Water-based screen-printed transfers are the best option for printing any design or logo, regardless of complexity. They are soft, lightweight, and more vibrant than traditional screen prints. You can use them on just about any material that is not subject to being damaged when exposed to a heat press and that are not waterproof. Some items can include but are certainly not limited to: hats, shirts, jeans, canvas bags, mugs, mousepads, napkins/handkerchiefs, jerseys, hoodies and so much more!
As you can see, these types of heat transfers are very versatile. They can be utilized for a number of materials and are eco-friendly! Being free of PVC, a common plastic material found in plastic pipes, plastic bottles and containers, or traditional prints, makes using water-based heat transfers environmentally safe.
Why are DTF heat transfers said to have the edge over DTG printing?
DTG stands for “direct to garment,” this is a process of printing where the ink goes through a special chemical reaction when exposed to heat and pressure. This chemical process causes the ink to turn into a gaseous substance and then, once the heat is removed, it hardens again, bonding it permanently with the fabric.
In this form of printing, the bond between transfer and garment is more permanent and there is little to no texture difference once pressed. The main drawbacks however are the limitations on colors that can be utilized in the process, and the amount of waste generated by not using eco-friendly ink options.
For DTG, many designs can only be printed on white fabrics or materials because otherwise, the colors can be lost.
DTF or “direct to film” is a bit different. DTF heat transfers do not undergo the aforementioned chemical reaction, but instead remain separated from the garment to an extent when bonded. This results in a bond where a distinct texture difference can be felt between the fabric and transfer.
This type of bond results in a stretchable and durable print that will last as long as it is cared for properly. The pros this process has over DTG include nearly limitless color choices and eco-friendly ink options.
The process of printing with DTF is far cleaner and full-color, photorealistic designs, and even gradients can be used and applied to any color garment while maintaining high vibrancy.
Water-based heat transfers are DTF and thus, using them can give a lot more freedom to creative choices being made as well as produce unmatched resolution in your final products. Some other benefits include:
- No setup fees are required
- No use of PVC
- Eco-friendly and water-based technology
- Can match the requirement of almost all fabric types
- Excellent stretch and durability
- Rebound with no fading or cracks
- No limit on the number of colors
- Suitable for white prints (several DTG printers aren’t capable of printing white/a base)
- It can be applied to less conventional surfaces such as koozies, tote bags, coolers, backpacks, and ski bags
However, please keep in mind you must take proper care of your water-based screen-printed transfers. It’s important to allow the heat transfer applied to get treated completely. If ample time isn’t allotted during the curing process, or you end up washing your garments prematurely, the heat transfer won’t work. If the clothes are washed prematurely, the heat transfer can’t stick onto the clothing fiber effectively.
As a result, multiple cracks can occur on the fabric. So, to prevent your newly customized clothes from damage, make sure to cure the garment for up to twenty-four hours before the very first rinse.
So long as the materials are taken proper care of after application, DTF can be just as durable, if not more so than, traditional DTG printing techniques.