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DTF vs Screen Print: A Quick Comparison

DTF vs Screen Print: A Quick Comparison

Screen printing first appeared in China sometime during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). It was introduced to the western world in the late 18th century. In contrast, direct-to-film printing (DTF printing) is a more recent invention.

Are DTF printing services better because they're new? Or are screen printing services better because they're tried and true? This article will compare DTF vs screen print services so you can decide.

Read on!

What Is Screen Printing?

First, workers will create mold designs on various screens. Each color in a screen printing art design has a designated screen. Once each mold is complete, workers will apply ink to it and attach it to a press machine

They'll then place a product such as a fabric under the press. The press machine will press the mold design onto the garment. The ink should pass through the screen onto the garment.

What Is DTF Printing?

For the DTF printing process, workers will first print an art design on a polyester or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film using a DTF printer. Each printer uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMKY) colored ink as well as white ink. The printer will print the shape of the design in white before applying the other colors.

After the printer prints out the film, workers are ready to apply it to the fabric. They press the design onto the garment using a heat press machine. Each type of fabric has different needs so the heat press machine will need different levels of time, pressure, and temperature.

Once the film is secure, the workers will peel a clear packing off the film.

DTF vs Screen Print Services

DTF and screen printing both seem to excel in various printing situations. Overall, you need to consider what your print order needs. Then you can match your order with the right printing method.


Screen printing also has a lower entry cost than DTF printing. However, DTF art designs have a lower overall print price when done in smaller batches.


But screen printing is unable to transfer ink onto certain products. It's difficult for the ink to show up on darker fabrics. DTF printing films, on the other hand, can show up in a wide variety of colors.

Image Quality

In addition, DTF printing services usually create a higher quality art design than screen printing. The PET film is also very durable and doesn't easily crack. But experts say that the ink of screen printing has a certain color vibrancy that DTF can't match.

Get DTF Film Prints

So at this point, when it comes to DTF vs screen print services, neither one is better. But remember that DTF printing is still new. Inventors may create innovations in the future that can push DTF printing to the top.

Also if you need DTF film prints, consider using our services. We offer DTF gang rolls and sheets of custom art designs. Get started by using our online designer.