Try these settings to setup your next ARX file in Graphics Labs
Tip: These settings should be used as a baseline for testing on all brands and colours.
Tip: If you’re not fully satisfied with the results from the first settings, experiment with the settings below.
Best practices for printing on pretreated apparel
Pretreated apparel makes printing easier than ever — but it’s always a good idea to have as much information as possible before you get started.
Check out the page below to discover our best practices for making the most out of your pretreated apparel, as well as some pro tips to improve your knowledge of DTG printing.
Here’s what we recommend for getting the best print results on your fully pretreated garments.
Press the garment before printing
Before you start printing on them, all you need to do is heat press them for 15 seconds with max pressure (80+PSI) @320F.
Record the results
We recommend testing and recording the results of each print, since pairing the right pretreatment with the correct settings is the best way to ensure your final print has the vibrant colors and consistent quality you’re looking for.
Once the garment is printed to your satisfaction, simply cure the ink according to your ink manufacturer's specifications.
When your customer first receives a shirt with a DTG print, it’s going to have a bit of shine and rough hand feel from the pre-treat. In more severe cases, there could be a big ‘stain’ on the t-shirt. Some customers might complain, and you’ll have to explain to them why the shirt looks and feels the way it does. The pretreat should come off after the first wash, but there might still be noticeable discolouration and stiffness in the material if you used too much of a pretreatment base.
With Print Simple Apparel, there are no more telltale stains and the item retains its original hand feel, ensuring your products are always retail-ready.
The quality and durability of your print depend on several factors, including the fabric of the shirt, how you pretreat it, how you cure the ink and how you wash it. DTG prints can last for the life of the shirt itself. Luckily for you, at Print Simple Apparel we only use the best pretreatment base, so you can expect great washability every time—as long as you use the right amount of ink and cure the ink properly.
You don’t necessarily need (or want) to use the highest setting for every underbase. Most RIP software and DTG printers allow you to change how much white ink to put down and what quality you choose. Here are some important factors to keep when profiling the ink settings on your Brother printer:
Highlight affects your lighter, vibrant colors.
Mask affects the darker and mid-tone colors.
Minimum Whiteness affects solid black or near black colors.
Go with quality artwork
The higher the DPI (dots per inch), the better. For best results, only use high-resolution (300 DPI) PNG files with transparent background. Refer to our artwork tips below to improve color accuracy in your prints.
Get familiar with your Direct-to-Garment printer
Two tasks that should be on your daily checklist are agitating (shaking) your white ink cartridge and checking the head nozzles.
Understand that your DTG printer will be sensitive to its environment
Keeping your printer in stable and normal “room temperature” settings will help you get better looking finished shirts, as well as lowering your ink and maintenance costs. A higher level of humidity helps with ink flow and prevents print head nozzles from clogging, no matter what brand of DTG machine you’re working with. The ideal atmosphere would have a minimum of 45% humidity.
Cure your finished print properly
If your print looks fantastic when you first print it but then dulls as it starts to dry, the culprit may be a problem arising during the curing phase. If you’re using a heat press to cure your print, the pressure might be off. See additional information below about our comparison on curing with conveyor dryers vs drying with heat presses.
Make sure to print regularly
Regular activity keeps the DTG ink flowing properly, which ultimately keeps the printheads in good working condition for longer.
100% cotton is generally considered the best choice for DTG printing because cotton is a natural fiber that absorbs the water-based ink used in DTG printers. However, cotton can shrink, and not all cotton t-shirts are created equal. Low quality shirts use thicker yarn and cheaper dyes that tend to bleed or migrate into the printed area when cured. This is one of the most common causes of dull, muted prints. You’ll also often hear that 50/50 blends of cotton and polyester, or tri-blend materials, simply don’t hold the ink as well.
With Print Simple’s pretreated apparel, you can get great print results on 100% cotton, cotton/poly blends, and tri-blend shirts.
The main thing to keep in mind is that your colors might not come out exactly as expected. Different fabrics and colors take ink differently, and there are a lot of variables when it comes to settings that can affect the output color. To maximize vibrancy in your design, create your files in sRGB color profile. As well as optimizing the colors you’ve chosen to use, sRGB also improves color accuracy in the final result, ensuring you’ll end up with a file that makes your printed design look simply stunning.
The most cost-effective way to dry DTG prints is with a standard heat press. That’s part of why it’s such a popular piece of equipment for printing businesses that are just getting started. It’s not just less expensive, either: heat transfer presses take up a minimum of space and can either sit on an available station or moved out of the way without too much trouble.
On the other hand, if color, vibrancy and speed of production are your main areas of focus, a conveyor dryer might well be a better choice. Conveyorized dryers cut down on man-hours and speed up the DTG printing process because their belts are always moving, eliminating the turnover period between when the printer finishes printing and you can start drying the garment. Conveyor dryers are easy to use, too: starting the drying process is as simple as laying your item on the belt, leaving you free to return to your DTG machine and keep printing. Even more helpfully, when a t-shirt is finished drying on a conveyor, it just falls into a container on its own, making it easy to sort out and send off your finished products later on.
Most DTG machines come with RIP software. For example, the Epson SureColor F-2100 DTG machine comes with Garment Creator, while the Brother GTXPro comes with Graphics Lab.
If you’re not satisfied with the standard options, there are 3rd party RIPs, such as Digital Factory, that allow even greater control over your prints.
Ink puddling or bleeding happens when the colored ink collides with the wet ink it’s sitting on top of, creating “puddles”, or patches of inconsistent colors. Here are some of the most common reasons your print is bleeding and how you can prevent it:
When the platen is too far away from the head, it can cause bleeding of DTG prints. To combat this, adjust your platen height and reduce the distance between the garment and the head as per the recommended settings. If the print surface is too far away from the printhead, the print quality will suffer. The ink might also cause mist from inside the printer, which could lead to further DTG printer issues in the future. That’s why it’s vital to ensure the platen is always adjusted to the optimum height.
Printing CMYK over White
When too much white ink deposits on the garment and you apply CMYK ink over it, it will bleed and/or change colors.
In such cases, you need to decrease the base white ink. If you like the vibrancy of the ink laydown but only notice minor puddling, then turn on the Color Multi Pass option; beyond that, you can also turn on the White/Color pause option found within Graphics Lab.
You should consider going with DTG when…
Your artwork has a lot of colors
Complex, multicolored artwork can be expensive to print well with screen printing unless you’re working with significantly large quantities. If you want to do a small run of a graphic with a lot of colors (like a photograph, for instance), you can count on saving money by printing the job with DTG. With screen printing, every color in your artwork needs to be burned into a screen, costing you both time and money, whereas you don’t need to worry about the number of colors with DTG.
You’re doing one-off printing or fulfillment
If you have an e-commerce platform and don’t want to hold inventory, you might want to look into fulfillment printing. Companies like Canadian Custom Apparel can connect to your website’s API and fulfill orders as they are placed by your customers. In this case, DTG is the best method because every print is a one-off.