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Custom Print on Fabric: Sublimation vs Direct to Garment

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Before ordering custom print on fabric, have you ever paid attention to printing procedures? There are two types of custom printing methods on fabric that are most commonly used, namely sublimation and direct to garment (DTG).

Sublimation Custom Printing

Sublimation custom printing is one of the most widely used digital printing innovations in Indonesia. Sublimation custom printing means the process of transferring images from paper to fabric using a heat press.

This method uses special sublimation printers and inks such as water-based ink which has temperature-sensitive properties where the ink will turn to gas under the influence of high temperature. Sublimation prints are great where all the color details will show on the fabric, are durable, and won’t fade.

The advantages of sublimation custom printing include:

Color Sharpness

The colors produced by sublimation custom are so sharp that all the details and design gradients can be perfectly transferred to the fabric, therefore, sublimation custom printing has no color or design restrictions on the fabric.

There is No Minimum Quantity

All types of digital custom printing do not recognize a minimum order quantity. Unlike manual custom printing, production costs are highly dependent on quantity.

Durability Custom Sublimation Printing

As sublimation inks spread or soak into the fibers of the fabric, custom prints are permanent and will not fade. The durability of a custom print is the same as the durability of the material itself.

Large Print Area

Due to its large printability, sublimation custom printing can be used to produce full print and all-over printing T-shirts.


Unfortunately, the sublimation custom printing method also has certain drawbacks. Not all types fabrics can be aplied to sublimation custom printing. Fabric that can be used for sublimation custom printing made if polyester. This is because polyester fabrics are more heat resistant when compared to cotton or other fabrics. Also, sublimation custom printing can only be applied to white or light-colored fabrics.

Direct to Garment (DTG)

DTG or direct to garment screen printing is also a type of custom printing that is widely used to produce t-shirts and still competes with manual screen printing.

DTG is a method that directly applies ink to fabrics (garment) through a pre-treatment process and ends with a heat press process, the printouts will be better and smoother in various colors. Also, the print will not fade because it uses garment ink.

The advantages of DTG custom printing include:

Smooth and Sharp Prints

The print results using the DTG method can be even and very sharp. This is the main advantage of DTG. The use of computers and printers minimizes differences in image design and printing. Likewise with the unlimited color choices available on the engine program.

No Need to Use Transfer Paper

Transfer paper is a special paper that is used to print images to be printed on T-shirts. After the image is printed on transfer paper, it will be pressed onto the shirt using a hot press. This method sounds easy, but the problem is that the transfer price is quite expensive so that the production costs are expensive.

More Cost and Time Saving

Another advantage of DTG in custom printing is the cost savings in the process. Even though it requires more upfront capital, custom printing uses tools that can be used for years without the need for frequent changes and the cost of maintaining work tools can be saved.

Free Design at Will

Besides, there are no color restrictions on each order, the design can also be done at will because the printer is operated by a computer. For example, a computer program such as Corel Draw can be used to streamline the production process using a DTG printer. This method can also be printed directly on cotton cloth and will certainly produce a very good image when compared to manual custom printing.


While there are many advantages to direct-to-garment custom printing, there are also drawbacks. Some fabrics may not be suitable for this method. Several types of fabrics will depend on the type of DTG printer used. Also, because the DTG printer is a modified printer, it is prone to damage at any time. Hence, DTG printers require very careful care.

In general, sublimation printers and DTG machines have the same function, namely as a printing machine on fabrics. Sublimation printers must go through several stages before attaching the image to the t-shirt, while the DTG machine directly prints on the shirt area.

Sublimation printers can be applied to many types of fabrics, while DTG machines cannot, because they are constrained by the small size of the print area. The quality of the two custom printing methods is equally good, the difference is only in the ink used.

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