100% cotton is our best friend when it comes to direct-to-garment printing. The water base inks in all DTG printers are specifically formulated to work best with 100% cotton fabric. The truth is, a garment you can print on one DTG machine, you can print on the next. A garment you cannot print on one, you cannot print on another. Your first choice will always be a 100% cotton garment.
Blended fabrics – cotton and polyester – are also printable using DTG, but the higher the cotton content the better. For example, an 80% cotton/20% polyester sweatshirt will print perfectly fine. 50/50 blends are printable, and you can get an acceptable result, but this garment will not print with as vibrant an image, and wash-ability will be decreased as well.
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Become proficient operating the machine. Allow plenty of practice time, as with any new equipment or technology. Far too often customers tell me they have a huge order to produce the day the new machine arrives. Unless you’ve operated a direct-to-garment printer before, this is an unreasonable expectation, and will likely cause much more frustration than well printed garments.
A direct-to-garment printer is a sophisticated piece of equipment, capable of reproducing exactly what you send from your computer. That means either perfect reproduction of a high resolution well-built art file, or perfectly reproducing a low resolution, bad image. The printer gives you back exactly what you send it, whether good or bad.
Learn the basics of an art program like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDraw, or a similar program. The higher your proficiency, the easier it will be to prepare your artwork for printing. There are plenty of professional graphic designers in this industry who would love to do contract work for you. In the end, what always separates one direct-to-garment company from the next is the quality of their graphics.
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