Our guide for digital printing on fabric

29/10/2022

Our guide for digital printing on fabric

About ten years ago, digital printing was a luxury, and many international textile businesses could only afford screen printing, or let's call it "semi-digital printing", which is another form of screen printing that offers more color options. But now, besides traditional screen printing, digital printing on textiles is on the rise and is playing a key role in the global textile market, as it will reach 10 to 15% of the total fabric volume by 2025.


No matter if you are new to digitally printed fabrics, if you are a seller or a business person, this guide for digital printing on fabric should help you understand it better, saving you valuable time in the future.


What is digital printing and what are its advantages?


Digital printing, as the name suggests, uses digital technology. Digital printing processes your image and converts it into CAD format (Computer Aided Design). This format acts as a guide for the computer to control micro-piezoelectric inkjet headers that spray special dyeing liquid onto the textile to form your chosen pattern.


Advantages of digital printing:



  • It makes printing on fabric available to anybody. It used to only be available to specific organizations, requiring minimum quantities of thousands of meters, that could only be purchased by qualified stores. No, the minimum order quantities have been reduced drastically, making custom fabrics available to the general population.

  • No color limitation. Screen printing can only use a maximum of 10-12 colors, but with digital printing technology, an infinity of colors is available.

  • Unlimited repeat size. In theory, we are able to print out any file that our computer can open.

  • High resolution: this allows patterns to appear crisp and clean on the fabric.

  • More vibrant colors: digital printing allows for bright colors to be printed faithfully.

  • Super fast sampling: digital design allows for swift changes with no additional costs.

  • No set-up cost and low sampling cost.

  • Printing on demand, as much as you need.

  • No or lesser stock-related risk: you can choose to only produce the amount of fabric that you need, without having to order and stock large quantities of fabrics that you might not need.

  • More environment-friendly: less waste, less pollution, less energy.


Digital textile printing is a revolution in itself, and it meets the expectations of the fast-changing market with a short turnaround. We provide a wide range of fabrics for printing, so why not give us a try?


Which fabrics are suitable for digital printing?


Each fabric listed on our site is good for printing. Even though some of them are more challenging to print on, we can handle it.


Digital textile printing can be used for both woven and knitted fabrics. But in order to maintain the printing quality, some fabrics are good for printing, and some are less convenient.


Polyester fabrics


Polyester has always been a popular fabric throughout the history of the garment industry. It's made up of synthetic fiber that's usually derived from petroleum. What's more? It's so multi-functional and can be used for:



  • Fashion apparel

  • Sportswear

  • Home decoration

  • Soft furnishing and upholstery

  • Textiles

  • Luggage and other bags


We use disperse ink/sublimation ink for digital polyester printing. Polyester is an ideal fabric for printing.


Cotton fabrics


Cotton is the most commonly used natural fabric for printing, no matter if it's for fashion or just personal use. Thanks for the natural fiber texture, cotton has high moisture control, comfort, durability, and breathability. We print on cotton fabric with reactive ink, which provides a stronger color fastness and better penetration.


Linen/ramie fabrics


Linen/ramie is also a natural fibers, we call it "natural air conditioner", due to its exceptional breathability. Linen is a great choice of fabric to wear during the summer.


Mixed/blender fabrics


"Mixed/blended" means "made up of more than one yarn". It could be poly/cotton, viscose/cotton, silk/cotton, viscose/poly etc. Examples of fabrics made with three yards are poly/cotton/viscose, polyamide/poly/spandex etc. This can be a challenge for printers, as we can only use one type of ink and each yarn can have different reactions to different types of ink. No need to worry, many of them are still good for digital printing. No matter how many materials have been mixed together, there is a process that printers follow, which we will talk about in other articles.


Wool and silk


Both wool and silk are luxury fabrics that require the best quality in terms of printing technology. While reactive ink and acid ink work on both fabrics, reactive ink will provide better color fastness, while acid ink will provide better color vibrance.


Viscose/tencel/modal/rayon/lyocell


You might have heard about these fabrics before, they all belong to the man-made fabric category. Each fabric presents a different feature. They are widely used in the fashion industry, for example for high-street fashion brands such as H&M or Zara. You can find many blouses, pants and shorts made up of viscose in their stores. Printing on man-made fabrics is similar to printing on cotton, therefore we will use reactive inks.


Polyamide 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 well-known form of polyamide fabric is nylon. It's used in almost all forms of lycra-based sportswear and swimwear, it is also used as resistant fabric in coats and jackets. We use acid inks to print on polyamide fabrics.


How digital printing on fabric works


There are two ways of successfully print on fabrics:



  1. Direct ink-jet printing

  2. Sublimation digital printing


How does direct ink-jet printing on fabrics work?


Step 1:


Like any other digital project, you'll need a digital image file. For now we can accept JPG, PNG, PDF, PDF and TIF in no more than 300MB on our website. You can upload them here or select one from our pattern collection page. If the file is heavier than what you can upload on the site, please share the original file with us via WeTransfer or similar.


Step 2:


We get the PFP fabric coated, also known as padding or pasting. By doing this, we make it easier for the fabric to absorb the ink from the printer.


Step 3:


We lay the fabric on a sticky transferring belt where printing heads move from left to right to print the design onto the fabric.


Step 4:


We steam the fabric to allow its color to reach standard fastness. We then wash the fabric to get rid of the extra coating. Finally, we heat the fabric to prevent it from shrinking.


Step 5:


We package and ship your custom fabric.


How does sublimation digital printing work?


Step 1:


Same as for the previous method, we'll need a digital file from you.


Step 2:


We print your design on coated paper. We'll use this paper as a medium to transfer your design to the fabric.


Step 3:


We apply the paper to the fabric and we apply heat to transfer the design to the fabric.


Step 4:


We package and ship your custom fabric.


What does the future hold when digital print fabric meets the digital age?


It's amazing to see how fast the world is changing into a global marketplace. This means great opportunities for the textile business. What we are doing today, just wasn't possible before. Digital printing technology is now a mature concept, and paired with the Internet, it is now easy for anybody in the world to have custom fabrics created with just a few clicks. And we strive to make this process as easy as possible for you.


Opportunities for our our users



  • If you are a designer, you can generate passive income by uploading your designs to the site and applying to become a seller.

  • We manage everything, from templating to shipping.

  • Thousands of designs are already available in our marketplace, feel free to browse and favorite what you like!

  • If each fabric in your order has a quantity of less than 25 yards, we'll offer you free shipping!

  • Fast turnaround times, about 5-7 days for samples and 10 days for bulk orders.

  • You only need a phone, a tablet, or a computer to use our website.


Getting custom fabrics produced has never been that easy and that affordable. Just pick a design, and we'll handle the rest!