Direct to Garment Printing (DTG) is a form of digital printing. At around $ 20,000, it is impractical to run out of DTG’s own printer. Typical prices for a DTG print are $ 8 to $ 10.
This process is slightly more expensive than the traditional method of transferring photos. This is in part because the technology is so new. If you decide to test a DTG photo on a memory block, there are a few things to consider when choosing a printer that does the job for you:
- Make sure no chemicals are needed to pretreat the fabric. Some Best DTG Printers create an image that looks more like screen printing. You don’t want your blanket to look or feel like this. The ink will be hard on the surface of the fabric, and eventually (sometimes much sooner rather than later) it will begin to crack and wear off when washed. Ask your prospective printer to show you a sample of what he has printed. If you can feel the paint coming off the surface in any way, it is likely a sublimation type process that requires chemicals to pretreat the fabric.
- Use the Brother Digital Print Form DTG. No chemicals are required for fabric pretreatment. The ink adheres to natural fibers and is thermoset to fix the image.
There are some disadvantages to using DTG printing on quilt blocks. One catch is the color constraints. Since DTG printing is a form of digital printing, there is no white ink. White is the absence of color. This means that you cannot print your photo on dark blue or black fabric.
Garments or fabrics are digitally printed in CMYK cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. You can mix these colors to get the full range of accurate colors, but not white. There are DTG printers that print with white ink, but most require a chemical pretreatment of the fabric and leave a print on a thick surface.
You should use light or neutral fabrics, cotton or blended fabrics. The fabric should be able to withstand 350 degrees for about 30 seconds. If you are not working with 100% cotton or a 50/50 blend, ask your printer if the fabric will work.
The size of your print may be a limitation. Most DTG printers have a print margin of up to 14 “x 16”. For most quilters, this size won’t be a problem.
And speaking of print margins, here’s a hint. Most direct printers charge a 14×16 area fee. If your blocks allow 2 or 3 photos to fit in this range, you can print them all for the price of one. Check with your printer if this is possible with your specific project.