Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 26

By Terry Combs, Contributing Writer

Beyond the

DTG
Printer

How to achieve quality direct-to-garment prints.

T

"

here's something wrong with
the ink." "There's something
wrong with the printer."
"There's something wrong with..." a hundred
of other reasons direct-to-garment (DTG)
prints look dull, stiff or otherwise imperfect. Those of us in the world of DTG printing
hear similar statements nearly every day. As
with all things garment decorating, the first
thing we hear is, "It's the ink, or the machine,
or..." you get the idea. It's never me. It's never
something I've done.
In the case of DTG printing, there
is nearly always another reason for a
less-than-perfect image on your garment
rather than either the ink or the machine.
For the purpose of this article, we'll assume
we've started with a high-resolution, wellprepared piece of artwork (a dream job that is
subject for another article). If the image looks
perfect on one garment but not the next, our
search for an answer will go beyond the ink
or the machine.

PRETREATING
Just as with other garment decorating
methods, dark fabric DTG printing is where
the complications and level of expertise
reveal themselves. Based on personal expe26 § SUMMER 2015

rience with countless end users, pretreating
is the singular area of confusion and cause of
poor printing results.
Too little pretreatment will provide a dull
image. Pretreatment provides a barrier for
the water-based ink to set upon as curing
begins. An application of too little pretreatment, and the ink will absorb into the fabric
and appear dull or washed out.
On the other extreme, too much pretreatment will cause difficulties as well. As
with many things, the assumption can exist
that, "Some is good, therefore more must
be better!" This is not at all true with DTG
preparation for printing.
Too much pretreat will result in a stiff feel
on the shirt. This is the square or box that
some complain of with the assumption that
it is an unavoidable consequence of the process. In fact, this stiff square is caused by too
much pretreatment applied to the shirt, and
is by no means the "nature of the beast" as it
were when choosing the direct-to-garment
process of decoration.
A step further, more pretreatment may
have a more dire result. If the ink does not
bond to the fabric because of a heavy layer of
pretreat solution, then the image may wash
off the garment - the ink is printed on top of

a heavy barrier of pretreatment and not actually in contact with the fabric of the garment.
Many decorators will attribute this washout
problem to either the ink or the curing process. But, if the image washes off the shirt, it
is more than likely the result of too much pretreatment than any other cause.
There are a few choices when it comes to
application of pretreatment, but the most
commonly accepted methods as of today are
hand spraying with a power paint sprayer,
or by using an automatic pretreat machine.
First, you can achieve the same result using
either method, but more application errors
occur using one method over the other.
Using an automatic pretreatment
machine will give you consistency from
shirt-to-shirt. Which means, once you've
dialed in your ideal spray time/lay down
amount, you have repeatability. Plus, if the
machine is enclosed, you can operate it
near your direct-to-garment printer.
Hand spraying can achieve the exact
results, but it takes some additional time



Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015

Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015
Contents
First Impressions
How to Optimize Digital Dark Shirt Printing
Prepare to Launch! Minimizing the DTG Learning Curve
Sublimation Rising: The Super Spot
What Does Digital Mean to Screen Printers?
Beyond the DTG Printer
Top 5 Color-Correcting Methods for Customer Photos
Digital Appliqué — the Best of Both Worlds
Digital Decorating Products
Shop Spotlight: Dragonfly Graphics
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Cover2
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 1
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Contents
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 3
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - First Impressions
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 5
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - How to Optimize Digital Dark Shirt Printing
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 7
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 8
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 9
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 10
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 11
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 12
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 13
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Prepare to Launch! Minimizing the DTG Learning Curve
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 15
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 16
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 17
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 18
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 19
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Sublimation Rising: The Super Spot
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 21
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 22
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - What Does Digital Mean to Screen Printers?
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 24
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 25
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Beyond the DTG Printer
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 27
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 28
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 29
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Top 5 Color-Correcting Methods for Customer Photos
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 31
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 32
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 33
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Digital Appliqué — the Best of Both Worlds
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 35
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 36
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 37
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 38
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Digital Decorating Products
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 40
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 41
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 42
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Shop Spotlight: Dragonfly Graphics
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - 44
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Cover3
Impressions - Digital Decorator - Summer 2015 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/DigitalDecorator_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/20210809
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/teamactivewear_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/impressions/imp_0421_digital
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20210102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/dd_fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nxtbook_bhtest/impwessons
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamactive_2020fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20200607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/dd_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/dd_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamactive_2019fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20190607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamactive_2019spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/dd_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2018fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20170607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2017spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20160607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/digitaldecorator_2015fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2015fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20150607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/digitaldecorator_2015summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2015spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer_2014fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2014fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/digitaldecorator_2014summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/20140607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/sportsfanretailer_2014spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/teamspirit_2014spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/impressions/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_sportsfanretailer_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20131011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2013fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20130607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2013spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20121011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2012fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20120809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20120607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2012spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20111011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20110809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2011fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20110607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2011spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_sourcebook2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20101112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20100910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2010fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20100708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2010winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_200909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_eco_2009fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_teamspirit_2009fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_20091112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_sourcebook_200906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/impressions_201001
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com