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Direct To Garment

This form of printing utilizes specialized ink jet technologies to print in full color directly on garments using a water-based CMYK system for white shirts and an added white-ink for colored garments. Ideal for full color prints and for reproducing fine detail. This is a great option for projects with short turnaround times or short runs and can work on both light and dark garments. Note though, exact Pantone® color matching is not always possible.


DTG usually requires a pre-treatment solution to be applied to the garment before the ink can be printed on it. This solution is a “primer” that is designed to create a bond between the ink and the garment. All dark colored garments require this process but it is optional on light colored garments. Depending on the equipment, the pre-treatment may be applied by the DTG printer or it may have to be applied beforehand in a separate process.
The shirt is placed on a platen that keeps it flat and smooth during printing. It is essential that the shirt is as flat as possible or the print heads will move away from the substrate and the printing can become blurry. The artwork is loaded into specialized RIP software which converts it into a CMYK file that is ripped to a uni-directional 1,200 x 600 dpi file. This file is then sent to the printer. For light garments the machine makes a pass over the garment surface, while applying a highly controlled spray of each of the CMYK process inks. This may be one or multiple passes. For dark garments it first lays down a white underbase and then returns to print the process inks.
Once the image is printed on the shirt, the ink needs to be cured in order to make the image permanent. This requires heat which may be applied in a conveyor oven (dryer), a special drawer-based cabinet oven (dryer), or using a heat press with parchment paper to protect the image. The length of time and amount of heat are dependent on the type of DTG machine and the type of garment. As with all types of inks on all garments/fabrics the atmospheric conditions such as the temperature or humidity in the garment may also affect the cure.


  1. DTG is less complicated than traditional screen printing. Compared to screenprinting, DTG requires less experience and specialised knowledge, it is simpler with less steps, uses fewer chemicals, and takes up less floor space.
  2. 100% Ring Spun cotton fabric garments are the easiest substrate for good results with DTG since they have a smooth print surface. Many blended fabrics also work but they can be more difficult.
  3. A high resolution is best for artwork. 300 dpi at full size is the minimum resolution for the best results. Artwork with an inferior resolution will not give ideal results but with DTG you may get passable results that are superior to screenprinting from such files.
  4. For the highest level of quality always pre-test the exact garment you are going to print. Different garments in terms of color, fabric, and means of manufacture require different DTG printing parameters.
  5. Heat pressing the garment before printing can give superior results as a nice flat surface is the best printing surface.


  • Due to the nature of the dyeing process employed with Comfort Colors pigment dyed shades, loose pigments may remain on the surface of the garments. We therefore strongly recommend washing these garments only with like-colored garments, as some of the pigment dyes may stain light or white colored garments in the wash cycle.
  • Washing the garments in cold water will reduce the possibility of staining.


  • Dye migration occurs when the dye color in the garment absorbs into the screen printed ink.
  • Ghosting is when printed shirts are stacked too soon during the drying process before being adequately cooled. This causes a chemical reaction which creates a ghosted image of the print on the back of the shirt which is stacked on top.