Updated: Aug 10
If you have experienced your DTF white ink running down the PET film, read on for some advice:
The first thing you need to check is the ink loading. For most types of prints, we'd recommend printing with a white ink resolution of 60-70%. Some of our customers want to print with a white ink resolution of 100% to give their colour a great base. (For those new to DTF printing, you print your coloured image first, then print using white ink, so that when you turn the print over and place it on your garment on the heat press, the coloured ink layer sits on top of the white ink layer). If you use such a high resolution, the white ink may run. So try to decrease the ink loading.
If reducing the white ink resolution does not work, try our double side frosted DTF PET film (available in A3; A4 sheets, and 30cm; 33cm, 42cm and 60cm rolls all in single and double sided (cold or hot peeling)), which absorbs more ink more than single side frosted film because it has 6 layers of coating which is designed to absorb more ink. (Our single sided PET film has 5 layers of coating).
You can buy a heating plate to help dry the ink immediately. Most of our customers don't use them but a lot of the DTF printers coming in from China have one built-in to the front of the printer (where the printed PET film is dried after coming out of the printer). They can definitely help, especially if you are printing in a cold environment or using very high resolution white ink. If you have a plate, make sure it is turned on, of course.
Check whether your PET film has absorbed moisture/ humidity. Moisture has been known to affect the PET film’s ink absorption. Use a hair dryer on very low setting to dry it out if that is the case.
Whilst most PET film can withstand some humidity most of the time, you need to ensure you are storing it well, away from moisture, and that your workspace is reasonably dry. It is not a good idea to set up your workspace somewhere where there is dampness/ humidity.
Our redback premium PET film comes in aluminium or plastic zip-locked bags with a silica moisture absorber for added protection from moisture. Our customers report that different weather conditions and even different times of the year require different settings if their setup is their garage (with open door).
Hopefully these few tips can help if you are experiencing white DTF ink running down the PET film and compromising your prints.
Best of luck with your DTF printing!
Note: the image in this post came to us from a customer, who corrected the issue by decreasing their white resolution. We do not print, nor recommend you print, Disney characters as this is a copyright violation (of course).