Monday, September 12, 2016

Is DTG Printing Really Direct to Garment Printing The Truth About DTG Printing border=
On the surface, many people who do not take the time to fully research fall into the trap believing that Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing is incredibly rewarding. The reasons for the misconception is that many printers are told about supposed advantages over traditional screen printing.  Early in the process, it is extremely important that you augment production capabilities, comparing screen printing to DTG before you make that commitment. While appealing on the surface, its important to note DTG printing isn't for everyone, and due to the challenges it creates, you will need to be prepared to commit yourself and your staff to understanding each and every facet to enjoy a trouble-free experience. 

Is DTG Printing Really "Direct to Garment" Printing? Let's Analyze the Truth About DTG Printing

Assuming you already understand the screen printing process, lets talk about why so many new printing companies are being lured into DTG printing because of all the claims about how it benefits small-business and established shops. In order to understand the complexities involved with Direct to Garment" printing, the easiest way would be to simply take you on a journey through the entire multi-step printing process. Despite the name direct to garment, this labor intensive multi-step process takes a tremendous amount of time and skill to master.

Let's assume you have the steamer, photo and graphics editing software, heat press, garment pre-treater, conveyor dryer, and direct to garment printer.

The Intensive DTG Printing Process

Step 1: Preparing the Artwork
(Time: 2 hours to 3 days)
The DTG printing process begins with creating a raster or vector file for the artwork. With direct to garment printing, these files must be carefully checked for color profiling, compression artifacts, and color correction specific to the blank bulk shirts color. Once all file adjustments are made, an .arp file is created that is interpreted by the garment printer. (Note: this process becomes more complicated and time consuming when printing on dark blank t-shirts.)

Step 2: Preparing the Garments
(Time: 0 to 35 minutes)
When working with white or light colored garments, this process is just slightly easier. When working with linens or dark garments, proper care must be taken at this stage or the work will be a complete fail. Steaming the shirts first can help to reduce smearing. The garment must be placed on the DTG platen with adhesives and all seams must be strightend so the print surface is flush. Before printing any dark garments, pretreating is absolutely required. Garments must be sprayed with a mist of a specially-formulated pre-treating liquid. White ink on dark garments requires a second heat pressing because the white ink needs help standing up to the porous garments.

Step 3: DTG Printing
(Time: 1 to 5 minutes)
This is where the appeal and confusion of DTG printing lies. The printing process can be very quite if not for all the preparation involved to ensure each bulk lot shirt is perfect. Although the manual labor part is done, the printer is going to lay up to three different ink layers in a uniform, consistent manner with zero room for error. The only work involved here for the shop personnel is preparing the next shirt to be printed.

Step 4: Drying & Quality Inspection
(Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
When working with white ink on a dark garment, things are further complicated because the ink needs to cure at 365 degrees for a minimum five minutes each garment.

The Purchase Cost of a Typical DTG Machine
When it comes to DTG printing, not only is the cost of the equipment quite expensive, the cost of consumables is too. Getting involved with DTG printing represents an enormous financial risk for any small business; with most DTG printers costing in the $20,000 range. Now include things like the printer, a pre-treatment machine, the heat press, numerous supplies, equipment shipping, and even training, and this little package just set the print shop back around $29,000 on average. Now once the DTG machine arrives, the costs continue to pile up. There are ongoing costs of ink and supplies; usually in the $1-3 range for a standard size print on dark garments plus cost of pre-treat fluid of another .30-.80 per print.

Compared to a nickle for the ink for screen printing, you can see how your profits are being eaten away each DTG shirt you print. To make matters worse, the cost of your ink doesn't come down in bulk quantities, unlike the screen printing prices on large quantity orders.

When it comes to garment printing, a print shop needs to produce printed apparel quickly and at minimal cost per garment to make maximum profits. The opposite is in play with the complicated and consuming multi-stage DTG printing process. The screen printers have a huge advantage when it comes to set-up, printing, and tear-down. The dark garments are the bane of the DTG industry because even a good operator can only make an average of 8 shirts an hour, and that is without any mistakes. The learning curve needed to print shirts with a DTG machine is extensive, and even pressman with years experience still make preparation and printing mistakes with DTG printing. The more extreme the order, the less blank wholesale shirts per hour, and the higher the stress level because each mistakes takes a huge chunk out of any potential profits.

Monday, August 22, 2016

How We Increased Sales in Our Printshop with Cap Heat Press Equipment
When you make the decision to start ramping up production in your print shop, one thing that you are going to experience is a rush in variety of items getting printed. We were just asking local professionals how to do screen printing, and now we were buying even more used heat press equipment. We were already screen printing and making heat transfers on tee shirts, but we were getting request after request to make caps. This was a machine we picked up used and it was build to last. This is just another piece in the puzzle in your pursuit to dominate this incredibly profitable niche.

So of course after getting a dozen requests to heat transfer caps, we went out and found this ShareProfit cap heat press. In addition to doing hats, this amazing press can do heat transfers on t-shirts and mugs too. If you are a beginner to screen printing, this is the perfect diy heat press printing kit to get you well on your way. The machine is both durable and versatile, allowing you to handle a variety of different products all with one machine. The reason we bought this heat transfer equipment was to simply do caps for our regular customers, but we have gotten so much more out of the unit to date.

So look at it this way, this little machine is more than a t shirt screen printing kit, it will do caps, hats, mugs, and get you well on your way to gaining the experience to really grow your own little business. We here all the time people ask us how to start screen printing t shirts. My answer is get a versatile piece of heat transfer equipment like this so you can try your hand at printing a few different things to gain experience and see how the process works.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to Screen Print Cheap Means Buying Bulk Lot Shirts
There isn't a day that passes where a new screen printer doesn't ask me what the secret to making money in this business would be. There are so many top quality screen printing presses, embroidery machines, and heat press to choose from, but if you are not buying your blank shirts in bulk, you might as well job out all the work because you are losing money.

One day I received a call from one new screen printer I was helping and they told me that they decided that it would be easier and cheaper to just buy bulk blank t-shirts from the local Walmart. They went on to tell me that not only were the shirts under $2 a piece, they could pick them up same day and didn't have to pay for shipping. I went on to tell them that even though you found blank tee shirts cheap, you are going to pay for quality and your time driving and shopping in the store. Those tees from Walmart are not screen printing quality, and will either shrink after one wash or fall apart after two washes. I asked, "Is that how you want to represent your screen printing company?"

My response is always the same with anyone looking to break into the screen printing or apparel design world, but the bulk lot shirts online from a reputable source. We choose this reliable bulk shirts supplier because they have multiple locations across the county so you get your apparel in a couple days. We choose this supplier because they have been selling top-quality blank shirts since 1999, and they are still in business providing us printers with free shipping. Walmart, Target, and K-Mart sell tees by the bag, so you are locked into what they sell. When you buy bulk lot shirts, you get to mix sizes, colors, and even brands. The choice for us is simple.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to Screen Press T Shirts like a Professional Screen Printing Shop
When it comes to making your own screen print t shirts, one of the things that we learned very early in the game is that the quality of your printing press is everything. This is not the time to buy a used or cheap piece of printing equipment because the end result on your apparel will be inferior at best. Once I decided to stop using the local screen printer to handle our work, we decided to see how difficult the process would be buying the t shirt making kit. Once we realized that this might be something that we could really ramp up, we naturally moved into a bigger set-up and went ahead and got the screen printing kit with the 4 color 1 station screen press for beginners. This was the purchase that really launched our efforts in printing.

It doesn't matter how great you are printing or how good the printing press you eventually buy, if you are not buying blank shirts in bulk, then you are simply letting all your profits just leak out of your business. We utilized this source to buy all our bulk lot shirts because they offered free shipping on blank apparel and their warehouse was in out state. Quality blank shirts and fast delivery times are key when you get those rush orders from clients who have to get their stuff by yesterday or they are not happy.

If you are just getting your feet wet in the screen printing world, this beginners screen press and supplies is a great way to really get yourself in the right direction right out of the gates. Combine this with a source for bulk lot shirts, and you are well on your way to making serious money in a business that has a never-ending source of clients around every corner. Whether it is the local VFW needing pig roast t-shirts, the Boy Scouts needing Pinewood Derby tees, or a local church wanting to print shirts for a fundraiser, you have everything in this screen printing kit for beginners.