transfers vs. screen print transfers
Screen printed transfers are not bad. They are great in a lot of ways. They have an excellent and attractive appearance and can be applied almost to anything. These types of transfers can be washed easily too.
However, there is a significant disadvantage associated with them, which is the process involved in making one.
For screen printing, you require different colors because there is a screen involved for each one of them. You will also need to set up a press, along with a print and screen for every type of color. After that, you will have to run it and wash it after the process is complete.
Conversely, with Direct to Film transfers, you will receive the same or even better performance. The only thing that you should remember is to use the right kind of printer. Since the entire printing is digital, there are no setups involved. Additionally, it does not require any screens, cleaning up, or reclaiming, thus saving you time and money.
From the above, it must be clear that the Direct to Film Transfers are fast, simple, efficient, and profitable, making them the best option for garment printing. DTF technology offers several advantages compared to other printing technologies, resulting in an increasing number of companies preferring this.