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What Is DTG Printing?

You’ve read our last post and now you’re a screen printing wiz. If you haven’t had a chance to learn about screen printing, we recommend that you take a couple of minutes and read our last post so you’re all caught up. We’re going to be doing some comparing and contrasting of both of these printing processes and answering some important questions so you can make the most informed decision when the time comes!

Here at Bolt our DTG printer gives us the opportunity to print fresh, high quality tees within an hour. With DTG printing it comes down to the pixels in an image. You can think of this printer being similar to a large photo printer that brings together thousands of pixels to create that beautiful image you are looking for.

You Keep Saying DTG but What Does It Mean?

Maybe we got a little bit ahead of ourselves by not starting out with what DTG actually means. DTG, or Direct to Garment printing is basically like a giant inkjet printer for your shirts, apparel and other textiles. It uses a specialized digital printing machine that applies water-based inks and those inks become one with the garment. This reduces the chances of the graphic cracking, peeling or washing away overtime. This process is far from those cheap, glorified stickers on shirts and it will truly give you a long lasting high-quality print that will be resistant to multiple washes.

Customers love the results of DTG printing when it comes to their custom apparel, we’re hoping to teach you more about this fun and interesting process!

How Does It Print so Fast?

This printing process is able to be impressively fast because the entire design is printed on the garment in one pass, regardless of how many colors are being included in the design. This is very different from screen printing because a separate “pass” is required for each color that is involved. Screen printing also differs because each screen needs to be individually built which adds to the amount of time it takes to have a final product.

One of the best things about DTG printing is how it will go directly into printing once the graphic is submitted. It can print out each detail and the full-colored image, meaning virtually little to no set up. This means that there is no minimum order for the design to be printed.

This printing process is one of the better options for small batches and one-off pieces because of its ability to print detailed designs, extensive color options and easily customized designs thanks to the nearly endless color options.

What Is the Best Type of Fabric for DTG Printing?

Remember, the ink for a DTG printer is water-based, so printing is going to work best on natural fabrics and natural-synthetic blends. In terms of the best fiber and materials to use we recommend:

  • Ringspun 100% cotton

  • Regular (100%) cotton

  • 50/50 poly-cotton blends

  • Tri-blend (cotton, poly, rayon blend)

From experience we’ve discovered a few garments that are difficult to print using these digital methods. Reach out to us and we can let you know about these fabrics to watch out for when printing with Bolt!

Why Should I Choose DTG Over Screen Printing?

As for everything, there are going to be pros and there are going to be cons. We suggest that you first consider exactly what your project is needing and how you imagine the look of your final product.

Here’s a simplified list of the pros and cons of DTG printing:

DTG Pros

  • Fast turnaround time for small orders

  • Easily print tons of colors; Great for photos

  • Cost-effective for smaller runs

  • No minimum order

DTG Cons

  • Not cost effective for larger runs

  • Slow printing time per shirt

  • Not available on all colors or materials

  • Limited design placement

Now that you know the complete rundown of DTG printing and Screen Printing, we hope that you feel better informed about what it is you might need for your design. Honestly, the direct to garment printing services offer you a lightning fast method to print t-shirts and textiles for an affordable price.

Here at BOLT Screen Printing we pride ourselves in creating quality custom apparel that brings your vision to life. We have assembled a team of professionals, who strive to understand your goals and assist you with out of the box advertising and branding techniques. We combine our knowledge of all things apparel with your project goals in order to provide killer gear and a stress-free experience.

With an ambition to create premium quality vintage threads, Bolt was born. From our passion of creating the best clothing for our clothing store Opolis and our customers expressing the desire to see their designs on our high-quality apparel we knew the next step would be to open Bolt. After being in the industry for over 13 years, we've perfected the process of turning amazing ideas into even better results. Contact us today by emailing us at, or giving us a call at 405-493-9557!


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