Definitive guide For Digital Printing On Fabric
29/06/2020 15:37 Back to articles list
About 10 years ago, when digital printing was a luxury and many of the international textile businesses could only afford screen printing or let’s say semi-digital printing, which is another form of screen printing while having more colour options. But now, next to traditional screen printing, digital printing on textiles is on the rise and is playing a key role in the global textile market and will reach 10-15% of the total fabric volume in 2025.
And no matter if you are new to the digital print fabric, a seller or a business type, I assure you that this complete guide for digital printing on fabric will help you to get a better idea and you don’t need to spend your valuable time in searching other articles.
Chapter 1- What’s digital printing and what are the advantages?
Digital printing as the name refers, it’s applied with digital technology. Emm, hard to imagine? Think about how we print on paper.
Now in a more professional way: Digital printing will input the image in the form of computer language and be edited and processed under CAD-Computer Aided Design. Then the computer controls micro piezoelectric inkjet headers directly spraying the special dyeing liquid onto the textile with your desired pattern.
Benefiting from that, it makes a big difference and we have outlined some advantages for digital fabric printing:
- It enables everybody to print their image, pattern on the fabric. It was more industrial in the past requiring thousands of meters and only printed fabrics are sold in stores. Now there’s no MOQ and more customised.
- No colour limitation. We know that screen printing can only reach 10-12 colours maximum but with digital print technology, we can print infinite colours.
- Unlimited repeat size. Theoretically, as long as you can save your file and send it to us and our computer can open the file, we are able to get it printed.
- High resolution and more vibrant colour. We know the difference between watching 360P video and 1080P movie and digital printing fabric is the latter one.
- Super fast sampling as designs could be digitally applied and modifications could be made on the spot.
- No set up cost and low sampling cost.
- Print on demand, print as much as you need
- No or less stock up risks. You can choose to produce what others order from you instead of stocking up thousands of meters to sell. What’s more, we are also offering drop shipping service, which even lower the risks.
- More friendly to the environment. Less wastage, less pollution, less energy, less labour cost.
Digital textile printing is a revolution and it could meet the fast changing market and short turn around. And we have a wide list of fabrics for digital printing, don’t you want to have a look ?
Chapter 2- What fabrics are suitable for digital printing?
Well, before introducing, one thing you can be very confident that all of the fabrics listed on our site are good for printing. Even though some of them could be a challenge to print, we can handle it. And if you come across with difficult in selecting fabrics, this guide is for you.
Digital textile printing could be used on both woven and knitting fabrics. But in order to maintain the printing quality, some fabrics are good for printing while some are not.
Polyester fabric has always been a popular fabric throughout the garment industry. It’s made up of synthetic fibre that’s usually derived from petroleum. What’s more? It’s so multi-functional and can be used as:
- Fashion apparels
- Home decoration
- Soft furnishings and upholstery
- Luggage and other bags
We are using disperse inks /sublimation inks for digital polyester printing and it’s an ideal fabric for printing.
Cotton is the most commonly used natural fabric for printing. No matter it’s for fashion or just personal use, it’s always a priority. Thanks to the natural fibre feature, cotton has a high moisture control, comfort, durability and breathability. We are using reactive inks, which could be better absorbed by cotton fibre for digital printed cotton. At the same time reactive inks could provide a stronger color fastness and penetration.
Linen/Ramie is also one of the natural fibre and we call it a natural air conditioner.Due to the special feature and breathability ,it’s your first choice in summer. In the past, we were only able to choose solid
Mixed/blended fabric means one fabric that’s made up of at least two different yarns. It could be poly/cotton, viscose/cotton, silk/cotton, viscose/poly, etc. Or three different compositions like poly/cotton/viscose, polyamide/poly/spandex, etc. It could be a challenge for printers, as we can only use one certain ink for digital printing on a specific fabric. Don’t be panic, still many of them are good for digital printing. No matter how many materials are mixed together, there’s a game rule that all digital printers will follow. We will explain more about it in other articles.
Wool and Silk
Both wool and silk are luxury fabrics and deserve to be applied with the best digital printing technologies on textiles. Reactive inks and acid ink will work on both fabrics, if you are looking forward to a better color fastness we shall go for the reactive. If for color vibrancy, go for the acid inks.
You might have heard about these fabrics and actually they all belong to the man-made fabric category. Each fabric represents a different feature. And they are much widely applied in the fashion industry, high street fashion like H&M, Zara. You can find a lot of blouses, pants and shorts made up of viscose in their stores. As is the same case we apply digital print on cotton, we use reactive inks as well to print on man-made fabrics.
Polyamide fabric is a general term that is used to refer to a variety of different fabrics that are made from strings of polyamide monomers. The most famous form of polyamide fabric is nylon. It’s pretty much used in sportswear and swimwear with Lycra and could be a resistant fabric when we make coats and jackets. We are using acid inks for polyamide fabric.
Chapter 3-How does digital print work on fabrics
There are few steps before we really move on to digital printing on fabrics and printing is only a part of the whole process. And we will get to do it step by step.
There are two proved and successful methods of digital printing
- Direct ink-jet printing on fabric
- Sublimation digital printing on fabric
So how does direct ink-jet printing on fabric work ?
- Step 1:Like any other digital project, first of all, you need a digital file. For now we accept files in jpg,png,psd,pdf and tif in no more than 50MB on our website. You can upload yours or select from our design page. And if the file is above the limit, please share with us via wetransfer or other tools.
- Step 2: Get the PFP fabric coated, also known as padding or pasting. In this way, the fibre would be a lot easier to absorb inks from the printer.
- Step 3: Your fabric would be laid on a sticky transferring belt and printing heads go left and right to print the designs on the fabric.
- Step 4: Post treatments which include: Steaming-washing-heat shaping. Steaming process is the very critical part of reaching colour fastness standards for digital print textiles. Washing helps to clean the extra coats and heat shaping is a guarantee of fabric shrinkage.
- Step 5: Grab a drink, your package will arrive in a week.
Now here is how sublimation digital printing on fabric:
- Step 1: Same as we do the preparation for direct ink-ject printing on fabric. We need a digital file from you.
- Step 2: Print your digital file on a coating treated paper. With print headers going left and right, here we go with your print on paper. Consider it as a medium that conveys your design already.
- Step 3: Heat transfer. With a medium printed with your design, all we need to do is to heat up the paper together with fabric. And then we can see the prints being transferred to fabric.
- Step 4: Grab another drink and your package will arrive in a week
Ok, so after getting something to drink I believe you will have your own custom print fabric soon.
Chapter 4-What the future holds when digital print fabric meets digital age
It’s amazing to see how fast the global is changing as well as the textile business. We are doing something that’s completely unmanageable in the past. When digital print technology is getting mature, it’s time to wave with the internet. With the web application on our site, digital print is no longer mysterious and everybody can get it done by several clicks in just a few seconds.That’s also one of our goals to make custom print as easy as breathing.
So what are the conveniences we can bring for you?
- If you are a designer, you can simply upload your designs and apply to be a member of our sellers. And extra income could be made when you fall asleep.
- You don’t have to send emails back and forth to discuss the printing layout, shipping cost and prices for different quantities and different fabrics, which could be a super headache. All the price breakdown is calculated by the yard for different fabrics and there’s an estimated shipping cost when you get to your cart page.
- Thousands of designs are available in our marketplace, view them online for selection.
- Free shipping under 25 yards at incredible rate, which is really friendly to small business and personal use.
- Fast turnaround time for about 5-7 day sampling and 10 days for bulk.
- All operations can be done by phone, tablet, desktop and computer.
This ultimate guide of digital printing on fabric is for all fabric lovers, sewing lovers, DIYers, fashion designs, fabric wholesaler, garment makers, surface pattern makers..etc. To get your custom print fabric at super affordable prices has never been easier before.
Choose your design and we will handle the rest 🙂