What Is Direct to Garment Screen Printing ?

What is Direct to Garment Screen Printing?


Screen Printing has changed a lot over the centuries. From emulsion and sunlight to multicolor layering, screen printing has evolved from a niche specialty to a celebrated art form. However, not all people who work in the field use or understand the principles behind the multiple techniques that are involved. Sometimes it has to do with exposure, and others times it has to do with what shops can afford. Whatever the case may be, a new form of screen printing has cropped up in places like Decatur, Alabama. Direct to Garment printing. So, we are going to explore what it is, how it is a viable technique and what makes it work.


direct to garment screen printingWhat is It?

Direct to garment screen printing is a screen printing technique in which an image is directly printed onto a textile. This creates a vibrant image on top of the textile. People who work in screen printing often cite the DTG process as more durable than the traditional screen printing process.  This process of printing is extremely similar to printing an image from a machine onto a piece of paper. This decreases the chance of limitations. Also, this printer introduces a level of complex imagery that is unprecedented with other screen printing processes.

So, what makes this form of printing job so durable, and why would this introduce complex imagery in the first place? It all boils down to chemistry.


Pretreatment Solution for Screen Printing


Like all paint jobs, if you don’t use the correct primer, the color will not hold properly. This is certainly the case with DTG screen printing since the cloth naturally absorbs the pigment directly. While this might be considered ideal in principle, lighter shades of pigment often don’t mix well with a dark dye.  The mixing of white ink on top of a black surface will leave a muddy gray color. This makes a far cry from the intended imagery.

This is where the pretreatment solution comes in. The priming solution works on a molecular level. It allows smaller molecules containing darker shades to go through while repelling larger molecules, like white paint. This keeps the whites bright, and the darks dim. The end result is an added vibrancy, creating an exaggerated chiaroscuro.

According to other experts in the matter, “Pretreatment is an aqueous solution, usually milky or clear in color, and designed to help the white ink sit on top of the shirt. Though it will not necessarily cause a reaction if you touch it, professionals recommend that you  wear protective gloves, a respirator, and other protective clothing just in case.”

But surely that isn’t the only reason for the vibrancy, is it? What about the printer? Surely it has something to contribute? It actually does.


D2G Printers


screen printing, tshirt

These printers are far more precise. Especially when you compare it to the mesh screen printed method. According to OneHourTees.com, “DTG printing uses digital technology to apply designs, logos, and lettering to t-shirts. Once the client has approved the design, it’s uploaded to specialized printing software that resides on the DTG computer. A blank t-shirt is fed into a specially-designed digital printer with ink that is specially made for textiles is applied to the shirt. The inks are specially designed to be strong, durable, and incredibly vivid in color. The overall time it takes to print one shirt is anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on the complexity of the design and how many colors were used.” And how many colors can their machine use? Over 16 million color combinations.

It is easier for people to use and operate since the machinery is not unlike the printers that are commonplace by home computers. And, it is great for smaller orders. According to printful.com, “This is also a good option for those who don’t have a lot of money to make an up-front investment for a large batch because each t-shirt can be ordered separately. No need to guess how many of each size to order, and you won’t have unsold items sitting around your living room.”




The direct to garment screen printing process is newer and better for a lot of reasons. It is cost-effective, easy to operate, more vibrant, and are quick to produce. Speaking of quick printing jobs, what better way to get your custom work done than with Entrusted Tees in Decatur, Alabama? They are able to help with promotional products, apparel, and any other screen printing needs. If you want to find out more about us, feel free to click here. If you want to read more about the latest trend in corporate apparel, click here.

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