Guide to Direct to Garment Printing (DTG Printing): All You Need to Know

by Jun 27, 2019

So you have decided that you want to create a couple of t-shirts: perhaps you are an up and coming influencer and need some quality t-shirts for your following, or you want to organise a giveaway and need branded t-shirts…  The point is you only need a limited amount of quality merchandise for your brand. DTG printing (or direct-to-garment printing) could be the answer.

Regardless of your purpose, we decided to write a guide for those of you who are interested in the different types of printing techniques for t-shirts. We have previously published another guide on the screen printing t-shirt technique so before heading there (if you haven’t read it already), read this guide to DTG printing.   

How Does a Direct to Garment Printer Work After All?

During the DTG printing process, we utilise a direct to garment printer that works in the same way a regular office printer does. It’s just as precise as one, so that means you are able to print highly detailed and complex designs (yes, photographs as well).  This special printer directly injects the ink into the garment and it utilises water-based inks which make it easier for the fabric of the t-shirt to absorb them. Like a regular one, a direct to garment printer ensures that your final design is printed with rich details.  On the other hand, the screen printing technique wouldn’t be able to give you as much freedom as the DTG printing technique. So in short: a smart printer makes it possible for you to print really intricate images or designs that are composed of unique gradients and meticulous details. The printed design is also soft to the touch and this is because the direct to garment printer prints ‘’inside’’ the fabric not ‘’onto’’ it.

How Does the DTG Printing Process Start?

Making it ready

The area that is going to have your design on it is firstly sprayed with a special solution in order to allow the fabric to be ready for the settlement of the ink. Then, it is let to dry for a while.

Preparing the design

To make it ‘’printable’’, professionals have to turn it into the right format that will allow them to print the design. It is always recommended that the artworks should be saved in a resolution of 300 DPI.

Stretch time

The professionals then make sure that any crease will go away, which allows the design to be perfectly printed into the fabric. One mistake and everything could be compromised.


The final step is to let the DTG printer do its job and print the design. This usually takes more time as opposed to other techniques.

Is the DTG Printing Right for Me?

Direct-to-garment printing is a versatile technique that works well with a wide range of garments. It is also suitable for both white and coloured fabrics and provides realistic details which make the overall quality of the printed design quite intriguing. This technique is widely preferred whenever someone wants to have a highly detailed design printed. However, as the ink is water-based, you can expect the design to fade a little bit after a couple of washes. If you’re looking for a printed design that is going to last, then screen printing technique might be your cup of tea.

If you are looking to print only a couple of t-shirts (up to 20) then DTG t-shirt printing is your best solution. If you require larger batches we recommend screen printing technique, which is more time and money effective.