DTF vs Sublimation Printing, What's The Difference

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DTF vs Sublimation Printing
2022-08-11 11:36:06

Over many decades, the printing business has grown by leaps and bounds, and more and more companies are getting into the DTF market. DTF printers easily get a wide range of colors quickly and without trouble. It is a cost-efficient machine that helps the environment and doesn't take up much space. In this post, we'll tackle more about DTF printers, including their pros and cons, and why should you choose DTF over Sublimation printing.

What is DTF Printing?

"Direct-to-film printing" refers to printing patterns onto specialized films and transferring those designs to garments. Heat transfer printing, also called DTF printing, is a way to make prints that may last as long as silk screen printing, if not longer.

PET film is used in direct-to-film printing. This is a different method than screen printing. Since the PET film is about 0.75 millimeters thick, it is a great transfer medium. You can cut these films into pieces, but each piece should only be used once. It can be put into two groups, which are called hot-peel films and cold-peel films, depending on the temperature at which it is removed.

DTF Printing Pros

  • The process of DTF printing doesn't need any kind of prep work.
  • It can be used on any fabric or textile, no matter how smooth or rough the surface is.
  • If you touch the printed material, you will feel that it still has a little texture. The patterned fabric can take a lot of wear and tear from cleaning.
  • Compared to other printing machines, like the DTG, this one takes less time and is easier to use.

DTF Printing Cons

  • Lack of softness: the print is less smooth than DTG although it is of a much higher quality than DTG, it is much less soft and smooth in comparison.
  • Lack of breathability: when the pattern is too large, the garment has a stuffy feeling on the body.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Even though the name of the method might make it sound complicated and technical, it is actually not that hard to understand. Sublimation is a process that happens in the field of chemistry. It's when a solid goes straight from a solid to a gas, avoiding the liquid stage in between. When trying to figure out what "sublimation printing" is, it helps to remember that the word "sublimation" refers to the dye itself. This process is often called dye sublimation because the dye is the part that goes through the phase change.

Sublimation Printing Pros

  • Printing on hard surfaces like picture slates, clocks, mugs, plates, and other similar things is possible.
  • The learning curve and complexity level are manageable and not too tricky.
  • It gives you access to an infinite number of color options, and adding a new color to a design you have already made doesn't cost anything extra.
  • You don't have to set a minimum number of copies that need to be printed. Whether customizing one item or a thousand, you will pay the same price per unit.
  • The printed image is permanently bonded to the surface when the sublimation process is complete.
  • Since the process is simple and fast, you will be able to meet your customer's needs on the same day.

Sublimation Printing Cons

  • The material must be made entirely of polyester, or at least 66 percent.
  • You need a specific polyester coating on things like electronics or wood that aren't textiles.
  • The part of the object that will be printed on must be white or another light color. In the sublimation process, black or dark-colored fabrics do not work very well.
  • If the color is always in direct sunlight, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays could cause the color to fade over time.

Difference Between DTF and Sublimation

There is a good chance that we may encounter intriguing patterns on purses or other apparel while we go about our everyday routine. Ever wonder how garments are designed? Wonder no more because this procedure is referred to as "heat transfer." These effects may be printed using DTF and sublimation. In fact, most people are curious about the relationship between DTF and sublimation printing. Let's have a look at how they vary from one another in the following sections.

DTF VS. Sublimation

Stamping temperature and time: generally speaking the temperature of stamping is between 130-150 degrees and the time is about 6-10 seconds, while the temperature of sublimation paper should be between 200-230 degrees and the time is about 15-20 seconds.

Printed fabrics are different: stamping can be done on knitted, textile, nylon, non-woven, oxford fabric and other fabrics. Sublimation paper can only be used on light coloured or white polyester fabrics.

The feel is different: there is a hot melt adhesive on the back of the stamping, so the stamping on the fabric is hard to the touch. Sublimation paper is the ink penetrating into the fabric, so it is called sublimation and feels soft to the touch.

Image quality: stamping can achieve the effect of photos, when doing stamping, as long as you provide a clear original file, do out can achieve the effect of photos. The effect of sublimation paper stamping is not as clear as stamping, the higher the polyester content of the fabric stamping on sublimation paper the more vivid the colours are.

The fastness of washing: generally speaking, the fastness of washing of ironing is not as good as the fastness of washing of sublimation paper, but the ironing is of good or bad quality to distinguish the quality of ironing is mainly based on the elasticity and fastness of washing, sublimation paper does not have this feature.

Why Choose DTF?

When compared to other methods of printing on fabrics, the DTF approach stands out as distinctive due to the fact that it almost does away with all of the limitations that are often imposed. When choosing the fabric that will have the design printed on it, it is very crucial to keep this in mind. Since pretreatment isn't always necessary, the total cost of printing is generally cheaper. This results in a more significant profit margin due to the lower overall cost of printing.

As DTF is producing a greater quantity of fabrics, it is pretty expected that the textile printing industry will see significant growth in the near future. In conclusion, the DTF printing process might likely be considered a quick and low-cost method for the textile manufacturing process and the best choice for aspiring business owners.


There you have it! We hope that you now understand DTF printing better and why opting for this process rather than any other available option is worthwhile. Suppose you're an ambitious entrepreneur who wants to invest in the textile manufacturing industry. In that case, you must talk to people who work in the field to get as much information and advice as possible before you start. If you run your DTF printing business this way, you'll have a better chance of making money and becoming successful in the long run.

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