What is Breathable DTF Printing

This is ordinary DTF printing. Even if you stretch hardly on the pattern, it won’t be deformed. If your design is a large coverage, it’ll feel heavy and not at all breathable.

When was the last time you had ever heard of breathable DTF printing? In the past, people made many small tiny holes on patterns to allow moisture passing through the DTF print. But now we don’t need to do that. So what is this new breathable DTF printing and what makes it differ from the traditional DTF printing?

The film sheet on the left is ultra-thin DTF printing. Compared with ordinary DTF printing, the saturation of the printed pattern is a little lower. In order to achieve the goal of being breathable, the ultra-thin DTF printing adopts a thinner white ink base, which makes the color of the pattern to be lighter than the actual. The adhesive layer of breathable DTF printing is also ultra-thin. Compared with ordinary adhesive power, the breathable DTF adhesive powder is very fine and easy to melt.

Let’s compare the vapor permeability of these 2 DTF printing process. The water vapor can not at all pass through the pattern of ordinary printing, while the pattern of ultra-thin printing is breathable, allowing the water vapor to flow through the pattern layer.

We can not see any small tiny holes on the print, so how does the vapor go through the adhesive layer?

Actually we make many cracks on the pattern. The front side of this shirt applies a print of ordinary DTF. It is stretchable and no crack appears. The back side of the shirt applies a print of breathable DTF. When I stretch the pattern, we can see that following the texture of the fabric, cracks appear on the pattern.

Under the light, we can see the rays of light go through the cracks. Switching to the side of ordinary pattern, the rays of light are blocked. A breathable print makes the T-shirt much more comfortable by helping evaporate moisture away from the skin, especially in summer.

Here I’ll show you how to make cracks on ultra-thin DTF printing and explain why cracks are obviously visible on some patterns but indistinguishable on others. Heat press the printed pattern onto the T-shirt. Set the temperature at 145℃ and the timer at 30 seconds.

Peel off the film after cooling down. Heat up the pattern the second time for 5 seconds. This is to soften the white ink and adhesive layer. 

Stretch the pattern to produce cracks all over the pattern. Breathable DTF printing adopts finer adhesive powder, after being heated up, it becomes easier to tear. Cracks will appear following the texture of the T-shirt. What I am doing is a process full of artistry, different stretching strength will result in different cracking effect. This is exactly the charm of DIY and print on demand, we are making our products more creative with our hands. After stretching, the pattern looks deformed. No worries, we can iron it flat.

We can compare among different colors and see which color is more suitable for this printing process. The visibility of the cracks depends on the lightness of the colors. Pay attention to some parts of the robot that are in dark tone, such as ears, nose, eyes and neck. Let’s zoom closer to see more details. Cracks are almost invisible on dark blue but they are obvious on light blue. In addition to choosing patterns of dark tone, we can also adopt this breathable design according to the theme or style of the pattern. The crack effect can add some vintage or timeworn style on the pattern. In some cases, the little stripes match the pattern well and add some special senses to the image, like images of tree stump and scenic pictures of a rainy night or snowy day. It will look great if the little stripes are harmonized with the theme of the pattern.

Breathable DTF printing needs special white ink and adhesive powder, they can not mix with regular ink and powder. And it needs precise print curve to correct visible output of print-heads with the actual color values. If you are using our printer and want to switch to breathable DTF printing, you can replace the white ink in the machine completely and swap the adhesive power. If you want to keep 2 modes of DTF printing, you need an extra printer. I suggest you select an A4 printer and use it together with a compact heat press, they will be enough to meet your printing need of small scale. The Pro RIP software of our printer features built-in customized print curves, they are adjust through a long period of field test and are qualified to manage color relationships and calibrate the color tones of press output.