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How to Make DTG Printed Shirts – Custom t shirt Printing

dtg printing on shirts

Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing is a modern and versatile method for creating custom shirts. Unlike traditional screen printing, DTG allows for high-resolution, full-color designs to be printed directly onto fabric. This method is ideal for small runs and detailed artwork. We run a Dtg printing company in Dallas and if you search for dtg printing companies you will get us on top. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to make DTG printed shirts.

Understanding DTG Printing

What is DTG Printing?

DTG printing is a process where a digital printer directly applies the ink onto the garment with inkjet technology. The design is printed directly onto the fabric, allowing for intricate details and a wide range of colors.

Benefits of DTG Printing:

  • High-Quality Prints: DTG printing produces high-resolution images with vibrant colors.
  • No Minimum Order Quantity: Unlike screen printing, DTG allows for small batches or even single-piece orders.
  • Quick Turnaround: DTG printing is faster for short runs because it doesn’t require screens or lengthy setup times.
  • Environmentally Friendly: DTG uses water-based inks, which are generally more eco-friendly compared to plastisol inks used in screen printing.

Preparing Your Design

Design Software: Use graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or CorelDRAW to create or modify your design. Ensure that the resolution is high (300 DPI or more) for the best print quality.

Color Mode: Set your design file to the RGB color mode. DTG printers typically use RGB colors, so this setting ensures that the colors will be as accurate as possible.

Design Format: Save your design in a compatible format like PNG, JPEG, or TIFF. PNG is preferred because it supports transparency, which is useful for designs that are not rectangular.

Pre-Treatment Solution: Before printing, especially on dark-colored shirts, apply a pre-treatment solution to the garment. This solution helps the ink adhere better and results in more vibrant prints. Use a pre-treatment machine or a spray bottle for application, and then heat press the garment to cure the pre-treatment.

Setting Up Your DTG Printer

Printer Selection: Choose a reliable DTG printer from brands like Epson, Brother, or Kornit. Each brand offers different models catering to various needs and budgets.

Ink Cartridges: Ensure that your printer has the appropriate ink cartridges installed. DTG printers use CMYK inks, and some models also include additional colors like white for printing on dark fabrics.

Garment Selection: Use high-quality, 100% cotton shirts for the best results. DTG printing works best on natural fibers, which absorb the ink more effectively.

Printer Calibration: Calibrate your printer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Proper calibration ensures color accuracy and print quality.

Printing the Shirt

Loading the Shirt: Place the pre-treated shirt onto the printer’s platen. Make sure it is smooth and free of wrinkles to avoid any printing errors. If required, fasten the shirt to keep it in place.

Uploading the Design: Use the printer’s software to upload your design. Position the design on the shirt as desired, adjusting the size and placement if needed.

Print Settings: Configure the print settings according to your shirt color and material. For dark shirts, you may need to use a white underbase layer to make the colors pop.

Printing: Start the printing process. The printer will apply the ink directly onto the shirt, layer by layer. The printing time will vary depending on the complexity of the design and the printer model.

Post-Printing Process

Curing the Ink: After printing, the ink needs to be cured to set permanently into the fabric. Use a heat press or a conveyor dryer to cure the ink. For time and temperature settings, refer to the manufacturer’s manual. Typically, curing takes about 90 seconds at 320°F (160°C).

Quality Check: Inspect the printed shirt for any issues such as misalignment, color inconsistencies, or ink smudges. Ensure that the print is smooth and properly adhered to the fabric.

Washing Instructions: Advise customers on proper washing care to maintain the print quality. Recommend washing the shirts inside out in cold water and avoiding harsh detergents or bleach. Air drying is preferred, but if using a dryer, a low heat setting is best.

Marketing and Selling Your DTG Printed Shirts

Online Presence: Create an online store using platforms like Shopify, Etsy, or your own website. Showcase high-quality images of your DTG printed shirts and provide detailed descriptions.

Social Media: Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to promote your shirts. Share behind-the-scenes content, customer testimonials, and special promotions to engage your audience.

SEO and Advertising: Optimize your online store for search engines by using relevant keywords in product descriptions and blog posts. Invest in online advertising through Google Ads or social media ads to reach a larger audience.

Customer Service: Provide excellent customer service to build a loyal customer base. Offer fast shipping, easy returns, and responsive support to enhance the buying experience.


DTG printing offers a fantastic opportunity to create custom, high-quality shirts with intricate designs and vibrant colors. By understanding the process from design preparation to post-printing care, you can produce professional-grade shirts that stand out in the market. Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding an existing one, mastering DTG printing can open up new avenues for creativity and profitability in the custom apparel industry.

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