What is Dtg Printing?

Posted by needtshirtsnow 05/11/2023 12 Comment(s)

What is DTG Printing and How it Works 2023


What is DTG Printing



Here at Need T-shirts Now, we print a lot of custom t-shirts and promotional items, and when I say a lot I mean it. Most of our orders are for just 1 T-shirt. We specialize in printing just individual custom t-shirts. The main method that we use to do 1 off shirts is by using our state-of-the-art Direct To Garment Printers. These Printers are also known as DTG Printers or/and D2G printers. Some customers also refer to it as Digital T-shirt printing.


Everything You Need To Know About DTG Printing


Here at Need T-shirts Now we specialize in custom T-shirt printing. The way that we print and ship out all these amazing t-shirts is by using Direct to Garment Inkjet Technology. This process of printing has been out for quite a while now, but you find that there are a lot of new shops that are just now starting to use it.  We have been printing with DTG Printers since 2013 so we have a lot of experience in this field. 


What Exactly is DTG Printing?


DTG printing is the use of an Inkjet Printer that was designed to print on custom apparel. At first, you could only print on 100% Cotton but now the rules have changed a little bit more over the years. In fact, most early DTG printers were fabricated Epson inkjet printers. You can also still find that some shops still use fabricated Epson Inkjet printers to print your custom shirts. I am not exactly sure who was the first person that decided to break one down and print an image on a t-shirt, but it was a fantastic idea. 


Is DTG Printing the same as Iron on Transfers?


DTG Printing is not the same as iron on transfers. Most Iron-on transfers are printed out through an inkjet printer. The inks in that inkjet printer are not actually made for printing on t-shirts, but only on paper. The problem is that when you go to wash a shirt that was printed using this method, you will find that the shirt will either fade completely away or it will crack horribly. However, not all heat press transfers are the same. The confusion comes from seeing that some t-shirt shops in mall or flea market locations use a heat press to cure the ink for the Inkjet transfers. While you do need to cure the ink that comes from DTG printing the quality of the prints is way different. Do not get me wrong though. Not all Transfers are the same. I am only referring to inkjet transfers that come out of an office printer. There are some quality heat transfers such as Plastisol Transfers and Heat Transfer Vinyl that have great results that can rival shirts printed with DTG Printing. If you would like to learn more about Heat Transfers look at our other Article. What are Heat Press Transfers?


Is DTG Printing Print Quality Good?


DTG print quality is not just good, It's Great. The only way to describe “Direct to Garment Printing” is as amazing. You can print High-Quality images onto t-shirts that can last just as long as other printing methods. Our Direct to Garment inks were formulated to print directly onto the t-shirts. In fact, Direct to Garment Printing produces amazing details that you might find hard to get with Screen Printing Technology.


We have received so much praise from customers when it comes to DTG Printing Quality. Most of it may actually come from our experience with printing using this technology. There are some important steps that must take place to make sure that customers receive the best possible print ever. The first one starts with your T-shirt. You want your canvas to be perfect before you pain on it. The better quality the shirt is the better it will print. The second thing is Pretreating the shirts. For Light Color t-shirts such as white shirts, there is no pretreatment needed to print on these colors unless you want white ink on them. You can, however, use a light color Pretreatment that will make your colors more vibrant and make them last longer. For other colors that you are going to need white ink printed, you will need pretreatment. Not only that, but you will need the right amount of Pretreatment. We have Printed so many shirts you have no reason to be concerned with quality unless you upload a horrible-quality image. 


What specs do I need for Images that will be DTG Printed?


We have a full article on the best graphics dimensions for t-shirt printing for full details. We recommend that you create your images with a transparent background. We also recommend that you create your designs in RGB. Most Screen Printers will want you to use CMYK but with DTG Printing, RGB Mode will make your images more accurate. We also recommend saving your image as a PNG File. PNG files have the ability to save your images and keep a transparent background. If you save your images as a Jpg, JPEG, etc. you will most likely have a white Background in your image. We also recommend at least creating your image at 100 dpi. Although 300 dpi would be perfect. Make sure to create your image around 10 x 12 Inches. 


Is there a Color Chart for DTG Printing?


Yes, there is. We have a chart that can help you get as close to your desired color as possible. If you are unable to read the color chart on this page click DTG Printing Color Chart for a larger version.



How Large of an Area Can DTG Printers Print?


  • 16x18 inches for Full Front
  • 16x18 inches for a Full Back
  • 4x4 for Pocket Prints


All DTG printers have a different Platen size. Some are capable of printing larger areas than others. Our printers are capable of printing 16x18 inch images, but we only offer 10x12 inch MAX for Full-Size prints at this time. In the future, we may offer larger size prints available soon with an upcharge


DTG Printing Locations


With DTG Printing you can print in various locations. You can print in common areas such as the Front of the shirts and the back of the shirts, but you can also print on the side of the shirts. Sleeve printing is also an option. You can print inside the shirt at the tag location also.


Is there a Setup Fee for DTG Printing?


No, there is no setup fee for our DTG Printing services. Some places may charge you one but there is no reason for that since you do not need to burn screens like traditional Screen Printing. Now they may charge you a graphic design fee which would be different and expected if you do not have print-ready artwork. We have an online t-shirt designer, so you have the ability to create your shirts on our website for Free. For any reason that you do need some graphic design work that you are unable to create on our website, we do offer Graphic design services.


What is the DTG Printing Process?


  • Step 1 - Is creating your graphic design 
  • Step 2 - Is processing your order
  • Step 3 - Is Pretreating the shirt
  • Step 4 - Is Heat Pressing the shirt
  • Step 5 - Is Printing the shirt 
  • Step 6 - Is Curing the ink
  • Step 7 - Package and ship the shirt



Actual DTG Printing Process Video

*Will add them back soon. Youtube turned our videos into Youtube shorts

Two of our Brother DTG Printers in action Printing custom t-shirts


What Types of ink are used for DTG Printing?


DTG Printers use Water based inksThese inks are Eco-Friendly. DTG printing inks are absorbed into the t-shirt fibers and are cured by a Heat Press Machine and/or a Conveyor Dryer. These inks are usually produced by DTG Printers Manufacturer Such as Brother or Epson but some DTG Printers Use Inks Created by DuPont and Firebird Ink and Image Armor. There are several more companies that produce DTG inks, but we like to stick with Brother Inks.


Can You Print on Dark Shirts with DTG Printing?


Yes, we can print on any color shirts that we have available. Black shirts, charcoal grey, Purple, Blue, Maroon, Athletic Heather, Green, and a lot more. We are capable of printing white ink with our DTG printing. Some companies may not have this capability with their DTG printers but don't worry yes we can on dark-colored shirts. 


How Many Colors Can You Print with DTG Printing?


Direct to Garment Printers Use Inkjet printing technology. The printheads in these printers can produce Millions of colors and put them onto a shirt in less than 1 minute. That is correct, Unlike Screen printing and burning screens and matching colors, there is no need for any of that. You can print gradients and any other image with ease. That's why we offer unlimited colors and no minimums for our t-shirt printing. Most images that you see when looking for images printed by DTG printers online you will see shirts with Guitars on fire, or lizards in full color that look like they are about to jump out at you.


What Items Can Be Printed Using DTG Printing?


That is a good question. We can print more than just T-shirts with our DTG Printers. Direct to Garment printing gives us the capability to print on T-shirtsHoodiesOnesiesTanksTotesKooziesHatsSneakerssocks, and a lot more. There are some places that print on wood items.


What Fabric is best for DTG Printing?


This is a good Question. We get asked all the time about moisture Wicking shirts etc. The Best Fabric for Direct to Garment Printing is 100% Ringspun Cotton. This will give you the best quality prints. You can print on some 50/50 Blends and some 100% polyester, but it is not recommended in most cases. Some of the colors such as sports grey usually have about 10% polyester but that does not cause a problem. We recently just wrote an article about Cotton VS Screen Printing you should check it out.


What are the DTG Printing Prices?

DTG Printing Price List


As you can see we have the lowest Direct To Garment prices for custom t-shirts. Let us know if you can find better prices than ours. Our Prices are very competitive and that's how we like it. We do offer different prices for different quality shirts. We give you a lot of different options to choose from.


Are there Wholesale Dtg Printing Prices?

DTG Wholesale Prices

The short answer is Yes and No. The longer answer is, there actually should not be any type of bundle deals because with DTG Printing it takes the same amount of time to print each shirt. With screen printing, the hard part is getting set up. That's why there is a setup fee. But once you are set up you can print shirts a lot faster than a DTG printer can print. The ink for screen printing is also a lot cheaper. Screen printing 1 shirt cost no more than 5 cents worth of ink. DTG printing inks can cost up to $10 worth of ink for just one shirt depending on the size of the print. That is why there is a discount with screen printing for the more shirts you purchase.  Yes, we also do give discounts for orders of 50 shirts and 100 Qty with DTG Printing.


How Long does DTG Printing take to print a shirt?


It does not take long at all. It is the perfect printing process for a short t-shirt run. It actually only takes about 1 minute and 30 seconds to print most of our t-shirts. We offer a 1-hour turnaround for most of our orders. We have this rush order option at checkout.


Can you print pictures with DTG Printing?

We have the ability to print any image, as long as it's not trademarked or copyrighted. So, printing a picture is not a problem at all with DTG Printing. We will print your family photos on shirts in full color capturing more details than you can ever get with screen printing. We have an upload button in our Design a t-shirt studio so that you can upload your pictures. After uploading your pictures it's easy to edit the shirt. We have provided you with a lot of different clip art to choose from. We have almost every symbol that you can think of. Different clip art from insects, animals, vehicles, tow trucks, airplanes, hearts, cartoons, and emojis, way too many to list. We have clipart’s for your business or sport, I am sure of it. If you need different fonts, that's not a problem, we have a lot of different fonts and colors to choose from to make your shirt design as unique as possible.


What are the Best T-shirts for DTG Printing?


This is another Great question. The Best shirt that we personally offer is our Bella Canvas 3001. We get great print results with this shirt. Other shirts that we love to use are the Gildan g64000 Soft spun T-shirts. We have an article that we have written about the Best T-shirts for DTG Printing


How to wash a DTG Printed Shirt?


We have already written an article on How to wash DTG Printed t-shirts. Feel free to look it over for a full in-depth tutorial. This will ensure that your shirts last over and over every wash. You will want to wash your t-shirts inside out. Also since your shirts are 100% cotton you will want to use low to no heat when drying your shirt to prevent any chance of shrinkage. The most important thing is Do not use Bleach when you are washing your DTG Printed t-shirts.


What is the Best DTG Printer on the Market?


IMO Brother DTG Printers are the Best. We currently have and use 4 Brother 381 Direct To Garment Printers. They are capable of High resolution 1200 x 1200 dpi. So just know when you get your shirts printed with us you will get the best quality. I would like to upgrade to the new Brother GTX Pro printer soon.

I also would be interested in the Epson SureColor F2100 DTG printer. You can't go wrong with either Brother or Epson. 


We also have had Epson Based printers that we currently have parked in storage, Such as the Anajet Sprint. That printer gave me more problems than a little bit, however, it gave us the opportunity to move up to better DTG Printers, so we are forever grateful. We wrote a very Detailed article about which DTG Printer is the best. You can find the answer to that in this link What is the Best DTG Printer


DTG VS Screen Printing 2023


This is something that we get asked a lot. Everyone is used to the term screen printing. Many customers ask if we offer screen printing and only want just 1 T-shirt. This is where DTG Printing comes in. We have already written an article about DTG VS Screen Printing if you would like a full comparison.



DTG Printing       



Good For Printing single t-shirts        

Good for Printing a Large Qty of t-shirts

Faster to Print Lower Qtys.

Faster to Print Larger Qtys

Great at Printing Full-Color images

Great at Printing 1 and 2 Color jobs

Print Speed 45 seconds to 3.5 minutes

Print Speed 5 seconds a shirt after setup

Can Print millions of color

Can Match specific Pan Tones


So, after taking a look at the Breakdown, you are probably wondering what this actually means for you. If you are hosting a family reunion and you have a large family and need about 200 t-shirts and only want a 1 color design of let’s, say a tree with some names. Then I will tell you that Screen Printing is the better option for you. The reason is that it will cost you less to get this number of T-shirts printed using screen printing technology. 


In this same scenario, if you only wanted 10 t-shirts Printed, I would tell you to let's go with DTG printing. This will save you from paying Screen Fees.


Can DTG Printing Match my exact ink color?


DTG Printing can get close to the color that you want to be printed with but unlike screen printing where you select a specific Pantone of ink. DTG is not capable of choosing a Pantone because the colors are processed through a rip software that chooses the closest color to what you created in your design. So DTG Printing will print your shirts very close to how your image looks on the computer, but you cannot say I want Tangerine Tango 17-1463.


What are the Chemicals in DTG Pretreatment?


We downloaded the MSDS From Image Armor Pretreat and it basically said it is 68-98 % purified water. and 1-20% calcium nitrates, which are basically Salt. Salt does have the potential to be a skin irritant. It also has a 1-12% vinyl chloride copolymer, which is basically glue. To find out more about DTG Printing Pretreatment click the link.


Does Pretreatment leave stains?


If you use the wrong pretreatment, it can leave stains. There are some pretreatments that are more prone to stain the shirts. We had problems with a certain brand of pretreatment that I will not name. One of the colors that it had issues with was charcoal grey. That was just one of the colors but at one point it would stain even the black shirts.


There is also crystallization. This is different than staining, but it can make the shirt look less than retail. This can happen sometimes also. To remove Crystallization, we have learned that spraying some distilled water on the shirt and putting it back under the heat press can solve this issue.


Does DTG printing leave a square box?


The heat press causes the square box. The heat press is used to cure the pretreatment and the ink. I found that if your temperature is too high and you leave a white shirt under the press it can scorch the shirt. With Brother DTG printers this is less likely to happen because the ink cures in 35 seconds.


When we used Dupont inks in our Epson-based printers the ink needed to cure for 120 to 180 seconds. In my opinion, that is way too long to have a shirt under the heat press. That is most likely the reason why the box won't go away. Because it has been scorn.


Also, not all DTG printers will use a heat press. For those that are printing with a Kornit printer, there is no need for a heat press at all. Unless you want to get the moisture out of the shirt. That printer sprays on the pretreatment and prints on it wet. After the shirt is printed it can be put through the Heat Conveyor.


Brother Printers is another printer that a lot of companies use a Heat Conveyor for, but a heat press will still be needed for the pretreatment.


Can you print neon colors and metallic colors with DTG Printing?


No. With DTG Printing you are unable to Print Neon Colors. Again, We can print your shirts close to how you have designed them on our website but Neon Colors are usually brighter than what DTG Printing will produce. As far as metallics are concerned, DTG printers will print your images with a metallic effect, but it will not actually be metallic ink. There is some digital printing equipment like eco-solvent print and cut machines. These have metallic ink. 


Should I use DTG Printing for my shirts?


Depending on the Qty of shirts and the design that you are getting printed on the shirts I would give you a recommendation, but DTG Printing is great for everyone.


DTG Printing for Schools


DTG Printing is Great for Schools. If you are having a fundraiser or a field day, then custom-printed shirts will be perfect. DTG Printing is great for Band shirtsTeam ApparelClass ShirtsClubsTournaments, Fraternities, and Sororities


DTG Printing for Small Businesses 


DTG Printing is Perfect for small businesses. We can print company shirts with no minimum order so that means you do not need to buy 100 shirts. DTG Printing can work for Car dealerships, Radio stations, restaurants, Pet stores, Car Washes, Contractors, Day Cars, Gift Stores, Night Clubs, Security, Amusement parks, Golf Courses, Museums, Gyms, Mechanic Shops, Lawn Care Companies, Handyman businesses, Home Cleaning businesses, and more.


DTG Printing for Events


DTG Printing is Perfect for Events. Depending on the size of your crowd it may be better to go with Screen Printing for a cheaper rate but if your crowd is 100 or less then DTG is definitely for you. Some events that can use DTG Printing include Family Reunions, Birthday Parties, Work Parties, Music Festivals, Parades and Fairs, Walks and runs, Holiday Parties, and more. 


What are some DTG Hashtags?


#DTG #Dtgprinting #directtogarment #directtogarmentprinting #brother381 #needtshirtsnow #brotherdtg #brothergtx #anajet #epsondtg #epsonf2100 #epsonf2000 #kornitdtg #kornit #digitalprinting #customtshirtsnominimums #customtees #customtshirts #epsonf2100 #brothergtxpro #epsonsurecolorf3070 #richolri100 #richolri2000 #versastudiobt12


Above are some of the hashtags that usually will get linked to pictures of shirts printed by DTG printers on social media. Today there are more DTG printers than ever. Just remember that we have the experience to get your t-shirt order printed correctly and on time. If you would like to know more about DTG Hashtags and Instagram promotion check out the link.


If you have any questions regarding our DTG Printing Service, Please feel free to Give us a call. 


Find out which is The Best DTG Printer


Find out which is The Best T-shirts for Printing


Please leave comments in the comment section below.

12 Comment(s)

Jacobi Clark:
10/19/2019, 11:31:09 AM

we are an up and coming label and could possibly use your assistance for we are shopping around. I would like the design/logo I sent to be placed across the chest area, not too too big. The brand should be Bella Canvas. 5 of each: small, medium, large and extra large. I would like the sweatshirts...something like the 3945 or similar. I would also like the neck tag label to have the logo. you can mix up the colors

Jacobi Clark:
10/19/2019, 11:31:38 AM, AcrylicBrandCo.

we are an up and coming label and could possibly use your assistance for we are shopping around. I would like the design/logo I sent to be placed across the chest area, not too too big. The brand should be Bella Canvas. 5 of each: small, medium, large and extra large. I would like the sweatshirts...something like the 3945 or similar. I would also like the neck tag label to have the logo. you can mix up the colors

12/03/2019, 06:55:48 AM

Great Blog! This post gives a better idea. Thanks for the useful information. I hope you will share some more content. Please keep sharing!

01/22/2020, 07:12:14 PM

I need my staff's shirts done with our logo on it but we will provide the shirts. So how can I get a quote?

02/28/2020, 10:33:48 AM

I wanted to have 3 t-shirts made by tomorrow morning. I'm staying by the Balboa Pier and having an event in Costa Mesa tomorrow I could even possibly pick up today. I want high quality, soft shirts that preferably don't shrink. And are nice and long. These guys are tall. Can I get this? I just have a saying for the shirts. It is a Dance theme saying.

Michelle Silver:
03/02/2020, 11:37:18 AM

I'm try to do white tee shirts in adult size with logo kicking it with SILVER'S family 2020

Dana Strickland:
03/02/2020, 04:03:15 PM

We are looking for 60 T-shirts 12 Colors if possible – 5 of each color Same logo on all 60 shirts 12 different teams - one team name per color.Could you give me a quote for this. Thanks!

Michelle Joseph:
09/15/2020, 01:05:36 AM

I want to get some shirts. Light grey color with my custom design. Looking at medium, large, and extra large sizes. I have the design in most formats.Could I get a quote on 50 shirts?

09/18/2020, 02:56:58 PM

Trying to contact you guys by phone but I can’t find a phone number.. please call

07/03/2021, 05:59:21 PM

Hello,Do you have bamboo or hemp blended shirts as an available choice?Do you have webstore integration, specifically for Shopify or Etsy?What are the price differences between a bulk order of 50 - 100 versus DTG?I look forward to hearing back!Drew

Taylor Nguyen:
10/23/2022, 03:33:48 AM

Hello, interested in getting t.shirts printed for DTG. White and black shirts. Just wondering if I can get a quote for 50 units, they are nextlevel shirts. Already have the t.shirts, just looking more for the printing side of things. Hope to hear soon, thank you.-Taylor Nguyen

Olivia Smart:
05/12/2023, 03:22:17 PM

We're thinking about getting some shirts made for a concert that we're going to. Thank you for going over some of the differences between DTG printing and screen printing. It seems like DTG might work best for our small group.

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