Properly Pretreating can expand your fabric selection.
DTG printing is continually expanding and exploring new possibilities in apparel decoration.
White Ink & Pretreatment
White ink printing continues to be the challenge for many and is currently only successful with the proper application of pretreatment. Think of pretreatment as the primer to white ink. Without a proper application of primer, the white ink will not look or perform correctly. When applied with the right techniques for the fabric being printed, results can look almost screen printed.
Several brands of pretreatment are now available and each has its own characteristics. Depending on the brand you are using, if you are not experiencing DTG printing results with white ink that you were expecting to get, re-evaluating your pretreatment application can make all the difference in the world.
How Much Pretreatment Should You Use?
Typically, I have found the appropriate amount of pretreatment needed (based on a 14 x 16 print image) averages between 22g to 26g for a 100% cotton tee. This however, should not be etched in stone. Use this as a base point in which to build and experiment from. Many factors can determine initial success or failure; the fabric weave, fabric type (ring-spun or other), blended or not (50/50, tri-blend), weight (burn-out, 4.1oz., 6.1oz, hoody), just to name a few.
It is challenging to comprise a “one-size-fits-all” formula for applying pretreatment. Not only are there an abundance of products to print on, each t-shirt provider utilizes different processes (pre and post) in their production and this can and will vary from country to country. Experimenting with different fluid amounts applied should be considered part of the standard trouble shooting process when desired results are not achieved. What works for one t-shirt product necessarily does not work for another.
Once you have your prints looking their best, be sure to complete a few wash tests to ensure your application amounts and procedures stand up to the test of time.