HTV vs Direct To Film: What’s the Difference

HTV vs Direct To Film: What’s the Difference

HTV vs Direct To Film: What’s the Difference

Whether you design T-shirts for a living or are a frequent crafter, knowing the difference between your printing options is always beneficial. Heat transfer vinyl and direct-to-film printing are two methods used when transferring your unique design to T-shirt or tote bag.

You’re probably thinking, “well, what’s the difference?”. Keep reading to find out the difference between HTV and DTF so that you can decide which choice is best for you. 

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is one of the most common methods used to customize fabric merchandise. Heat transfer vinyl involves using an eco-solvent printer to print on a white-colored HTV before cutting along the lines of the artwork with a vinyl cutting plotter. The process is like applying a decal or sticker, except HTV is applied on fabric using heat.

Direct-To-Film Printing

Direct-to-film printing is an emerging form of fabric printing that involves a special water-based pigmented ink to print on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film. The process consists of printing the first layer with colored ink before printing with the second layer of white ink. You must print the artwork in a mirror-like application to face the right direction under the press.

The Different Production Process

The difference between HTV and DTF lies within the process. 

The heat transfer vinyl process includes:

  • A cutting plotter to carve out the pattern.
  • The removal of spare parts.
  • An ironing of the design unto the fabric
  • Tare-off PET release film. 

The direct-to-film process consists of:

  • Print designs on the DTF film
  • Hot-melt powder one bakes until it melts
  • Shirts that must be pre-pressed

What’s the difference between HTV and DTF? The difference lies within the process and materials used to print your design. HTV comes in many colors and is suitable for hot stamping unique patterns on various fabrics. HTVs are perfect for customizing names or numbers onto T-shirts or jerseys. HTVs are also cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and are a non-toxic option. 

PrimePick USA has everything you need to start your printing journey. Check out our heat transfer vinyl store for high-quality supplies that will make your unique design stand out!

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