Getting started with Direct To Film

Ever since the beginning of digital transfer printing and the first toner and sublimation transfer solutions, users are confronted with the challenge of creating free-form images on colored and black garments. Basically, you need white underneath your design for proper colors, but you don’t want a white background outside your design. TheMagicTouch has many solutions for this challenge on offer for different printing techniques. Transfer papers for color laser/LED printers, printable HTV for Eco-Solvent printers and printable Flex for dye sublimation printers. Anyone in the printing business cannot have missed it. There’s a new technology in town: Direct To Film, or DTF in short. So the Latest addition to the portfolio of solutions for garment printing with a white background: Film for DTF printers. In this article well tell you all you need to know about this new technology everybody is talking about.

What is Direct To Film (DTF)

Direct To Film, or DTF in short, is a printing technique finding it’s origin from DTG. Allright, but what’s DTG then? Let start with that. DTG stands for “Direct To Garment” and it is basically just that: A special printer, constructed in such a way that the garment can be enclosed into the printer, enabling the printer to print directly onto the garment. These printers are available in versions with white ink, because of the need to have white pigments underneath the colors when dark garments are printed. So, first a white layer of ink is printed onto the garment and directly after that, the color image is printed on top of the white layer.

However, to be able to print white on the garment, the fabric has to be pre-treated. Furthermore not all garments can be printed on in such a printer as they don’t fit in. And that’s where Direct To Film comes in.

To overcome the pre-treatment and to create more versatility on the type of garment that is printed on, DTF has been developed. Here the full color print is printed directly onto a special PET film, immediately followed by a layer of white ink directly on top of the image. This image is than covered in a hotmelt powder. The composition of the ink, powder and film is such, that the powder sticks to the ink, but not to the surrounding film. After fusing the powder with the ink by heat, a free-formed transfer has been created that can be transferred onto many types of garments with a heat press. This can be on any color of garment including black, without having to pre-treat the garment or fiddle it into a printer as with DTG.

Why Choose DTF

DTF transfers can be free formed to the smallest detail and there’s no weeding required. The printing process is very fast and the cost per print is very low. They can be used on many different types of garment and the printed transfer are very easy to handle and can be shipped by mail, opening te possibility to print transfers on demand and ship them to customers who put them on the garments with a heat press themselves.

What types of DTF are there

There are many different printers out there. Most of them printing from a roll of 60cm/23,6” or 40cm/15,7” wide. They either come with an automated machine for powdering the printed image, or this part of the process is done by hand and an oven for the fixation. The machine for powdering automatically powders the image, shakes off the excess powder and has a oven built in and is therefore often called the “Shake and bake unit” or as a “Powder shaker”.

When do you choose for DTF

When your business requires many garment transfers, in many different designs and these must be transferred on any color of garment. As DTF equipment works best when used frequently it makes no sense to invest in DTF equipment for occasional transfer printing, so the demand for higher numbers of transfers must be there to do the investment in DTF.

What are the Pros and cons

As with every printing and transfer technique there are also pros and cons for DTF printing:


  • High image and color quality
  • Free formed designs to the smallest details
  • No weeding required
  • Very fast production speeds
  • Very low transfer cost


  • High investment
  • High level of maintenance required
  • Large footprint (Big machine)
  • Operator has to have a certain level of technical knowledge
  • Only suitable for garment printing

Why do I choose DTF Magic

DTF Magic film comes from a company with over 30 years of experience in the transfer business with a huge know-how, not just in selling, but also in the developing and manufacturing of transfer products.

Which Fabrics can DTF be used on

A Direct To Film transfer can be used on many different types of garment. It is capable of printing onto non-treated cotton, silk, polyester, denim, nylon, leather, 50/50 blends, and more. It works equally well on white and dark


What do you need for working with DTF

1. Printer

For starting with Direct To Film, you obviously need a Direct To Film printer.

2. RIP software

To prepare a design for the special printing process, a RIP software is needed. The software is needed because of the two type of white that are required: White within the image, and the white that is printed behind all other colors too. The ink is the same with these two types of white, but the exact amounts and spots where it has to print is very important for the process. The rip software creates the printing file with data for the printer so it can print the right amount of ink on the right spot.

3. Powder unit

This can be done either by hand, meaning you need a DTF oven to fuse the powder with the ink to complete the transfer. This is also referred to as Roll to sheet printing as you feed the printed prints as a sheet into the oven.

Or you can use a Powder shaker. This is a machine where the printed film directly enters after printing. It applies the powder onto the print, shakes off the excess powder (which can be used again) and fuses the powder with the ink in a built in oven. This is also sometimes referred to as roll to roll printing as the finished transfers on the film come out of the powder unit and are rolled back up on a spool to create a roll of transfers.

4.DTF Film

This plays an important role in the process. It has to take up and hold the ink very well, but at the same time releasing the image after pressing it on the garment. Because of the powdering it is very important it is static electricity resistant, as static electricity can make powder stick onto the film where you don not want it: Next to the film. Also it has to be stable when heated, both for the fusing of the powder and the application onto the garment with a heat press.

Why should I use DTF Magic Films

DTF Magic uses the manufacturing knowledge of TheMagicTouch to create a film that ticks all the right boxes. Very good static resistance, a perfect stable layer for the ink and no deformation during the powder fusing or heat pressing.

Related products

We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. By clicking Accept you consent to the use of all the cookies. However, you may visit ‘More info’ to provide a controlled consent.