How many times have you thought to yourself… “that image would look great on a t-shirt.”
Whether it’s a one-off design, branded business wear or something fun for an event, getting your idea from concept to finished product has never been easier.
Digital fabric printing (or direct-to-garment printing [DTG]) is a fast and affordable way to get your idea onto a t-shirt, polo shirt or hoodie and delivered to your door anywhere in Australia. And the best thing is, there’s no minimum order limit.
In three simple steps you can:
- choose your product from the catalogue
- upload your artwork or create a design with the Online Designer
- select size and quantity
All you have to do then is sit back and your product will be delivered pronto.
Now, you might be thinking it all sounds a bit too easy. To help you understand the process even further, keep reading. We’ll explore some of the advantages of digital fabric printing, how to prepare your artwork and which fabrics are best to use when digital printing.
How does Digital Fabric Printing work?
If you own a home printer, you’ll understand the basic concept of a digital Direct to Garment printer. They both use the same ink colours like black, magenta, cyan and yellow (the DTG printer also uses white ink) and both can recreate an image no matter how detailed or intricate.
The t-shirt, or chosen fabric, is placed on a platen on the printing machine and the special water-based pigment ink prints your design. Up until the invention of the DTG printer, people had the choice of screen printing or heat transfers. There are a few issues using these methods.
Direct to Garment Printing Vs Screen Printing
While screen printing is more cost effective for large orders, the initial set-up costs make it expensive for one-off orders. The screens need to be custom made and the process is more labour intensive. Screen printing also has limits on the image detail and colours it can recreate. As mentioned, for large events like fun runs or charity events, screen printing is the most cost-effective option.
Digital Fabric Printing Vs Heat Transfer
In the short term, heat transfers may seem cost effective but there are definite disadvantages. As the print sits on top of the t-shirt like a plastic sheet, it gives the fabric a firm texture and can make the garment uncomfortable to wear. The designs also won’t last as long as screen printed or digitally printed designs. After a few washes, you may start to see your heat transferred design fade, peel or crack.
Preparing artwork for Digital Fabric Printing Online
All designs start as an idea. If you’re not an artist or graphic designer, it’s well worth paying the money to get your idea turned into reality. If you don’t know where to start, contact The Fabric Printer and one of our in-house Graphic Designers will help you.
If you’re creating your own artwork or employing an outside Graphic Designer, you’ll need to create a PNG file or a vector PDF image in RGB format.
Why use PNG format or Vector Images for Digital Fabric Printing?
Before we talk about PNG and vector graphics, let’s discuss some more familiar image types (bitmaps), and why some aren’t preferred for fabric printing. Bitmaps like JPEGs, GIFs and BMP are pixel images and have a fixed number of pixels. This means they can lose sharpness when resized.
While a PNG is also a bitmap, it is superior to a GIF. When digital printing, a PNG format file with a transparent background is acceptable.
A vector image is made using one line or a series of lines to create shapes. Vector graphics are resolution independent, meaning the image quality won’t be affected when enlarged or reduced. If you’re printing a hat, a stubby cooler and a t-shirt, one vector image can be resized for all products. Graphic design programs like Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand and Corel Draw can all be used to create vector images.
Remember to talk to your fabric printer about the font you’re using. It’s important to convert fonts to curves or you can create outlines for all text used.
Which 100% Cotton is best for Digital Printing?
Different fabrics will affect the sharpness and vibrancy of your design. While it’s possible to print on nearly all fabrics, we recommend using 100% cotton fabric. All items are sourced from responsible suppliers with the majority of our products sourced through AS Colour – an Australian company that adheres to the ethical production of garments.
Digital fabric printing online is easy and fun. If you’re ready to bring your ideas to life, contact The Fabric Printer. Whether you’re in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin or Perth, we can digitally print your logo or artwork on a variety of products and have it delivered to you fast.